Why You Need to Stay Far, Far Away from ‘Natural’ Supplements

Green tea powder extract and red yeast rice sound harmless enough, but a new report has flagged these and 13 other “all-natural” ingredients found in common supplements as potentially serious health risks.

Organ failure, cardiac arrest, and cancer were among the potential complications that a Consumer Reports investigation linked to the ingredients, which are found in products that can be easily purchased online and in national chain stores. The report linked caffeine powder (which is often used for weight loss) to a potential risk of seizures, heart arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, and possibly death, especially when combined with other stimulant drugs. Meanwhile, taking green tea powder extract, which is also used for weight loss, could lead to diziness, ringing in the ears, elevated blood pressure, liver damage, and possibly death.

RELATED: Is It Dangerous to Drink Too Much Green Tea?

It’s not news that supplements can be shifty and often don’t live up to their health-boosting claims. Sometimes, they’re not even what they say they are. But now, a panel of independent doctors and researchers is saying you may be swallowing a lot more than just hype—especially if you have other health complications or are taking prescription medications that could cause an interaction.

Because supplements are sold over the counter and billed as “natural,” many people who take them don’t think to check with a doctor or pharmacist first. And you might be surprised to hear that supplements are not regulated as strictly as other meds by the Food and Drug Administration.

The bottom line: These OTC concoctions simply aren’t worth the risk. If you’re absolutely hung up on trying a supplement, do some research and talk to your healthcare provider first.

Source: Why You Need to Stay Far, Far Away from ‘Natural’ Supplements

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