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Danger! Watch Out Your Supplement Intake

supplement intake

Market is flooded with all kind of supplements which claim miracle cure for all type of health conditions. Women Fitness brings the reality before its readers as they are able to make a prudent decision with regard to them.

A case report appearing online in JAMA Ophthalmology from the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah (October 27, 2016) reveals what can happen when a patient takes more of a supplement than their body  needs, in this case, we are talking about lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg) supplements. Ophthalmologists for long have been prescribing these two nutritional supplements to be taken daily to prevent or slow vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). An over dose of these supplements had lead to at least two times greater  carotenoid levels in serum, skin, and the retina leading to crystal deposits in the macular region of the retina in both eyes. 

Consumer Reports has written in its report “More than half of the adult population have taken supplements to stay healthy, lose weight, gain an edge in sports or in the bedroom, and avoid using prescription drugs. In 2009, we spent $26.7 billion on them, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, a trade publication.” “What consumers might not realize, though, is that supplement manufacturers routinely, and legally, sell their products without first having to demonstrate that they are safe and effective. As a result, the supplement marketplace is not as safe as it should be.”

Supplements are products that contain more than 1100 known ingredients, which may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, and other botanicals. They are purchased by consumers who annually spend billions of dollars to help them with a wide range of health conditions (for instance arthritis, osteoporosis, colds, heart disease, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s) and to promote a healthier mind and body with weight loss, sexual enhancement, and body-building.

Despite their widespread use and popularity in health care, supplements are essentially categorized as foods or nutrients and are not subjected to the governing standards and inspection of prescription drugs by the FDA This categorization of supplements as food nutrients leaves every person who makes a purchase vulnerable to possible contamination or adulteration of these products. Only one in four supplement products is voluntarily submitted for inspection by producers to the USP (US Pharmacopeia), leaving the majority without reliable verification of dose, purity, and standardization.

This lack of government agency oversight results in an unprotected and confused consumer, who is often left without the information they need when buying a supplement and trying to understand the directions, interactions, and safety. Knowing the risks and benefits of these dietary supplements is essential, if consumers are to avoid some of the reported dangerous and toxic reactions while seeking products that have clearly helped in health promotion and disease prevention. Consumer Reports Health has researched this very confusing field of supplement use and provides buyers with clear information and resources to help recognize and avoid dangerous supplements, understand which ones have evidence-based benefits, and find reliable expert advice and resources.

Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, only about a third have some level of safety and effectivenessthat is supported by scientific evidence, according to a review by NMCD experts. And close to 12 percent have been linked to safety concerns or problems with product quality.

“We have identified a dozen supplement ingredients that we think consumers should avoid because of health risks, including cardiovascular, liver, and kidney problems. We found products with those ingredients readily available in stores and online.

Because of inadequate quality control and inspection, supplements contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or prescription drugs have been sold to unsuspecting consumers. And FDA rules covering manufacturing quality don’t apply to the companies that supply herbs, vitamins, and other raw ingredients. China, which has repeatedly been caught exporting contaminated products, is a major supplier of raw supplement ingredients. The FDA has yet to inspect a single factory there.”

“Working with experts from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, an independent research group, we identified a group of ingredients (out of nearly 1,100 in the database) linked to serious adverse events by clinical research or case reports. To come up with our dozen finalists, we also considered factors such as whether the ingredients were effective for their purported uses and how readily available they were to consumers.”

“The dozen are aconite, bitter orange, chaparral, colloidal silver, coltsfoot, comfrey, country mallow, germanium, greater celandine, kava, lobelia, and yohimbe. The FDA has warned about at least eight of them, some as long ago as 1993.” Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, only about a third have some level of safety and effectiveness that is supported by scientific evidence, according to a review by NMCD experts. And close to 12 percent have been linked to safety concerns or problems with product quality.”

“It’s against the law for companies to claim that any supplement can prevent, treat, or cure any disease except some nutrient-deficiency conditions. 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.” “Look for the “USP Verified” mark:

It indicates that the supplement manufacturer has voluntarily asked U.S. Pharmacopeia, a trusted nonprofit, private standards-setting authority, to verify the quality, purity, and potency of its raw ingredients or finished products. USP maintains a list of verified products on its website.”

“Research in the right places: Be skeptical about claims made for supplements in ads, on TV, and by sales staff. If a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Instead, try these sources:”

“Consumers might be attracted to dietary supplements because they’re “all natural” and don’t contain the synthetic chemicals found in prescription drugs. But they might be getting fooled.”

