July 28, 2016 — Consumer Reports is warning that dietary supplements can make you sick, naming 15 that you should always avoid.
Dietary supplements may claim to be “all-natural,” but they can still have severe, life-threatening side effects. They are not regulated the same way as medications, yet they are used for medical problems.
The labels are often inaccurate or deliberately filled with fake ingredients. Consumer Reports estimates that 23,000 people end up in the emergency room after taking supplements every year.
Supplements can also interact with other medications you might be taking or increase the risk of side effects, which is why you should always talk to a doctor before starting any supplement.
Even probiotics pose risks. One hospital gave a premature baby ABC Dophilus, a probiotic containing live bacteria. Unfortunately, it also contained a fungus that caused a deadly infection. According to an attorney for the family:
“The supplement didn’t just fail to prevent a deadly intestinal infection. The supplement actually caused a deadly intestinal infection.”
Here is a list of 15 supplements that Consumer Reports wants you to “always avoid,” along with potential side effects:
- Actonite: Nausea, vomiting, weakness, paralysis, breathing and heart problems, possibly death
- Caffeine powder: Seizures, heart rhythm problems, cardiac arrest, possibly death; especially when combined with other supplements
- Chaparral: Kidney problems, liver damage, possibly death
- Coltsfoot: Liver damage, possible carcinogen
- Comfrey: Liver damage, cancer, possibly death
- Germander: Liver damage, hepatitis, possibly death
- Greater Celandine: Liver damage
- Green Tea Extract Powder: Dizziness, ringing in the ears, reduced iron absorption, exacerbates anemia and glaucoma, elevates blood pressure and heart-rate, liver damage, possibly death
- Kava: Liver damage, exacerbates Parkinson’s and depression, impairs driving, possibly death
- Pennyroyal oil: Liver and kidney failure, nerve damage, convulsions, possibly death
- Red Yeast Rice: Kidney and muscle problems, liver problems, hair loss, increasing side effects of statins
- Usnic Acid: Liver injury
- Yohimbe: Raises blood pressure, rapid heart rate, headache, seizures, liver and kidney problems, heart problems, panic attacks, possibly death
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