Dietary supplements often promise to contain all-natural ingredients and to deliver too-good-to-be-true effects when it comes to weight loss, athletic performance, sexual enhancement, disease treatment and prevention, and more. But buyer beware, says Paul Doering, a professor of Pharmacy at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. Nutritional supplements may not be all they’re cracked up to be and, in some cases, they may be dangerous.
Doering offers six tips to consider before buying these over-the-counter and mail-order remedies.
1. Be suspicious when you see a “kitchen sink” worth of ingredients. Supplement companies will often add chemicals with lengthy names to the labels of their products. In many cases, there is no research to back up the safety or effectiveness of these ingredients.
2. Proprietary formulations or blends are a red flag. The reason? It’s often code for “trade secrets,” Doering says. Nothing on the label of a dietary supplement should be a secret, especially when health is concerned.
3. Research the research. Some dietary supplement makers do not or cannot name the study they cite as an example of their product’s effectiveness. Often, these studies don’t exist or are misrepresented by the supplement seller.
4. Beware of stimulants. Many supplements contain caffeine and other stimulants. In some cases, these ingredients are not declared on the products’ labels and often they are prescription or illegal drugs, and downright dangerous.
5. Stimulant names can be disguised. For example, “bitter orange” may sound like a natural, healthy ingredient but it’s the same as synephrine, chemically similar to amphetamine, which can pose heart risks to some consumers.
6. Athletes, take notice. Supplements for athletic performance and bodybuilding often contain substances banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the World Anti-Doping Agency, which can render athletes ineligible for play even if they were not aware the supplement they were taking contained them.
Source: Wink News