What’s in Your Supplements? Dangerous Ingredients to Look Out For

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Although we probably all pop a vitamin or two, the reality of these natural supplements isn’t always what we believe to be true. The vitamin industry, which includes herbs, vitamins and minerals is a $40 billion industry. And a recent report on Consumer Reports exposed the fact that the ingredients in these supplements aren’t always regulated for safe consumption. The FDA doesn’t have to approve these capsules before they hit the shelves, and what’s even more troublesome is that some of them don’t even work. A study from 2015 found that many of the supplements have adverse effects and some 23,000 people in the U.S. visited the emergency room because of their supplements, with 2,154 visits resulting in hospitalization. What we take to get better could actually be making us ill.

In 2019, Harvard wrote that many dietary supplements have hidden pharmaceutical ingredients. A JAMA study in 2018 found that the most common supplements meant to work towards sexual enhancement, weight loss or muscle building contain one pharmaceutical ingredient, and 20% have more than one. That means your “natural” pill isn’t so natural after all.

Furthermore, many capsules have a laundry list of ingredients that should be avoided, yet make it on to the market and are sold all around the U.S. These 15 toxic ingredients can cause organ damage, cancer, cardiac arrest and various other concerns.

It’s imperative to know that these aren’t black-market products. These items are found in your everyday stores like CVS, Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods.

Watch out for these 15 ingredients:

  1. Aconite is an ingredient that is said to reduce inflammation, joint pain and gout. In fact, it can cause nausea, vomiting, weakness, paralysis, trouble breathing, heart problems and even death according to Consumer Reports.

Ditching big pharma is one feat, but looking into the vitamin and supplement industry is the next battle to tackle. Holistic medicine’s reputation is in jeopardy due to these misleading supplement ingredients which can contribute to disastrous outcomes.

How can you stay on top of your health? Knowing the side effects of ingredients can decrease your chances of organ damage, cancer and cardiac arrest. Many of these types of supplements can also interact negatively with prescription medicine and over-the-counter drugs.

In a perfect world, the FDA would screen these ingredients and prevent them from entering our bodies. However, you’re going to have to put in the extra work here. Read the labels of your supplements, eat organic foods that fulfill these supplements, write to the FDA to ensure proper future precautions and research these ingredients.

By S. Nicole Lane

S. Nicole Lane is a freelance journalist based in the southside of Chicago where she covers women’s health, the LGBTQ voice, arts, and entertainment. Her byline can be found in Playboy, Rewire News, i-D, Broadly and various other corners of the internet. She is also a visual artist who works with small-scale sculptures.

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