These popular supplements are recommended by Consumer Reports because they have been shown to likely be safe for most people. However, as with any supplement, always check with your doctor first. Any substance (supplement or otherwise) can affect any other substance or medication that you take.
Calcium: Likely effective in combination with vitamin D in preventing and treating bone loss and osteoporosis. Taken daily, appears to reduce some PMS symptoms. Often made from calcium carbonate which is the cheapest to produce, however, calcium citrate is considered more digestible. If taken to excess, more than 1,000 mg a day, the risk of disease increases. You don’t want too much or too little.
Cranberry: Probably effective for preventing recurrent urinary-tract infections. However, large amounts can cause stomach upset or diarrhea.
Fish oil: Likely effective for reducing triglyceride levels if it contains EPA/DHA, omega 3 fatty acids. Also likely effective for decreasing the risk of hardening of the arteries.
Glucosamine sulfate: Likely effective treatment for reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees.
Lactase: Likely effective for reducing gastrointestinal symptoms in lactose-intolerant people when used before consuming lactose or when added to milk.
Lactobacillus: A probiotic containing acidophilus, acidophilus lactobacillus. Possibly effective for preventing diarrhea while taking antibiotics. Can create more gas for you. People with poor immune function should definitely check with their doctor first. Might cause infection in people taking immunosuppressant drugs.
Psyllium: Powdered psyllium seeds are effective as a bulk laxative for reducing constipation or softening stools. However, can cause gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Some people can have a serious allergic response that requires immediate medical attention.
Pygeum: Likely effective for reducing symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Can cause abdominal pain.
SAMe: Likely effective in reducing symptoms of major depression, reducing pain, and improving functioning in people with osteoarthritis. Some people may have GI symptoms headache, and/or feel dizzy or nervous.
St. John’s Wort: Likely effective for improving symptoms of some forms of depression. Risks are insomnia, causing skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun, skin-rash and tingling.
Vitamin D: Likely effective when taken with calcium to help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D3 is said to be more effective than vitamin D2. Can effect certain medications. Large amounts might cause weakness, headaches, etc. though side effects are rare.
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