Who knew that supplements were not as healthy as we thought?
There are many reasons why people have turned to supplements to improve their health. Of course, they don’t do all the job alone, but along with healthy eating habits and the constant presence of sport, it can have a good outcome.
The more you exercise the more your body will feel the need to replace the nutrients that it consumed during training. They also play the role of a safeguard when we suffer from stress and we have some pretty bad eating habits. But some of these supplements are not so good for our health as we might tend to believe.
Some vitamins and supplements can actually be very harmful. Do you want to make sure you’re not risking anything by taking some “healthy” supplements that could only affect you? We made you a list of 11 supplements you better avoid, than risk anything.
The old phrase we used to hear as kids “Drink all your milk!” came from a nurturing voice that just wanted to assure us a healthy development. Calcium is crucial for strong bones and a healthy heart. The thing is, in order for calcium to be properly absorbed, it needs the right amount of Vitamin D to keep it company.
If not, there is a risk for the extra calcium to settle in our arteries instead of the bones. Studies suggest that calcium supplements may increase the chance of plaque buildup in the aorta and other arteries. So, instead of that, we recommend you to take your calcium from dairy products and leafy greens.
Kava is a supplement preferred by many to treat anxiety and insomnia. Although it may have the slightest effect on our mental state and reduce anxiety, it has also been linked to cause liver damage or even failure.
If not taken in the correct dosage, it may provoke digestive discomfort, headaches, dizziness and other side effects, studies shown. If used for a single time only, this supplement would most probably do you no harm. But if it’s used for a longer period of time, it might produce a long-term toxicity. If you have kava on your list as a supplement, at least make sure you don’t make a habit out of it.
Soy products won the hearts of many for being good against menopausal symptoms, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels and improving bone health and memory. When it comes to menopausal symptoms, women resort to taking soy isolate supplements.
Although it might be helpful, on the long-term you might encounter some side-effects. As the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states, if you use soy isoflavone for a longer period of time, it might increase the risk of endometrial hyperplasia, which is a thickening of the lining of the uterus that may lead to cancer. Doctors recommend us to eat whole soy foods as much as we wish but to avoid taking the soy isolate supplements.
Red Yeast Rice
Although red yeast rice is used to lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) and prevent heart diseases, the supplement is also believed to host a certain number of side effects. Studies show that the red yeast rice can have the same side effects as statins, including muscle, liver and kidney problems.
So after analyzing in the same time the benefits, as well as the risk of red yeast rice, scientists concluded that the supplement is not recommended for patients with hypercholesterolemia, and is certainly not a safe alternative for patients with hyperlipidemia. In conclusion, if you worry about your cholesterol, the best you can do is live a healthy and active life and check twice before taking any supplements.
Ginkgo biloba is a herbal supplement that originates from traditional Chinese medicine. The tree’s leaves were used to treat brain and circulatory problems, as well as respiratory conditions. Ginkgo’s fruits were used for cough, fever, diarrhea, toothaches and sexually transmitted diseases.
Now, it’s recommended to treat anxiety, dementia, glaucoma and macular degeneration, but is considered to be great for memory function as well. However, taken alongside other types of medication, it can really surprise you with some nasty side effects. Ginkgo can lower blood pressure, so if you’re taking it with other blood pressure medications, it might cause your blood pressure to drop too low. Also, Ginkgo raises and lowers blood sugar levels, so if you have diabetes, this supplement is a big no-no for you.
We all agree that beta carotene is a wonderful and needed supplement because it’s a great antioxidant, it boosts our immune system and it’s good for our vision. Even so, beta carotene can be more than meets the eye (wink-wink).
If you’re actively smoking, it’s highly recommended for you not to take any supplements with beta carotene. As doctors say, the use of these supplements has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer for smokers and those who have been exposed to asbestos. If you’re a suspect of lung cancer or you’re a fan of tobacco products, it’s better if you exclude beta carotene from your daily supplements.
St. John’s worth
St. John’s worth is a herbal supplement used for battling sleep disorders and to ease mild anxiety and depression. However, if you’re already taking another type of medication for depression or anxiety, we recommend you avoid this supplement.
It has been discovered that St. John’s worth is badly interacting with many common drugs or it weakens their effects. Whether we’re talking about antidepressants, birth control pills, cyclosporine, digoxin (a heart drug), HIV drugs or cancer medications, it can be quite dangerous to mix them with this supplement. You may have a dangerous increase in serotonin levels, known as serotonin syndrome. So before deciding to add this supplement to your list, you better check with your doctor.
Fish oil is used to reduce heart disease because it’s considered to be highly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Even so, scientists have started to question its benefits. Not only they discovered that these supplements are not helping reduce heart attacks, strokes, or deaths from heart diseases, but they also come with a wide range of side effects.
Some of the side effects might be belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash and nosebleeds. In order to avoid them, we recommend a variety of foods that can replace the fish oil, such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, nuts and seeds and plant oil (flaxseed oil).
Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption in the body, protects bones and also prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis. People resort to vitamin D supplements because it is very difficult to get the correct amount only from food.
But just as anything else that is bad for us when it’s excessive, taking too many vitamin D supplements can be harmful. For healthy people, vitamin D blood levels higher than 100 nanograms per milliliter can activate extra calcium absorption and lead to muscle pain, abdominal pain, kidney stone and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
To achieve a healthy amount of vitamin D, it is recommended to alternate supplements with food that is rich in this vitamin.
We’ve tackled before the risk of over-using supplements, the damage they can cause to our health when combined with other medications. What we didn’t mention is the risk of finding in our supplements some toxic ingredients we avoid. For example, we might avoid eating margarine for its hydrogenated fats, but did you know that you can find those fats in some supplements as well?
For example, soybean oil is partially hydrogenated, and it’s among the list of major fillers in the majority of vitamins today. Unless the soy is organic, you can be sure you’ll find soy genetically modified. So why are we being served supplements that contain dangerous ingredients? Because they’re cheap fillers. You’d better work on having a healthy diet rather than taking horse sized pills that are a threat to your health.
The ascorbic acid, known as Vitamin C, is a water-soluble vitamin that enhances normal growth and development and helps your body absorb iron. Your body doesn’t naturally produce this vitamin, so it’s essential to include it in your diet.
You can find it in an orange or a cup of strawberries, red pepper or broccoli, and you’d have the right amount of vitamin C that your body needs. But some adults might tend to exaggerate with additional supplements of vitamin C and scientists say it can be harmful.
The upper limit of vitamin C can reach 2,000 mg a day, and a megadose of vitamin C supplement can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache and insomnia. So if you want to make sure you’re loaded with vitamin C but won’t affect you in any way, just try eating two oranges instead of one.
Besides supplements, too many antibiotics can cause nasty side effects. Check what are they here.