A new Consumer Reports investigation has found that popular dietary supplements on the market can make you sick.
According to the report, an expert group of physicians and dietary supplement researchers identified 15 ingredients that can lead to organ damage, cancer and even cardiac arrest.
Furthermore, these ingredients are widely available at trusted stores like GNC, Costco, CVS, Walmart and Whole Foods.
New warning about the risks of dietary supplements
Some of the supplements claim to help you lose weight, reduce pain or increase energy, but the study found the ingredients don’t provide the benefits to justify the risk.
Here are the 15 ingredients Consumer Reports says you should avoid:
- Caffeine Powder
- Greater Celandine
- Green Tea Extract Powder
- Pennyroyal Oil
- Red Yeast Rice
- Usnic Acid
Consumer Reports says people often experience problems when the ingredients interact with other medications, prescription or over-the-counter.
Industry lacking oversight?
The study found “almost anyone” can blend and package a supplement, and they don’t need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration like prescriptions.
Bottom line: Makers don’t have to prove supplements are safe or effective before selling them.
“The dietary supplement marketplace lacks the oversight it needs to keep consumers safe,” said Ellen Kunes, Consumer Reports Health Content Team Leader. “Supplement manufacturers should register their products to enable them to be identified and tracked for safety recalls and to show they are safe before being sold in retail stores, doctors’ offices and hospitals.”
Consumer Reports says Congress should step in to address these concerns.
The industry responds
Even without FDA approval, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for the supplement industry, says most supplements are well-regulated and pose absolutely no risk.
The group told Consumer Reports the “big brands” are very safe for consumers.
What you can do
Consumer Reports says before you waste your money on a supplement containing any of the ingredients listed above, consider making changes to your diet or exercise routine.
And if you do end up buying one, run it by your doctor.