The market for supplements is one of the largest in our country. Entire shelves in grocery stores and drug stores are filled with them. Unfortunately, they are not seen as medicine by law, but rather as food. This means that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the industry. As a result, there is no way to tell whether these products are actually good for you or not.
Official recommendations are that someone should only take supplements as prescribed by a doctor. For instance, women who are trying to conceive should take folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. Other than that, it is better to avoid them. In fact, some supplements are downright dangerous to your health.
Let’s take a look at the 5 supplements that could actually do you a lot of damage.
1. St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is a very expensive supplement that people believe helps in the treatment of depression. Because it is very expensive, a lot of people actually grow their own and take extracts from it. In reality, however, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that the herb actually works and most scientists believe that the perceived effects could be attributed to the placebo effect. Some scientists are also warning about the dangers of St John’s Wort.
St. John’s wort can make many other drugs less effective. There have been cases of unintended pregnancies in women taking St. John’s wort and birth control pills and cases of organ rejection in those taking St John’s wort with anti-rejection drugs after a transplant.
Depression is a disease for which people need to receive treatment. If they then decide to self-medicate, there is a real danger that something will go wrong. This is particularly true with the drugs described above as well.
2. Bitter Orange
Bitter orange is a very popular supplement because it is believed to be a great weight loss aid. When you combine the supplement industry with the weight loss industry, you end up with something that is probably larger than any other industry in the world. Simply adding a suggestion of weight loss to the label of any product will instantly make it more popular. Unfortunately, bitter orange is actually incredibly dangerous.
It’s used for weight loss, allergies, and nasal congestion. But it’s been linked to fainting, heart trouble, stroke and even death. Also known as aurantii fructus, Citrus aurantium and zhi shi, bitter orange contains synephrine, a compound similar to ephedrine, which the FDA banned in 2004.
The FDA cannot ban bitter orange because of the fact that it is classified as a food, not a medicine. As a result, it is still possible to purchase bitter orange in many stores. There is also a huge online market for the supplement, which is even less regulated.
Aconite is, luckily, not an overly popular product. However, it is still found on the supplement market, and particularly online. It is claimed that it helps with pain and inflammation and is frequently used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. While some people swear by its efficacy, there is no scientific evidence to back up those claims in any way. Additionally, the product has the potential to be lethal.
Aconite (Aconitum napellus) comes from monkshood, one of the most poisonous plants known. Aconite can cause irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and death, and even in topical form is dangerous.
4. Weight Loss and Workout Supplements Based on Acacia Rigidula
A short while ago, a story hit the news about the dangers of certain weight loss and workout supplements. The ones that were classed as dangerous were known to contain the BMPEA chemical, released by synthesizing acacia rigidula. In Canada, any product containing BMPEA was made illegal, but the Food and Drug Administration indicated that they did not share the concerns of the Canadian government and BMPEA supplements continue to be widely available here. BMPEA is undeniably dangerous.
Although BMPEA was first synthesized in the 1930s as a replacement for amphetamine, it was never introduced as a pharmaceutical drug and its side effects were never studied in humans.
Some of the products still available on our market that contain BMPEA include Jet Fuel, Fastin, Yellow Scorpion, Black Widow, Lipodrene Hardcore, ARO Burn, Dexaprite and Stimerex-EX, to name but a few. Users are recommended to check the label of any dietary supplement they are considering taking and to look for either the BMPEA supplement or for acacia rigidula. However, it is equally important to remember that labels do not always tell the full truth.
Finally, there is chaparral. In saying “finally” it is important to understand that it is the final item on this list, not the final dangerous supplement. There are many others out there that have the potential to do significant harm. In fact, it is believed that thousands of people are sent to the ER each year because of this.
Going back to chaparral, it is hailed by people as a product that purifies the blood. Some even believe it to be able to cure cancer and that it is a perfect treatment for acne. In reality, however, chaparral is unbelievably dangerous.
Linked to abnormal liver function that is often irreversible.
Chaparral has been used in various ‘natural’ remedies. As a plant that grows in our own country, people seem to blindly put their faith in it. In reality, however, it does not have any benefits that could in any way outweigh the risk of developing lifelong liver dysfunction.
Supplements are supposed to give something extra or a supplement to what you are already doing. As such, a better option would be to increase what you are already doing. For instance, instead of taking vitamin C, eat an extra orange each day. Always remember that just because something is natural, it doesn’t mean it is also good for you. Mother Nature is capable of producing toxins that no scientist has been able to replicate, and yet have the potential to kill you.