Should I Take Vitamins & Herbs?

I want to talk a little bit about herbs, supplements, and vitamins.

The data shows that 50% of people in the United States take either vitamins, herbs or some form of supplement.

I’ve seen patients over the years have amazing testimonies about the benefits of supplementation.

  • 60% of people taking Glucosamine Chondroitin responded well to it for joint discomfort
  • Cherry juice for gout is one that I’ve seen work many times.
  • Red rice yeast sometimes will lower cholesterol

But the interesting thing about supplements is it’s different than prescription medication.

With prescription medication, they’ve got to do research and double-blind studies, and they have to go to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and say, ‘Listen, we have this medicine. It’s proven to work, and it’s proven very safe.’ Only then will the FDA approve it.

As far as supplements, vitamins, and herbs, the FDA doesn’t do that.


In fact, for the FDA to take that supplement off the market, they have to do a study and prove that the supplement is harmful.

So what would be some examples of where you wouldn’t want to be taking a supplement?

  • St. John’s Wort interferes with antidepressants
  • The Iowa Women’s Health study took and gave women vitamins and found that the chance of dying was higher in women that took vitamins VS women that didn’t take vitamins.  
  • Patients who develop macular degeneration, take a Vitamin A supplement to help but who also smoke can increase their risk of lung cancer due to the beta-carotene in Vitamin A.

Buyer Beware - Do Your Homework


I want to be clear: I’m not saying they’re bad. In fact, I’ve had lots of people that get better on them. I’m just saying beware because they can make a claim without any proof.

The National Institute of Health is a great resource. It’s a balanced website, and you can look up what you’re taking, and it will tell you whether a particular herb that you’re thinking about taking will interfere with your medicines, and what it’s supposedly good for.

So please do your homework. Either get on the NIH website, balance it out, ask me, and if I don’t know, we can look it up together and find it out.

Long story short, live long, happy life, right? Supplements may work, they may not. But most importantly, buyer beware.  

Leave your comment below and let me know what specific questions you have about vitamins and supplements. I’m here to help!

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So there ya go–that's your lesson for today!

Dr. Madsen

Dan Madsen

Dr. Madsen is a family doctor in Chillicothe, Ohio.