Supplements can be a wonderful addition to any diet, as they can help to provide additional nutrition for weight loss, muscle building, or general health improvements. But if you’re not careful, they can be hazardous to your health as well. Not all health supplements are 100% safe, but some may end up doing more harm than good! Here are a few supplements to watch out for:
If you have a cold or cough, this may be your go-to supplement to boost your immune system. However, there is no real scientific proof that Echinacea actually works. In fact, out of all of the studies done into the supplement, there is hardly any evidence that the supplement is effective. However, the dangers are very real! The plant belongs to the daisy family, which means they are in the same allergy-causing family as ragweed. People with ragweed allergies could be putting themselves at risk by taking Echinacea, as can people with asthma. The chances of a negative reaction to the supplement is much higher if you are allergic or asthmatic!
Goldenseal is a popular supplement among naturalists trying to deal with common colds, stuffy noses, hay fever, or other respiratory problems. However, if you are taking certain medications (particularly for allergies or erectile dysfunction), you will be doing your body a disservice. You see, goldenseal stops your body from producing certain enzymes, which are needed to break down the drugs you are taking. Thanks to goldenseal, the medications will stay potent and active in your bloodstream for longer, which can definitely raise your risk of developing negative side effects. If you’re taking Allegra, Viagra, and anti-allergy medications, it’s best to skip the goldenseal.
St. John’s Wort
This is a supplement that is taken to reduce depression, a problem that has become more and more common in modern days. However, the herb is rich in a compound known as hyperforin. This compound increases the production of enzymes that are responsible for digesting and breaking down medications. If you are taking certain medications–such as blood thinners, anti-allergy medications, or anti-depressants–the enzymes will break down the drugs too quickly, preventing them from being effective. The St. John’s Wort will reduce the efficiency of the medications, and may even cause excessive serotonin to be produced–leading not to an elevated mood, but to a problem called serotonin syndrome.
You know the kind: all packed with caffeine, taurine, and other stimulants to give you energy to get through your workout. While studies have proven that caffeine can help to boost athletic performance and increase endurance, it can also increase the severity of existing heart conditions. If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease, the excessive amounts of caffeine in these supplements can add to the stress of a tough workout and lead to heart strain. Definitely not the right thing for your heart!
If you want to protect your brain against dementia, reduce anxiety, and increase your mental function, gingko biloba can be your best friend. The supplement contains a wide range of compounds that can benefit your brain in many ways. But it will also affect the way your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood sugar levels. If you suffer from or are at risk of diabetes, this supplement is not going to be your friend. It can lead to excessively high or low blood sugar levels, especially at high doses. It’s better to avoid the supplement, or check with your doctor to find out if there is a safe dosage for you to take!