Supplement and Prescription Interactions: 4 Supplements To Avoid

Many people take supplements to ensure they meet nutritional guidelines. Often, you can take supplements, such as a multivitamin, without little concern. Still, many people take supplements while taking prescription medications. While potential interactions are rare, several supplements do not mix well with medications.

Before taking any supplement, you should talk to your doctor, even if you are not on any medications. However, talking with your physician is more crucial when taking a prescription. There are at least four supplements you should avoid when taking specific medications.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is an ancient spice. Many nutritionists and researchers praise the supplement for a few reasons, including:

  • Improved memory 
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Decreased risk of heart disease

Unfortunately, turmeric also possesses anticoagulant effects. If you take a blood thinner, you want to avoid turmeric because it can result in internal bleeding. You should also avoid vitamin E and Ginkgo Biloba, two supplements that can also thin the blood.

Still, experts explain that turmeric is still acceptable to use in foods and cooking. Doctors and researchers do not believe herbs and spices have much effect on the body when used in foods.

2. St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort comes from a flowering shrub that is native to Europe. The supplement is often praised for its ability to treat moderate or mild depression. Additionally, many women use it to reduce symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.

Despite the usefulness and potential effectiveness of the supplement, St. John's Wort does not mix well with many prescriptions. Some of the many medications the supplement interacts with include:

  • omeprazole 
  • alprazolam 
  • Birth control pills 
  • Hormone replacement therapies 
  • Some statins 
  • Some antihistamines 
  • Paxlovid

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a common nutrient in various foods. A person can meet all vitamin C requirements by consuming:

  • Broccoli 
  • Strawberries 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Oranges 
  • Kiwi 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Kale 
  • Snow peas

Despite the number of natural sources of vitamin C, many people still take supplements. Supplements are popular because people believe the additional vitamin C can ward off the common cold and reduce the risk of cancer.

Unfortunately, high-dose vitamin C supplements can interfere with some forms of chemotherapy. Additionally, the supplements can disrupt the effectiveness of niacin and statins. Some people will also experience a disruption in estrogen levels.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics are essentially good bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. People take probiotic supplements to restore balance to the microbiome and aid digestion. Still, while probiotic supplements might be good for most people, they can interfere with certain medications, specifically antibiotics.

Doctors strongly recommend that patients stay away from probiotic supplements when taking antibiotics. More specifically, physicians tell patients not to take a probiotic supplement within two hours of taking their medication.

Supplements can help you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Still, taking the wrong supplement can result in problematic interactions with your prescriptions. Your primary care physician should know what you are taking, including supplements. If you feel that some nutrients are missing or lacking in your diet, your doctor can point you toward safe and effective supplements or foods that can help without risking your health.

What You Should Know About Topical Products vs Supplements

I don’t know about you, but I love supplements. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but I still find that supplementing with specific nutrients can help boost my energy levels and immune function. But one thing that’s always been confusing to me is why there are so many different supplement forms (including tablets, gel caps, powders, liquids, topical creams and gels, and even injections).

There are some products I take (such as hyaluronic acid and vitamins) that come in both topical and supplement forms. I wanted to know if one of these options is better than the other, so I decided to do some research. Here’s what I found out about the difference between topical products and internal supplements.

Topical Product Overview

Some topical products claim to provide the same benefits internal supplements provide. If you don’t like to swallow pills or you dislike the taste of common supplements, it may sound appealing to simply slather nutrients onto your skin and enjoy the same benefits. But do topical products really work as well as consumable supplements?

The answer is a bit complicated. It’s true that the products you apply topically can penetrate your skin. That’s why it’s so important to avoid lotions and creams that contain harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde and phthalates. As long as the lotion or cream you’re applying is thing enough to penetrate your skin barrier, it will get into your body.

So it stands to reason that the nutrients in topical supplements will also be able to make their way into your body. The problem is that any formula you apply to your skin needs to be within a certain pH range to avoid causing skin flushing and irritation. If any product you apply has a pH much higher or lower than pH6, you’ll likely experience some type of unwanted skin reaction.

Benefits of Topical Products

In addition to being easier to use than capsules or pills that you have to swallow or powders and liquids you have to taste, topical products have another benefit. They can help you avoid certain side effects associated with consumable nutritional supplements.

For example, people with sensitive stomachs often struggle to take vitamins because they can cause feelings of nausea. For some people, nausea caused by supplements can be so severe that they end up throwing up their supplements (which defeats the purpose of taking them in the first place!) Topical products are not associated with this side effect.

Overview of Traditional Supplements

Traditional supplements have provided people with great results for years. They come in capsule, tablet, powder and liquid forms. In general, the softer the form, the more bioavailable it is for your body. This just means that your body can absorb the nutrients in powders and liquids more quickly and easily than it can absorb the nutrients in capsules and tablets. Your stomach acid has to dissolve the outer portion of capsules and tablets before your body can utilize the goodies inside.

Benefits of Traditional Supplements

Traditional supplements can offer a lot of benefits to your body. Your body breaks them down in your digestive tract and pulls out the nutrients it needs. This is the same way your body extracts nutrients from the foods you eat. It’s a natural process that is quite remarkable when you think about it.

Generally, nourishing your body from the inside out is the ideal way to do things. But if you have sensitivities to internal supplements or if you want to use supplements that improve your skin, topical products may work better for you. I personally prefer internal supplements for most things, but I encourage you to try both types to find out what works best for you!