Q: I take vitamins (a multi), plus herbal supplements and minerals to help my mood (St. John’s wort), ease joint pain (glucosamine and chondroitin) and stay healthy (flaxseed for omega-3s). But now my doc has prescribed a statin and a baby aspirin every day, and wants to know what else I’m taking to see if there might be interactions. Why would these supplements suddenly be a problem? -
GEORGE J., SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.
A: Your doc wants to know because it’s easy to take too much of or the wrong form of a supplement and get risky interactions. For example, glucosamine and chondroitin can affect clotting and might make the effect of aspirin more pronounced. But our usual aspirin recommendation — two babies with a half a glass of water before and after — doesn’t seem to be a problem; talk with your doc. Vitamin E (probably in your multi) and flaxseed oil (and some other omega-3s) plus aspirin also could deliver too much anti-clotting power. But if you’re getting just 100 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin E and not more, we haven’t seen a problem. We advocate DHA omega-3 from algal oil, which doesn’t seem to have any anti-clotting side effects.
Doing supplements right takes some special tweaking, but you and your doc can work together to understand the effect they might have on the medications prescribed for you.
Check out www.clevelandclinic-wellness.com/Pages/SupplementReview.aspx for individual supplement pros and cons.
Now, when it comes to herbs, the list of potential interactions is huge. If you have heart, gastro, nerve, liver or kidney problems, get a second opinion. Luckily, Dr. Oz’s website has an easy-to-use interaction checker that can tell you how practically every herb and supplement interacts with all sorts of medications.
The You Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic — are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.