How Unsafe Diet Supplements Can Contribute to Colon Cancer

Recent studies have confirmed that dietary supplements can be a cause of colon cancer. According to a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a large segment of cancer patients have confirmed the use of dietary supplements in their past and most hadn’t informed their doctors about what they were taking. This is possible due to the fact that since 1994, manufacturers of dietary supplements were not required to test their products before releasing them on the market. Since that time, the FDA has found problems with some products being released. Products like ephedra, a weight loss remedy, have been taken off of the market since then for causing high blood pressure and other problems. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that colon cancer could very well result from the use of dietary supplements.

What Dietary Supplements Are Used For

When diagnosed with colon cancer, your doctor will recommend that you take a number of vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other dietary supplements to help treat it. Though some of these prescribed treatments work, some may actually have the reverse effect. For example, taking a vitamin that contains beta-carotene could increase or decrease your risk of having colon cancer. Though natural minerals and vitamins should be good for you, having a high dosage, or even a low dosage of the wrong one could be disastrous.

How Beta-carotene Can Cause Colon Cancer 

When vitamins containing beta-carotene are combined with alcohol or cigarettes, studies show that those specific vitamins double your risk of developing colon cancer. Studies also show that when vitamins with beta-carotene were taken by non-smokers and non-drinkers, the results were opposite from people who smoked and drank regularly. Vitamins with beta-carotene are just one example of a dietary supplement that could have the opposite intended effect.

Risks of Naturally Occuring Vitamins

Unlike dietary supplements, the natural antioxidants in foods are harmless. Natural vitamins that come packaged with other nutrients in food groups, such as fruits, are easier for the body to use and thus help the body through a natural process to help repair and strengthen cells. Vitamins found in foods are also of a limited nature, so unlike the unsafe quantities of vitamins and minerals found in dietary supplements, foods have a fixed, safe amount of vitamins that don’t overload your body.
Many dietary supplements are unnatural and can be unsafe since they are not tested before being produced and distributed to consumers. Since manufacturers do not have to put each product through a clinical trial, the results can vary in either direction and sometimes take lives in the process. Those who are already at risk for colon cancer should be careful when taking dietary supplements, since some might not be as safe as the label indicates.

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