You know all the benefits a herbal supplement can bring you, and if you simply look left, right or center, you will see a myriad of health supplements, and you might not really know what to make of it.
Other recent research presented at the conference CleanUp 2015 found that herbal and Ayurvedic medicines contain heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. That’s a problem, since long-term exposure to these to these toxins has been shown to cause problems like organ damage and even cancer. Here in Singapore, health supplements are not subjected to pre-market approval by the Health Sciences Authority, and can be imported and sold without a license.
Before you pull out your wallet and buy that bottle claiming to “lower your cholesterol” and “increase your Vitamin D”, take note of these things!
- Vitamin and Mineral overdosing
Large doses of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K can create issues, and even normal doses may interfere with certain prescription medications. Adverse effects can also occur with too much calcium or iron. As we all know, too much of a good thing is bad.
Here is a good example of how one can overdose on calcium without knowing it:
An older woman concerned about osteoporosis might eat Whole Grain Total cereal for breakfast (approximately 1,000 milligrams of calcium per serving), with a half-cup of skim milk (150 milligrams of calcium), and take a calcium supplement (500 milligrams) in addition to a One-A-Day Menopause Formula multivitamin (300 milligrams). The upper limit of calcium for this woman is 2,000 milligrams, so she’d only be 50 milligrams short of the daily maximum with more meals yet to be consumed that day.
- Claims That Might Not Be True
Be extra cautious around herbal supplements that claim to boost energy levels or help you lose weight. These tend to contain ingredients, like caffeine or bitter orange, that have been shown to create heart palpitations and other issues.
- Dubious Ingredients That Should Be Skipped
In addition to number 2, these four have been linked to serious side effects, and aren’t worth the risk. If you see these ingredients in your herbal supplements, pay extra caution.1. Kava. It has been reported to cause liver damage.
2. Bitter orange. It contains the chemical syndephrine, which has been linked to heart attacks and strokes in healthy people when taken alone or combined with caffeine.
3. Contaminated L-tryptophan. It’s associated with neurotoxic reactions.
4. Chromium. When overused, it’s been linked to anemia—even kidney failure.
It’s not that herbal supplements are all that bad, but with everything else, they should be taken in moderation and with caution and only professional research and recommendation from a healthcare professional.