Probiotics, omega-3, proteins, peptides, vitamins, minerals, herbs, medicinal teas, fibers, sports drinks, energy drinks, and further on. As we can see, the spectrum of dietary supplements has increased steadily despite the warnings on their packaging which read that “these claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.” Now, according to a new study, it the dietary supplements craze reached and it can be a dangerous trend.
“The rate of children taking herbal and other dietary supplements has nearly doubled in the United States, to 6.3 percent,” warned The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Between 2003 and 2014 the rate had been 3.7%. Its growth has been mainly due to “melatonin, a hormone used to help sleep, and omega-3 fatty acids, or fish oil dietary supplements, which are often given to children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, as well as autism, despite little evidence of their effectiveness,” as reported in the “Prevalence of Dietary Supplement Use in US Children and Adolescents, 2003-2014” study.
Increased dietary supplements consumption in children might be a dangerous trend
Because increasingly more children are taking nutritional supplements, the scientists from the universities of Illinois at Chicago and Johns Hopkins analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey to evaluate the use of these alternative medications among children.
About 33% of children and adolescents in the United States take multivitamins, and that rate remained stable for about ten years, while the use of alternative dietary supplements increased significantly, explained the researchers, who carried out their study on 4,400 families.
“These treatments add complication and cost to patients’ regimens, for little or no benefit, and why would children and adolescents have to take things when there is no proven benefit to their health,” said Caleb Alexander from the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety.
Pediatricians discourage the use of dietary supplements among children. Instead, they recommend parents to give their children fish from an early age and organize a routine bedtime schedule, along with limited consumption of beverages with added sugar or caffeine.
The most important fact regarding dietary supplements is that they are not regulated by the FDA. Thus, these products don’t usually base on scientific evidence.