What you should know before taking vitamins - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

What you should know before taking vitamins

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There are many misconceptions about vitamins and herbal supplements.

We all know vitamins are good for us, but what many people don't know is when taken improperly there can be harmful effects.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates most things we take. You would think vitamins and herbal supplements would be included in that group. The FDA does not regulate what these companies have to put on their labels.

"As a consequence there are a lot of untruth statements that are produced by companies wanting to sell their products," Dr. Tom W. Hale, Clinical Pharmacist and Professor at Texas Tech's School of Medicine. Dr. Hale says you should consult with a physician or pharmacist before taking anything, especially certain patients. 

"I think it is very important because there are many syndromes that you want to be careful with using certain types of vitamins," Hale says.

Living Well specialist Diane Cameron's job is to assist customers on finding the right product for their needs. But she even has this to say... "You definitely want someone who knows the products. I certainly couldn't step in for a doctor. I would never try to."

She asks customers about medications they are already taking before recommending anything.

"Usually when they say they are taking medication it is a big long list of stuff. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a pharmacist and I'm not going to take that person's life in my hands," Cameron says.

Cameron says a doctor or pharmacist should be the first person you consult with. Although she is trained and very knowledgeable with all the products on her shelves, she can't replace the advice of a doctor.

Before browsing the vitamin shelves, make sure to talk to either your doctor or a specialist to better assist you.