Why Supplements Send People to the ER

Supplements send people to the ERYes, there really was a quiz on people going to the ER due to supplements. You have to guess which supplements caused what problems, etc. Then they tell you the answer. And they are claiming the answers are fact. It inspired me to write about what they said.

What the Quiz Said

Their Answer: Supplements are bad because they give you a false sense of health when they are not effective.

Well, I know when I feel healthy and when I know something is wrong, but then again. I know not to take artificial laboratory-made supplements, but only whole food supplements that are effective.

Their Answer 72% of the heart-trouble symptoms that send people to the ER are from weight loss and energy products.

They don’t mention which energy products – the mega dose of caffeine, double the sugar products? This is hardly a supplement to a good diet. What weight loss products, supplements or things designed to rev you up and stop your hunger? It isn’t mentioned. They don’t even tell you if the symptoms were due to the person drinking 8 glasses of the energy drink. It is sort of a generality that any weight loss product or energy product might be dangerous.

Their Answer: People going to the ER after taking supplements most often complain about heart symptoms.

Yes, if you drink too much of the various brands of energy drinks with mega caffeine, I’m sure you’ll get palpitations, etc. Symptoms of palpitations, etc. happened to me when I drank too much coffee one night while involved in a conversation. Well, I didn’t go to the ER as I knew what I was feeling and what had caused it.

Their Answer: Hidden during one question on the quiz is the fact that the supplement that they are talking about is an herb. Herbs unlike vitamins are not essential to the body and are used for their natural healing ability.

Vitamins like C, and B, Essential Fatty Acids, etc. etc. are supplementing your diet, supplementing the food that you eat in order to get everything the body needs to be healthy (if you can’t get it from your food).

Some information about Herbs:

Marijuana is an herb, heroine comes originally from an herb (poppy plants), but not something you’d mistakenly take for your health.

Yes, with herbs you need to be careful because they are very similar (although not as toxic) as drugs where they get the body to do something it wouldn’t normally do. Now if you want to take herbs, you should check with your pharmacist to see if it is okay to take with other medications or other herbs you might be taking. Their database works well for this. (For more see link below)

(See also Will it Interfere with the other Things I’m Taking?

You should also not take an herbal formula with more than one herb at a time as if you get a reaction, you won’t know which herb was causing it. I’m skeptical, however, that the reaction would be so bad that you’d go to the ER, unless of course, it was taken with medication.

Herbs can be beneficial to your health, and before medical schools became standardized in 1920 and started teaching only drugs & surgery, Herbology was taught along with Homeopathy in the medical schools.

It was 1880 when the drug companies started making artificial drugs (chemicals) as opposed to nature’s herbs.

Vitamin Quality?

Their Answer: In 12 companies their formula were diluted or filled with cheap fillers.

They don’t mention which 12 companies and there are thousands of supplement companies. 12 doesn’t seem like a very large percentage. The real answer, don’t buy cheap supplements.

Their Answer: Consumers should look for the USP Verified label.

I’ve seen this recently in ads for a “drug store” brand of vitamins.

The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a public standards-setting group for all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, and other healthcare products manufactured and sold in the US. They are funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) located in Washington, D.C.

What this label means is when you choose a USP Verified Dietary Supplement; you are getting a product that meets certain standards. Now USP doesn’t mean quality as much as it means it is standard. It can be USP but can have ingredients that have been made in a laboratory. In fact, more often it is an artificial vitamin. They can guarantee it is B1, but the quality of the B1 or the form of B1 is in question. Is it the type of B1 that washes out of your body so that you can use only about 1%, of or is it one that your body can absorb and utilize? The standardized “USP” vitamins as an example – “Thiamin USP (thiamin HCL) vitamin B1” That’s the chemical form of vitamin B1, and it actually requires a donation of cellular energy from your body before you can use it.

I like to look for “whole food vitamins” made with food as that tells me it is something my body will recognize as food and be able to use as food. It won’t clog up my metabolic pathways with artificial laboratory-made vitamins. Yes, as opposed to no standard, it’s good to see USP, but hardly an end all to the choices of what you should take.

Taking Supplements for your Health

Their Answer: 50% of the US populace takes supplements… I’m hoping more than that. If you ask me which I would rather take? Supplements and a good diet, or drugs. It would be good nutrition supplemented where needed. Building health makes sense. As Hippocrates ( “Father of Medicine”) said “We need to shift our focus from treating disease to generating health“

But drugs save lives?

I have to add that I’ve heard the claim that drugs and surgery save lives, but let’s look at what that means. When you look at the medical tests for any illness, it is testing in the 1% to 20% range. Meaning, if 100% is total health and 0 is death, then the medical tests only show something is wrong when you are at the 1% to 20% range, and that if you don’t do something, you are getting close to death.

If your kidneys are about to close down, then a drug is a good choice because it has gone this far. Why didn’t the kidney tests show something earlier?

Yes, the bypass surgery for 95% blockage of the cardiac arteries did save the guys life, but why didn’t these tests tell him when he had a 75%, 50%, or even 25% blockage?

The tests aren’t geared for that. Current medicine only deals with drugs and surgery to address health problems. They are into Emergency Mode, when a person’s health is severely deteriorated.

What is needed with the health conditions that are not found during medical tests is real nutrition designed to address health. To paraphrase, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD. If people are falling off the edge of a cliff, you don’t park an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff; you build a fence so people won’t fall off the cliff. That means building good health.

Can’t trust the supplement companies?

Their Answer: Most supplement companies are working on the honor system and aren’t regulated by the FDA.

True, the FDA is not responsible for regulating dietary supplements but for regulating drugs as they are toxic to the body and dangerous with many side effects. But then again even with FDA approval, sometimes it doesn’t protect the user. How many lawsuits do you see against the drug companies by people who have been harmed by “FDA approved” drugs?

Now, if you are concerned by the quality of your supplements 1) don’t buy cheap, drug store vitamins made in a laboratory and 2) look for those manufactured in an FDA Approved and Inspected facility which adheres to Good Manufacturing Procedures (cGMPs) for supplement manufacturers. These companies pre-test all the ingredients to verify the potency and purity. The products are tested during and after the manufacturing process to ensure no contamination. The finished product (tablet or capsule) are tested to ensure that the product matches what is on the label and, it involves two people testing, not just one. And the FDA will make sure this is happening.

I hope this helps you with your health.

See also Natural vs Synthetic Vitamins

USP   What does it mean? 

Only those products that meet USP’s criteria are permitted to display the USP Verified Mark on their label. The USP Verified tells you that they have been independently verified for quality and by this group. It means:

  • Contain the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amounts
  • Do not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants
  • Will break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time
  • Have been made according to FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices using sanitary and well-controlled procedures.


It tells you what is in the vitamin label is the amount and potency in the vitamin. It doesn’t tell you whether the vitamins are food based or synthetic, nor whether it will actually do what it says it will do. Vitamin A does not always = Vitamin A.

See also Quality of Manufacturing (FDA Approved & Inspected Facility


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