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Know Which Supplements Interact with Your Medications

Do you talk with your healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement? If you don’t already, it’s a good habit to start, especially if you take medications for a chronic illness. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, some supplements can affect the way your body reacts to certain drugs. For example, some supplements may make your body metabolize a specific drug too slowly, causing the drug to build up in your body, while others may make your body metabolize a specific drug too quickly, causing your body to flush out the drug before it can take effect. Having a basic understanding of these interactions, along with talking to your doctor, can help you make the best choice when selecting a new supplement. Here are some commonly-used supplements and a few of their possible drug interactions:

  • Calcium. Research has linked calcium to bone, menstrual, and pregnancy support. It’s important to know, however, that calcium may reduce the body’s absorption of certain antibiotics. Find out more about calcium–drug interactions.
  • Echinacea. Research supports the use of Echinacea for immune system support. While the research on Echinacea’s interactions with certain drugs is still unclear, it’s possible to have an allergy to Echinacea that may cause an allergic reaction. Find out more about Echinacea–drug interactions.
  • Ginkgo. Ginkgo has been found to improve age-related cognitive decline and to improve vision in people with glaucoma. Be aware, though, that ginkgo may worsen glucose tolerance when taken with some anti-diabetes medications. Find out more about ginkgo–drug interactions.
Source: Wall Street Journal

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