Questions for ‘Food supplements can make you sick’


Many capsules, pills, powders and other products are advertised as being easy ways to make someone healthier. But a new report suggests that in the United States alone, thousands of people end up in the hospital each year after taking certain of these food supplements.


To accompany feature “Food supplements can make you sick”


Before reading: 

1.    What constitutes a healthy diet? What kinds of foods should a person regularly eat to stay healthy?

2.    What can happen if a person does not eat a balanced diet? How can that affect their health?

During reading: 

1.    What are dietary supplements?

2.    Why would someone choose to consume a dietary supplement?

3.    Give three examples of adverse events that have been linked to supplement use.

4.    What is difference between how drugs and dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA?

5.    Why did Andrew Geller find it surprising that young people had adverse events after taking dietary supplements?

6.    What were the most common adverse events reported among young adults?

7.    What two categories of dietary supplements were responsible for most often sending young people to emergency rooms?

8.    Why might energy supplements cause health problems?

9.    Why do pediatricians worry about young people who take body-building supplements?

After reading: 

1.    If you wanted to lose weight or build up your muscles, would you take a dietary supplement? Explain your answer using information from this story.

2.    By law, the FDA cannot require supplement makers to provide safety data on their products before selling them. This is required of drug makers. Should the law be changed for supplement makers? Explain your reasoning.


1.    There are about 323 million people in the United States. Using data from this article, determine the percentage of people who go to emergency rooms each year from adverse reactions to dietary supplements.