Consumer Reports List of Supplements to Avoid

“These supplement ingredients are among those linked by clinical research or case reports to serious side effects. We worked with the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, an independent research group that evaluates the safety and effectiveness of nutritional supplements, to develop this list. We think it’s wise to avoid all the ingredients on it. Unless otherwise noted, there’s insufficient evidence to rate their effectiveness for their purported uses. Dangers listed are not meant to be all-inclusive.”

Aconite: Aconiti tuber, aconitum, radix aconiti

Purported uses : Inflammation, joint pain, wounds, gout.

Possible Dangers: Toxicity, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, respiratorysystem paralysis, heart-rhythm disorders, death.

Unsafe. Aconite is the most common cause of severe herbal poisoning in Hong Kong.

Bitter Orange: Aurantii fructus, Citrus aurantium, zhi shi

Purported uses : Weight loss, nasal congestion, allergies.

Possible Dangers: Fainting, heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, stroke, death.

Possibly unsafe. Contains synephrine, which is similar to ephedrine, banned by the FDA in 2004. Risks might be higher when taken with herbs that contain caffeine.

Chaparral: Creosote bush, Larrea divaricata, larreastat

Purported uses: Colds, weight loss, infections, inflammation, cancer, detoxification.

Possible Dangers: Liver damage, kidney problems.

Likely unsafe. The FDA advises people not to take chaparral.

Colloidal Silver: Ionic silver, native silver, Silver in suspending agent

Purported uses: Fungal and other infections, Lyme disease, rosacea, psoriasis, food poisoning, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS.

Possible Dangers: Bluish skin, mucous membrane discoloration, neurological problems, kidney damage.

Likely unsafe. The FDA advised consumers about the risk of discoloration on Oct. 6, 2009.

Coltsfoot: Cough wort, farfarae folium leaf, foalswort

Purported uses: Cough, sore throat, laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma.

Possible Dangers: Liver damage, cancer. Likely unsafe.

Comfrey: Blackwort, common comfrey, slippery root

Purported uses: Cough, heavy menstrual periods, chest pain, cancer.

Possible Dangers: Liver damage, cancer.

Likely unsafe. The FDA advised manufacturers to remove comfrey products from the market in July 2001.

Country Mallow: Heartleaf, Sida cordifolia, silky white mallow

Purported uses: Nasal congestion, allergies, asthma, weight loss, bronchitis.

Possible Dangers: Heart attack, heart arrhythmia, stroke, death.

Likely unsafe. Possible dangers linked with its ephedrine alkaloids banned by the FDA in 2004.

Germanium: Ge, Ge-132, germanium-132

Purported uses: Pain, infections, glaucoma, liver problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer.

Possible Dangers: Kidney damage, death.

Likely unsafe. The FDA warned in 1993 that it was linked to serious adverse event

Greater Celandine: Celandine, chelidonii herba, Chelidonium majus

Purported uses: Upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disorders, detoxification, cancer.

Possible Dangers: Liver damage.

Possibly unsafe.

Kava: Awa, Piper methysticum, kava-kava

Purported uses: Anxiety(possibly effective)

Possible Dangers: Liver damage.

Possibly unsafe. The FDA issued a warning to consumers in March 2002. Banned in Germany, Canada, and Switzerland.

Lobelia: Asthma weed, Lobelia inflata, pukeweed, vomit wort

Purported uses: Coughing, bronchitis, asthma, smoking cessation (possibly ineffective).

Possible Dangers: Toxicity; overdose can cause fast heartbeat, very low blood pressure, coma, possibly death.

Likely unsafe. The FDA warned in 1993 that it was linked to serious adverse events.

Yohimbe: Yohimbine, Corynanthe yohimbi, Corynanthe johimbi

Purported uses: Aphrodisiac, chest pain, diabetic complications, depression; erectile dysfunction (possibly effective).

Possible Dangers: Usual doses can cause high blood pressure, rapid heart rate; high doses can cause severe low blood pressure, heart problems, death.

Possibly unsafe for use without medical supervision because it contains a prescription drug, yohimbine. The FDA warned in 1993 that reports of serious adverse events were under investigation.

Women Fitness brings an authentic insight into the dangers of supplements available in the market and to be extremely cautious while taking the same.


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