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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Thursday June 13, 2024
Thursday June 13, 2024

5 supplements that may be secretly harming your health

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Popular supplements like weight loss pills and vitamin E can pose serious health risks, from liver damage to increased cancer risk

Supplements are often marketed as quick fixes for health and fitness goals, but not all are beneficial. Some supplements may cause more harm than good, despite their popularity. Here are five common supplements that could negatively impact your health.

Weight loss supplements promise rapid results but often come with severe side effects. Many contain herbs and stimulants that can lead to dangerous health issues. For instance, products with ephedra, once popular, were banned by the FDA due to links with heart attacks and strokes. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that weight loss supplements increased the risk of severe liver damage. Ingredients like green tea extract can be toxic to the liver in large amounts. Some pills also have unlisted ingredients, causing unexpected reactions.

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Caffeine supplements, used to boost energy and athletic performance, can lead to excessive caffeine intake. While coffee is generally safe, caffeine supplements can cause jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations, and even cardiac arrest. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association indicated that high caffeine intake could lead to atrial fibrillation, increasing the risk of stroke and heart failure. Over-reliance on these supplements can also cause dependency and withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and fatigue.

Calcium supplements are essential for strong bones, but excessive intake can be harmful. Too much calcium has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that calcium supplements could lead to plaque buildup in arteries, resulting in heart attacks. High doses, above 800-1,200 mg daily, can also cause kidney stones. The National Institutes of Health recommends getting calcium from dietary sources, as the body absorbs it better, posing fewer health risks.

Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties, protecting cells from damage. However, high doses of Vitamin E supplements can be detrimental. Excessive intake, up to 1,000 mg/day, is linked to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that high-dose Vitamin E supplementation was associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer in men. While moderate intake from food sources is beneficial, high-dose supplements are risky.

Beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, is an antioxidant found in colourful fruits and vegetables. While beneficial in food, beta-carotene supplements can be harmful, especially for smokers. Studies show that high doses of beta-carotene supplements increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and those exposed to asbestos. A comprehensive study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that beta-carotene supplementation was associated with increased lung cancer and mortality risk in smokers, contrasting its benefits when consumed through diet.

Consulting a doctor before taking any supplement is crucial. Healthcare providers can assess your health status, including existing conditions and medications, to determine if a supplement is safe. Supplements can interact with medications or exacerbate health issues, so professional guidance helps mitigate risks. Doctors provide personalized recommendations, ensuring supplements align with your overall health plan and guiding you towards effective, evidence-based options.

While vitamins from vegetables are generally beneficial, overconsumption through supplements can pose risks. Excessive intake of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K can lead to toxicity. Specific health conditions and medications may also interact adversely with high doses of certain vitamins. Thus, maintaining a balanced diet and consulting healthcare providers before starting supplements is essential.

In conclusion, while supplements can fill nutritional gaps, some may pose significant health risks. Weight loss pills, caffeine, calcium, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene supplements can cause severe side effects if not used properly. Always consult healthcare professionals before starting any supplement regimen to ensure it is safe and beneficial for your health.

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