Chicago Health | Homepage
Dietary supplements can be hard to swallow

Dietary supplements can be hard to swallow

Harvard Health Letter

A study in The New England Journal of Medicine casts light on a little-known hazard associated with America’s multibillion-dollar dietary supplement habit: difficulty swallowing among older people who take vitamin and mineral supplements — particularly calcium supplements.

Using a decade of records from 63 hospitals, researchers with the CDC and FDA estimated that 23,000 Americans end up in the emergency room because of bad reactions to dietary supplements. This includes herbal supplements and those containing vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients (such as amino acids).

Among people 65 and older, choking and swallowing difficulties accounted for 38 percent of emergency room visits associated with dietary supplements. Calcium supplements are common offenders, which is not surprising given the “horse pill” jumbo-sized form they often come in.

In the case of iron and potassium pills, the more likely problems were nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Many people also complained of mild to moderate allergic reactions to vitamin and mineral supplements, possibly because of ingredients added to hold the pills together.

Older people often take vitamin and mineral supplements for good reasons, but it’s important to take only the recommended doses and to ingest the pills one at a time and with lots of water. It may also help to take large pills with a little applesauce or pudding. If your pharmacist says it’s OK, you might be able to split some tablets into two pieces for easier swallowing.

(C) 2015. PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Count ingredients, not calories

Count ingredients, not calories

By Sharon Palmer, R.D.N. Shift your focus from the calories label to the ingredients label, and

Pneumonia a leading cause of hospitalization for children

Pneumonia a leading cause of hospitalization for children

What Doctors Know Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pneumonia puts thousands of young children

Cartilage repair, restoration becoming more common

Cartilage repair, restoration becoming more common

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently heard about cartilage being used in knee joints. Last summer

Discovering need to treat high blood pressure may be too late

Discovering need to treat high blood pressure may be too late

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham whatdoctorsknow.com Untreated high blood pressure, or hypertension, wreaks havoc on the

There is relief for side effects of iron supplements

There is relief for side effects of iron supplements

The Medicine Cabinet - Ask the Harvard Experts  By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I have anemia and

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

December 2016
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
November 27, 2016 November 28, 2016 November 29, 2016 November 30, 2016 December 1, 2016 December 2, 2016 December 3, 2016
December 4, 2016 December 5, 2016 December 6, 2016 December 7, 2016 December 8, 2016 December 9, 2016 December 10, 2016
December 11, 2016 December 12, 2016 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 December 15, 2016 December 16, 2016 December 17, 2016
December 18, 2016 December 19, 2016 December 20, 2016 December 21, 2016 December 22, 2016 December 23, 2016 December 24, 2016
December 25, 2016 December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Categories

Recent Comments

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

A Hazy Shade of Healthcare: What does tort reform

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives