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Consumer Reports Says Some Dietary Supplements Could Be Dangerous


Consumer Reports has singled out 12 common ingredients in dietary supplements that could be more dangerous than previously thought.

According to researcher Nancy Metcalf, these "dirty dozen" ingredients have been linked to range of side effects including cancer, coma and heart problems. Some have even been connected with deaths.

"The dozen we call out in this report are by no means the only dangerous ingredients," Metcalf, a senior program editor at Consumer Reports, told WebMD. "They are the ones we chose to highlight."

For the study Metcalf and other researchers reviewed data from a list of 1,100 supplement ingredients from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Ultimately, they narrowed the list down to 12 that had been recently connected with dangerous side effects.

Metcalf adds that about "half the adult population takes some supplement," and notes that "you need to be extremely careful about buying nutritional supplements, because there are several different ways they can be harmful."

Consumer Reports "dirty dozen" incredients (as reported by WebMD) appear below.

Aconite - used for joint pain, wounds, gout and inflammation; linked with nausea, vomiting, heart rhythm disorders, respiratory system paralysis and death.

Bitter orange - used for weight loss, allergies and nasal congestion; linked with fainting, heart rhythm disorder, heart attack, stroke and death.

Chaparral - used for weight loss, colds, infections, inflammation, cancer and detoxification; linked to kidney and liver problems.

Colloidal silver - used for fungal and other infections, Lyme disease, rosacea, psoriasis, food poisoning, chronic fatigue syndrome and HIV/AIDS; linked to bluish skin color, mucous membrane discoloration, neurological problems and kidney damage.

Coltsfoot - used for cough, sore throat, laryngitis, bronchitis and asthma; linked to cancer and liver damage.

Comfrey - used for cough, heavy menstrual periods, chest pain and cancer; linked to liver damage and cancer.

Country mallow - used for allergies, asthma, weight loss, bronchitis and nasal congestion; linked to heart attack and arrhythmia, stroke and death.

Germanium, - used for pain, infections, glaucoma, liver problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and cancer; linked to kidney damage and death.

Greater celandine - used for upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disorders, detoxification and cancer; linked to liver damage.

Kava - used for anxiety (and is possibly effective, according to Consumer Reports); linked to liver damage.

Lobelia - used for coughs, bronchitis, asthma and smoking cessation; linked to toxicity, with overdose linked with fast heartbeat, very low blood pressure, coma and possible death.

Yohimbe - used as an aphrodisiac, for chest pain or diabetic complications, depression and erectile dysfunction (and possibly effective, according to Consumer Reports); linked to high blood pressure and rapid heart rate at usual doses and at high doses linked to severe low blood pressure, heart problems and death.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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