Poison Control Center Calls Involving Diet Supplements Skyrocket
Calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers involving dietary supplements rose nearly 50 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology. Information from the National Poison Data System indicates most of these exposures—about 70 percent--occurred in children under age 6.
From 2000 to 2012, almost 275,000 calls involving dietary supplements were made to Poison Control Centers. Ma huang (a stimulant containing ephedra, which was banned by the FDA in 2004), yohimbe, and energy drinks are the most common harmful substances reported, along with homeopathic agents, which are not considered dietary supplements and are regulated differently, according to the FDA.
Symptoms most commonly associated with accidentally taking a dietary supplement include rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, irritability, drowsiness, and dizziness. During the study period, 34 deaths associated with dietary supplements were reported. The number of adults who use supplements remained relatively stable at between 49 and 54 percent—about 170 million.