Getting a little nutritional boost in your daily diet is a smart idea. If you have a busy schedule, workout a lot, or are excessively stressed, you might need more nutrients, vitamins, and supplements in your diet. Or maybe you just need that energy boost to complete your workout. Supplements and powders to the rescue!
Supplements and shake mixes are not subjected to FDA approval. Even if they were, there are enough toxic substances approved by the FDA, so it’s wise to always read labels and do your own research before making any food or supplement a part of your regular diet.
- Craze and Detonate— Be careful with pre-workout supplements. These pre-workout supplements are no longer available but were found to contain an ingredient similar to meth, according to researchers in the U.S. and South Korea. The substance is called N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine (N,a-DEPEA). One of the study’s researchers Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, warned the public about a Craze, which they studied in the laboratory: “It has never been studied in the human body,” he said. “Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown.” Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug.
- Aristolochic acid is known to be a carcinogen to humans. It’s a plant acid that’s often used in traditional medicine to treat eczema and backaches. It’s associated with cancer of the urinary tract and kidney failure. However, it’s less commonly found in supplements these days since in 2001 the FDA issued a warning to the public advising against consuming anything with aristolochic acid. However, products containing this can still be purchased on the Internet and abroad, so read your labels!
- Collidial silver is touted as somewhat of a cure-all by manufacturers who say it can treat infections and viruses, boost your immune system, and even prevent cancer. But many credible health websites, doctors, and even the FDA, say to avoid it. Dr. Andrew Weil says, “The human body has absolutely no need for silver, and when taken, it can accumulate in the body and lead to a disfiguring skin condition called argyria, which causes bluish-gray skin pigmentation that cannot be reversed. Long-term use of oral silver products has also led to neurological problems, kidney damage, stomach distress, headaches, fatigue and skin irritation.” Need more proof taking silver is bad for your health? Just Google “colloidal silver blue skin.”
- Bitter orange is an all-too-common diet drug. It has similar chemical properties to infamous diet drug ephedrine (commonly called fen-phen). Ephedrine was banned by the FDA in 2004 after two people died from taking it. Bitter orange is similar and can cause the same side effects: increased heart rate and blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and possible death.
- This past April, the FDA warned consumers of supplements OxyElite Pro and Jack3d because they contain dimethylamylamine, or DMAA. The FDA said DMAA can “increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, chest tightening, cardiovascular problems and even heart attacks,” according to a report by CNN. And in December 2011, two soldiers died after taking Jack3d, afterward the Defense Department removed all products containing DMAA from military bases. Jack3d has been reformulated without DMAA but be sure to research every ingredient before you buy it.
Other supplement tips:
- Remember, taking things in moderation is key. Even some seemingly innocuous herbal teas even have side effects. Licorice tea, for example, is great for reducing ulcer symptoms but can be dangerous for pregnant women to drink. The trace mineral zinc is essential for maintaining the body’s immune system. Although we can get zinc from food, you can also take a supplement (I take one during cold season), but too much zinc can cause stomach pain and flu-like symptoms.
- Read labels to avoid fillers like wheat, corn, nuts and other potential allergens. Even if you’re not allergic to those ingredients, you may not be getting as much of the ingredient you’re paying for as you would like if your supplements are not pure.
- Consult your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for the supplement in question and make sure it doesn’t interfere with any medications you’re currently taking.