About Dietary Supplements
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a majority of people in the United States take dietary supplements. As people age, they are more likely to use two or more different kinds of dietary supplements per day. Dietary supplements can play an important role in high-risk or immunocompromised patients such as those with PF.
How Can Dietary Supplements Help?
Dietary supplements can help reduce inflammation, encourage tissue repair, improve immunity, and support other normal bodily functions. While maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can help, some patients still need a supplemental source of vitamins and minerals.
Which Dietary Supplements Might Help?
Here are some of the dietary supplements you may have heard about from your doctor, pulmonologist, or in community forums:
- Vitamins A, C, D, and E
- Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics
- Herbs such as turmeric, ginseng, oregano, and green tea extract
- Systemic enzymes such as serrapeptase and nattokinase
What Are the Risks of Dietary Supplements?
Before adding any dietary supplements to your treatment plan, please consult with a trusted medical professional. There are several risks to be aware of:
- Potency: the strength of the ingredients might surprise you and cause a bad reaction or unintended side effects/symptoms
- Quality: dietary supplements face very different regulations than FDA-approved medications; therefore, the quality of dietary supplements may vary greatly between brands or product lines
- Contraindications: the safety and efficacy of other medications you’re currently taking may be altered by certain dietary supplements. For instance, systemic enzymes have a mild blood thinning effect. If you’re already taking blood thinners, taking dietary supplements with the same effect can be dangerous.
To consider additional risks, please visit this fact sheet for consumers.
What Is the Science of Dietary Supplements and Commonly Prescribed PF Medications?
As mentioned above, sometimes taking supplements and medications together can cause unintended effects – like increasing the medication’s side effects, decreasing the medication’s effects, or interacting with the medication in potentially harmful ways. Because of this, it’s important to understand the science of drug interactions.
Fortunately, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has an informational webpage explaining how supplements may impact the efficacy of medications, interact with over-the-counter medications, and potentially lead to severe consequences. The NCCIH webpage also includes tips for reading the labels on dietary supplements, and even has a brief quiz to help reinforce your improved understanding of supplement-medication interactions.
Where Can I Learn More About Dietary Supplements and PF?
- To discover research about dietary supplements and PF, please visit our research page here.
- To connect with others with PF and hear their experiences, please sign up for our support groups here and post your questions in our community forum here.
Stay In Touch
PF NOW! hosts virtual support groups on Teams multiple times each month. Not only will you strengthen your network of connections but you’ll learn firsthand how those with PF best look after themselves. PF NOW! also has a Facebook group whose active community shares their PF journey and their tips with others. New to online support groups? Download our free step-by-step guide for online advocacy here.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information received from us.