"...all doctors should be able to diagnose and treat nutritional deficiencies."

Royal College of Physicians. Nutrition and Patients: A Doctor's Responsibility. London 2002


This page has been printed from the www.stewartnutrition.co.uk web site.

How to Report an Adverse Reaction to Nutritional Supplements

At present in the UK there is no formal system for reporting adverse reactions to non-prescribed nutritional supplements. 
If the supplement(s) that you suspect are or have upset you are prescribed by your doctor then you should of course report the event to him/her.  They will be able to advise you further and they may choose to report the reaction using the yellow card scheme that is also used for drug medication.

It is anticipated that the majority of adverse reactions will involve supplements that have not been prescribed but have been self-purchased following a recommendation, advertisement or as a result of the person’s own initiative.

It may then be useful to complete the following report form and to take a copy to give and discuss with your doctor.  It may also be appropriate to print off relevant sections from this web site or from linked sites or other sources of information when you see you doctor or other relevant therapist/specialist.
Additionally you may want to pass a copy of the below questionnaire on to the company that produced the supplement(s) so that they may be alerted to the possibility of such a reaction.  It is also possible that the adverse reaction occurred as a result of an excessive amount of a nutrient being included in the preparation either because of overages or due to accidental, excessive inclusion of a constituent in a product.
Any responsible company, particularly one that is a member of the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association [internal link] and who adheres to their original mission statement of offering “good quality, safe products supported by responsible, lawful information.”, would want to know about any potential adverse reaction to their product.

Report Form for Adverse Reactions to a Nutritional Supplement

Question Your Answer
As appropriate answer:
yes, no, not relevant or give details.
Initials/Name – optional


Contact details - optional
Address/email address







Symptoms or health problem of possible adverse reaction.




What supplements(s) is/are suspected of causing an adverse reaction?
Name of product?
Daily dose?
Duration of use?
Was it purchased in the UK?







Date when you started the supplement


Date when did you stopped the supplement


Has the supplement caused a new problem or aggravated a pre-existing one?



Who prescribed/ recommended the supplement in question? Give details.
Advertisement, self, doctor, nutritionist, dietitian, chemist, sales assistant or other.


Details of all other supplements taken shortly before and at the time of the adverse event.





Details of all prescription medication, non-prescription medication, herbal and any other health supplements not already listed taken at the same time.





Did the adverse event appear after the supplement was taken?



Did the adverse event disappear after the supplement was stopped?



Has the adverse event occurred after more than one challenge?



Has the level of the relevant nutrient in the blood been measured? Give details.



Do you have any health problems:
Liver disease?
Renal disease?
Other problems?





Do you smoke cigarettes?
How many per day?
Have you smoked in the past?




How much alcohol do you consume in units weekly?
Wine; bottle = 10 u, 1 glass = 2 u
Beer; 1 pint = 2.5-3 u, bottle = 2-4 u
Spirit serving; pub = 1 u, home = 2 u


Are there any other points about the reaction or your circumstances that you think are relevant?






Please take this form to your medical practitioner and pass a copy on to the manufacturer of the relevant supplement. 
You are also welcome to contact me directly with these details. 
Send to dr.stewart@stewartnutrition.co.uk

Copyright Dr. Alan Stewart M.B.B.S.M.R.C.P. (UK)M.F. Hom.
47 Priory Street, Lewes, East Sussex. BN7 1HJ
Tel 01273 487003 Fax: 01273 487576