Unhealthy weight loss supplements come with many side effects that are incredibly harmful to health. Bluish skin, mucous membrane discoloration, neurological problems, kidney damage. Might increase the effect of blood-thinning drugs and high blood pressure medications. Most supplements haven't been studied in pregnant or nursing women. Upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disorders, detoxification, cancer. “Vitamins can be synthetic because, by definition, a vitamin doesn’t have to come from nature,” says Fabricant at the FDA. Some of those products aren’t especially helpful, readers told us in a recent survey, but that aside, don’t assume they’re safe because they’re “all natural.” They may be neither. We strongly support the FDA’s action to ban ephedra. Might increase the effects of the blood thinner warfarin. These stores, which sell traditional medicinal plants and other artifacts for physical and spiritual healing, are a valued presence in Hispanic neighborhoods in many American cities. Aphrodisiac, chest pain, diabetic complications, depression; erectile dysfunction (possibly effective). Insomnia, vivid dreams, anxiety, dizziness, headache, skin rash, and tingling. Vitamin C. There’s some evidence that 200 milligrams or more of vitamin C a day might improve cold symptoms in smokers and seniors, though it won’t prevent colds. He is suing the manufacturer and others. The reports by themselves don’t prove the supplements caused the problems, but the raw numbers are cause for some concern. The dozen are aconite, bitter orange, chaparral, colloidal silver, coltsfoot, comfrey, country mallow, germanium, greater celandine, kava, lobelia, and yohimbe. Fainting, heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, stroke, death. Check with your doctor before taking traditional herbs, and make sure you know what they are and where they come from. Dr. Marvin Lipman, Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, pointed out that worried consumers can look for the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) label that means a company has verified what is on the label. We’ve seen many recalled products that have contained the same or similar active ingredients as prescription drugs, such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and sibutramine (Meridia, a weight-loss drug that was withdrawn from the market in 2010 because of evidence that it increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes). But there’s a big difference between the two, notes Pieter Cohen, M.D., an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts with a special interest in supplements. But those that do are still useful because they can raise red flags about a developing problem. The FDA said that Hydroxycut presented "a severe, potentially life-threatening hazard to some users" and had been linked to two reported deaths. The report, in Consumer Reports' September issue, investigates 10 unknown dangers associated with taking vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements. Can decrease the effectiveness of a wide range of drugs, including birth-control pills, heart medications, HIV/AIDS drugs, and warfarin. And FDA rules covering manufacturing quality don't apply to the companies that supply herbs, vitamins, and other raw ingredients. ... That was the consensus of a review conducted by the editors of the June issue of Consumer Reports on dietary supplements. Privacy note: We won't use your friend's e-mail for anything other than sending this message. Coughing, bronchitis, asthma, smoking cessation (possibly ineffective). After looking at 233 products, all purchased online or in stores in the New York City metropolitan area in the spring of 2012, we can report that the only thing consistent about the labels is their lack of consistency. Your doctor or pharmacist can steer you away from such problems only if they know what supplements you're taking or plan to take. “These powerful medications with powerful side effects are actually saving lives when used appropriately,” he says of prescription drugs. But the FDA is now calling Kratom itself an opioid and warn it can be addictive and dangerous. Amazingly, for the first 13 years after the enactment of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), supplement makers didn't have to inform the FDA if they received reports of serious adverse events, an obligation that's required for prescription drugs. More typically, Blumin says, pills irritate the esophagus, causing a muscle spasm, or get physically stuck or slowed. But he soon began feeling fatigued, and when the whites of his eyes turned yellow, he said, he went to the hospital. So annoying! Might reduce the effectiveness of some medications, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), other heart medications, birth-control pills, HIV/AIDS drugs. Photo: People with persistent swallowing problems can switch to liquid or chewable formulations and should probably seek evaluation by an otolaryngologist. “A number of the spiked sexual enhancement products claim to work within 20 to 45 minutes,” Fabricant said on the FDA’s website. Good news first: 100 percent of the 15 brands we bought that contained iron had the required warning. A bottle of silver we purchased was labeled "perfectly safe," with an asterisked note that said the FDA had not evaluated the claim. However, further research is needed to determine CBD's other benefits and safety.. CBD is a chemical found in marijuana.CBD doesn't contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high. Build & Buy Car Buying Service Possibly unsafe. Vitamins and supplements could do more harm than good in some cases, according to a new report in Consumer Reports. The FDA has warned about at least eight of them, some as long ago as 1993. Plant-derived supplements make many health enhancement claims, and yet the market is largely unregulated, says a new article published in Consumer Reports (CR). Here in the U.S., it can be purchased as a supplement in the form of a powder, pill or tea and it doesn’t require a prescription. Those adulterated products can cause some of the same side effects and interactions that consumers may have been trying to avoid by choosing supplements over drugs. While it’s known that St. John’s wort can reduce the effectiveness of certain prescription drugs, including birth-control pills and blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), only two of the 17 samples of it we purchased warned explicitly about those hazards. USP maintains a list of verified products on its website. Instead of attempting any more outright bans, the agency issued warnings, detained imported products, and asked companies to recall products it considered unsafe. Possible dangers linked with its ephedrine alkaloids banned by the FDA in 2004. Robert Houser. The FDA and Congress have recently taken some action to strengthen the agency's oversight, such as passing a law requiring that companies report serious adverse events. Consumer Reports published a list of 15 supplements to avoid. And consult a doctor if you need help in the bedroom, since it could indicate an underlying health problem. It can cause skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun. But in the past two years, the Federal Trade Commission has filed or settled 30 cases against supplement marketers, charging that they made exactly those kinds of claims. Two national retailers we contacted about specific supplements said they carried them because the FDA has not banned them. Might decrease the effectiveness of carbamazepine, an antiseizure drug; digoxin, a heart drug; and lithium, for bipolar disorder. And in light of the potentially serious health risks—including dangerous changes in blood pressure, serious liver injury, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke—we think consumers should be extremely cautious with those categories of products or avoid them. To get a pill down easily, first take a swig of water to moisten your mouth and throat. Because of inadequate quality control and inspection, supplements contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or prescription drugs have been sold to unsuspecting consumers. In other words, botanicals and their extracts must come from actual living plants, not a test tube. Of the 233 labels we examined, most included only general warnings, such as those about not using the product during pregnancy or nursing, or about possible unspecified drug interactions. Consumer Reports Investigates Vitamins and Supplements: Ten Dangers That May Surprise You If you haven't seen this yet, I'll let the news release from Consumer Reports below speak for itself. SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Millions of Americans have reportedly tried a supplement called kratom to treat a number of problems from chronic pain to opioid withdrawal. Likely effective in reducing symptoms of major depression, reducing pain, and improving functioning in people with osteoarthritis. Extremely large amounts might cause weakness, fatigue, headache, and nausea, though side effects are rare. Too much retinol can cause birth defects and liver abnormalities, and might harm bones. Multivitamins. The study found that gray hair had lower-than-normal levels of catalase but did not prove that taking that enzyme by mouth would stop hair from turning gray. “When we see a product that makes claims above and beyond what a dietary supplement might do—above supporting health—and within a time frame of a few minutes, it tips us off that we might have a spiked product.”. The investigators warned that the implications of their findings were worrisome given that more than half of people 60 or older take supplements containing vitamin E. Moreover, 23 percent of them take at least 400 IU per day despite a recommended daily dietary allowance of only 22 IU for adult men. Our investigation left us concerned about product quality and identity at the shops. Nasal congestion, allergies, asthma, weight loss, bronchitis. Possibly effective for preventing recurrent urinary-tract infections. But when Consumer Reports sent a Spanish-speaking reporter on a shopping trip to several New York-area botánicas in 2011, he came away with incomplete information and bags of mystery herbs. Laser treatments have erased almost all the discoloration from Dowd's face and neck, but she said it's not feasible to treat the rest of her body. But the FDA says kratom isn’t just a plant — it’s an opioid. Omega-3 fish oil. The FDA suspects most supplement problems never come to its attention, says Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., director of the agency’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs. People with poor immune function should check with their doctor first. Consumer Reports outlines in an extensive report how producers of dietary supplements face little regulation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and why that can be dangerous … Read and be warned. 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