What You Must Know Before Taking Supplements

In today’s age where we as consumers are bombarded by so many attractive advertisements aimed at making you buy the next miracle supplement promising to improve your health, achieve weight loss, give you beautiful skin and hair, increase your energy level, and even reduce your pain. It is difficult to resist jumping onto the bandwagon when others are already raving about its benefits and efficacy. However, before you do that the next time, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves whether any of these are too good to be true, or harbour any unknown side effects.

The Consumer Reports organization, with the help of a panel of doctors and researchers, has reported that multiple supplement ingredients that are found in health supplement products sold online and in drugstores are potentially detrimental to our health. These risks include organ damage, cancer, and cardiac arrest. The severity of such risks often depends on your overall health situation like pre-existing medical conditions, and other factors like the dosage you are using, and the period of time that you have been consuming the supplement.

On top of that, it is also important to be aware of the potential of supplements’ interaction with prescription and over-the-counter medications, for example, cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-thinning drugs like aspirin and warfarin.

Supplement Ingredients You Should Avoid Or Use With Care

The Consumer Reports organization has concluded the following in their study mentioned above :

Caffeine Powder
Also called: 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
Improves attention, enhances athletic performance, weight loss Seizures, heart arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, possibly death; particularly dangerous when combined with other stimulants
Green Tea Extract Powder
Also called: Camellia sinensis
Weight loss Dizziness, ringing in the ears, reduced absorption of iron; exacerbates anemia and glaucoma; elevates blood pressure and heart rate; liver damage; possibly death
Red Yeast Rice
Also called: Monascus purpureus
Lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, prevents heart disease Kidney and muscle problems, liver problems, hair loss; can magnify effect of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, increasing the risk of side effects
Also called: Aconiti tuber, aconitum, angustifolium, monkshood, radix aconti, wolfsbane
Reduces inflammation, joint pain, gout Nausea, vomiting, weakness, paralysis, breathing and heart problems, possibly death
Also called: Creosote bush, greasewood, larrea divaricata, larrea tridentata, larreastat
Weight loss; improves inflammation; treats colds, infections, skin rashes, cancer Kidney officinale Relieves cough, heavy menstrual period
Also called: Teucrium chamaedrys, viscidum
Weight loss; alleviates fever, arthritis, gout, stomach problems  Liver damage, hepatitis, possibly death
Greater Celandine
Also called: Celandine, chelidonium majus, chelidonii herba
Alleviates stomachache  Liver damage
Also called: Ava pepper, kava kava, piper methysticum
 Reduces anxiety, improves insomnia  Liver damage, exacerbates Parkinson’s and depression, impairs driving, possibly death
Also called: Asthma weed, lobelia inflata, vomit wort, wild tobacco
Improves respiratory problems, aids smoking cessation Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, rapid heartbeat, confusion, seizures, hypothermia, coma, possibly death
Also called: Oxilofrine, p-hydroxyephedrine, oxyephedrine, 4-HMP
Weight loss, increases energy, improves athletic performance Causes heart rate and rhythm abnormalities, cardiac arrest; particularly risky when taken with other stimulants
Pennyroyal Oil
Also called: Hedeoma pulegioides, mentha pulegium
Improves breathing problems, digestive disorders Liver and kidney failure, nerve damage, convulsions, possibly death
Usnic Acid
Also called: Beard moss, tree moss, usnea
Weight loss, pain relief Liver injury
Also called: Johimbi, pausinystalia yohimbe, yohimbine, corynanthe johimbi
Treats low libido and erectile dysfunction, depression, obesity Raises blood pressure; causes rapid heart rate, headaches, seizures, liver and kidney problems, heart problems, panic attacks, possibly death


Many people are keen to keep fit and healthy, and also willing to invest in the right supplements that help them to achieve their goals. However, it is also wise and critical to invest a little time to read the ingredient list of your supplements, do your research periodically to stay well informed, and ensure your supplements contain ingredients that provide sufficient health benefits to justify any risks that may be present.


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