Supplement use on the rise in US - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Supplement use on the rise in US

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People take vitamins and nutritional supplements in order to live a healthier life, but that doesn't mean they're harmless.

If you take too many of them, they can make you very sick.

A recent study finds that they're behind a spike in calls to poison control centers around the country.

The rate of dietary supplement-related calls to poison control centers went up almost 50 percent between 2005 and 2012. That's according to a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Researchers examined data from the National Poison Data System, which records information on calls to poison control.

Between 2000 to 2012, there were nearly 275,000 dietary supplement exposures reported to poison control centers across the US. Nearly all of them were unintentional.

70-percent of those calls pertained to children younger than age six.

For the purposes of the study, "dietary supplements" included vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, homeopathic agents and amino acids.

Botanical ingredients were to blame in almost a third of the cases. Luckily, only a small percentage of exposures, four-point-five percent, resulted in serious medical outcomes.

Researchers said the study underscores a need for better regulation, child-proof packaging, and more parental education.