PATNA: With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people in the city have started consuming various health supplements and herbs to boost their immunity system. However, doctors and Ayush practitioners have cautioned them against the excessive intake of such supplements and herbs.
Busting the myth that vitamin C supplements fight Covid, Dr Nargis Shamin, senior doctor of medicine at the Patna Medical College and Hospital, says, “They do play a vital role in maintaining good health, but taking them without consulting a doctor can be harmful. People, who are more prone to seasonal flu or have a history of weak immune response, should consume them. Healthy individuals, on the other hand, can get an adequate amount of vitamin C by eating a diet rich in green vegetables and citrus fruits.”
She adds, “Excessive consumption of vitamin C supplements may cause nausea, diarrhoea and disruption of the antioxidant balance in the body.”
While the side effects of vitamin C overdose are mild in nature, other vitamins and minerals, if consumed in higher quantities than recommended, may prove to be harmful.
President of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics-Bihar, Dr Arun Shah, points out that there is no harm in taking health supplements, but an overdose of essential vitamins and minerals like zinc and vitamin D can lead to toxicity in the body.
“If the recommended daily dose of zinc exceeds 50mg, it can cause fever, coughing, stomach pain and fatigue. Similarly, 1,000-2,000 IU per day of vitamin D from a supplement is considered safe, but beyond that it can lead to hypercalcemia, vomiting, weakness and frequent urination. It can also cause bone pain and formation of calcium stones,” Dr Shah says.
Besides, Ayush practitioners warn people that excessive consumption of herbs like ‘giloy’ and ‘tulsi’ as well as ‘kadhas’ can do more harm than good. “These should be used in moderation as they release heat and their overdose can lead to dysentery and other complications. Consuming too much ‘kadha’ can also cause serious side effects,” claims Boring Road-based Ayush practitioner, Dr K K Prasad.