Rising dietary supplement use in kids sparks safety concerns

Dietary supplement use is on the rise among children and adolescents in the U.S., with about a third using the products. But according to experts, little is known about supplements’ potential benefits for children, or their possible harms.

Parents should not assume that supplements sold on store shelves are safe, or even that their ingredients are accurately labeled, Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the Washington Post in an August 19, 2019 article. Research by Austin and colleagues found that dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy, can be especially risky for young people.

“These products are not proven to turn anyone into an Olympic athlete or the highest scorer on their team,” Austin said. “What they are proven to do is lead to serious adverse events when the products have dangerous ingredients, which too often they do.”

Read the Washington Post article: More parents give dietary supplements to kids. But experts warn about their potential danger.