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6 Supplements You Should Never Take If You're Over 60, Doctors Say

Some of these vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can cause health issues for seniors.

Establishing good health habits when you're younger that carry over into your older years can help keep you feeling your best. Your routine may include taking dietary supplements, to ensure you're getting all the vitamins and minerals everyone needs or to help address a specific deficiency. However, this health habit can become riskier when you reach a certain age.

"In some cases, supplements can cause problems in older adults because they interact with common prescription medications," says Leann Poston, MD, a licensed physician and health advisor for Invigor Medical. "Talk with your doctor before taking supplements to ensure they are safe for you."

Wondering what you should drop from your daily nutrition regimen as a senior? We've asked the experts to weigh in on the most important changes you should consider right now. Read on for the worst supplements to take if you're over 60, according to doctors.

RELATED: 5 Supplements That Can Damage Your Kidneys, Doctors Say.

St. John's Wort

st johns wort supplement and flower
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Some people turn to St. John's wort as a natural way to treat mild depression, according to Mayo Clinic. But doctors warn its active ingredient, hyperforin, can sometimes cause problems when taken with other medications.

"St. John's wort can interact with statins, blood thinners like warfarin, antidepressants, migraine medications, and digoxin, which is prescribed for heart failure," says Patricia Pinto-Garcia, MD, MPH, senior medical editor at GoodRx.

RELATED: 7 Surprising Benefits of Taking Magnesium Every Day.

Vitamin E

Close up of a woman in a yellow sweater holding a pill, vitamin, or supplement bottle, reading the ingredients
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When it comes to boosting your immune system, many turn to vitamin E. But if you're taking certain prescriptions, it might be time to drop it from your daily lineup.

"Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) is an antioxidant that also prevents the aggregation of platelets, which can lead to an increased risk of bleeding," Sarah Trahan, NMD, staff physician at Sonoran University, tells Best Life. "If you are on certain medications, such as aspirin, Coumadin, and Eliquis, or have certain conditions, such as malabsorption diseases, you are at higher risk of internal bleeding."


ginseng root

Supplements derived from natural sources, such as ginseng, may seem like a safe option. But depending on your existing health issues, you might want to reconsider them once you reach your 60th birthday.

"Ginseng has been used for thousands of years to help support memory and immune health, but it interferes with diabetes medications and can potentially reduce blood sugar levels," cautions Pinto-Garcia.

RELATED: 12 Supplements You Should Never Take Together, Medical Experts Say.


magnesium supplements in wooden spoon
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Magnesium has become a popular supplement because of its purported health benefits. These include helping control blood pressure, improving sleep, aiding with bowel regularity, and boosting mood, according to Healthline. But some doctors say seniors should reconsider having it in the lineup.

"Excess magnesium can cause changes in potassium and sodium levels and affect how the heart beats," says Poston. "The risk is higher for people whose kidneys do not work well."

Ginkgo Biloba

man using glasses to read supplement label

Despite there being inconclusive evidence on its effectiveness, many still turn to ginkgo biloba supplements to help boost their cognitive health, per Mayo Clinc. However, this is problematic for people taking certain medicines.

"While many take it for memory improvement, ginkgo biloba could increase bleeding risk—especially for those on blood thinners or with bleeding problems," says Beata Rydyger, a Los Angeles-based registered nutritionist. "It might also not mix well with antidepressants and diabetes medication."

If you're looking for another habit to support your brain health, Rydyger suggests eating foods high in antioxidants, such as berries and leafy greens.


Curcumin supplement capsules, turmeric powder in glass bowl and curcuma root in background.
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In addition to being a spice rack staple, turmeric has also become a popular supplement. But experts point out that it can create a dangerous interaction with other drugs.

"Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can negatively interfere with certain medications like iron, decreasing its absorption," says Lindsay Scaringella, registered dietician and licensed nutritionist at CareOne. "It also is a blood thinner, so taking other blood thinning medications with turmeric can cause bleeding or bruising."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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