List of Dietary Supplements that are Harmful


More than 50 percent of people in the US consume dietary supplements. Consumer Reports show that there is no obligation on the part of the manufacturers to show that what they make and sell are actually safe and effective. It has further stated that there are 12 ingredients that they should stay away from, because when these are used in dietary supplements, they can cause several health risks including liver damage, heart problems, cardiovascular problems and kidney defects.

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Consumer Report brought out the September 2010 report which showed how the US Food and Drug Administration had little power under the so-called “industry-friendly” 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), The report says only one-third of the 54,000 + dietary supplements are actually safe, effective and health-boosting. Here are 12 harmful dietary supplements that consumers have to be wary of, according to the report:

1. Country mallow (heartleaf, Sida cordifolia, silky white mallow, malva blanca), used for allergies, asthma, weight loss, nasal congestion, bronchitis, is described as “likely unsafe” and has been linked with heart problems, stroke and death.
2. Aconite (other names include aconiti tuber, aconitum, radix aconiti), used for joint pain, inflammation, gout, wounds, is described as “unsafe” and has been linked to low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, problems with heart rhythm, respiratory paralysis and death.
3. Chaparral (creosote bush, Larrea divaricata, larreastat), used for infections, detoxification, colds, weight loss, inflammation, cancer, is described as “likely unsafe”, and has been linked to liver damage and kidney problems.
4. Bitter orange (aurantii fructus, Citrus aurantium, zhi shi), taken for weight loss, allergies, nasal congestion, is described as “possibly unsafe” and has been linked with heart problems, stroke and death. Caffeine taken at same time can heighten risks.
5. Coltsfoot (coughwort, farfarae folium leaf, foalswort), used to treat sore throat, cough, laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma, is described as “likely unsafe” and has been linked with liver damage and cancer.
6. Collodial silver (ionic silver, native silver, silver in suspending agent), used for rosacea, psoriasis, Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, food poisoning, chronic fatigue syndrome, fungal and other infections, is described as “likely unsafe” and has been linked with discoloration of the skin (bluish skin), mucous membrane, kidney damage, and nerological problems.

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7. Greater celandine (celandine, chelidonii herba, Chelidonium majus) used for cancer, liver disorders, detoxification, irritable bowel, and stomach upsets, is described as “possibly unsafe” and has been linked to liver damage.

8. Germanium (Ge, Ge-132, germanium-132), taken for pain, infections, heart disease, glaucoma, liver problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, described as “likely unsafe” and has been linked with kidney damage and death.

9. Comfrey (blackwort, knitbone, common comfrey, slippery root), taken for heavy menstrual periods, coughs, chest pain and cancer, is described as “likely unsafe” and has been linked with liver damage and cancer.

10. • Kava (awa, Piper methysticum, kava-kava) taken for anxiety (“possibly effective”), is described as “possibly unsafe” and has been linked with liver damage.

11. • Greater celandine (celandine, chelidonii herba, Chelidonium majus) used for cancer, liver disorders, detoxification, irritable bowel, and stomach upsets, is described as “possibly unsafe” and has been linked to liver damage.

12. • Lobelia (asthma weed, Lobelia inflata, pukeweed, vomit wort), taken for bronchitis, asthma, coughing, quitting smoking (“possibly ineffective”), is described as “likely unsafe” and that toxic overdose can cause very low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, coma and possibly death.

13. Yohimbe (yohimbine, Corynanthe yohimbi, Corynanthe johimbi) used as aphrodisiac and also taken for chest pain, diabetic complications, depression, erectile dysfunction (“possibly effective”); is described as “possibly unsafe” when used without doctor supervision because it contains the prescription drug yohimbine. Normal doses can cause high blood pressure and rapid heart beat, and high doses can result in severe low blood pressure, heart problems and death.

14. Kava (awa, Piper methysticum, kava-kava) taken for anxiety (“possibly effective”), is described as “possibly unsafe” and has been linked with liver damage.

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