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Consumer Reports on supplement risks: the dirty dozen

Posted by eric_oh 6a (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 5, 10 at 12:57

Consumer Reports in its latest issue is taking on risky supplements with poor evidence of effectiveness (most of them herbs). The ones CR advises people to avoid due to links to serious side effects are:

Aconite
Bitter orange
Chaparral
Colloidal silver
Coltsfoot
Comfrey
Country mallow
Germanium
Greater celandine
Kava
Lobelia
Yohimbe

A USA Today editorial points out continued problems with our watered-down regulatory system that permits "dietary supplements" to be marketed without evidence of safety and efficacy, and the extreme difficulty in getting dangerous ones (either due to intrinsic hazards or adulteration with unlabeled toxic substances) taken off the market.

Unfortunately, powerful industry influences and the protection of politicians like Utah's Orrin Hatch keep regulation weak - making it important that we all stay well-informed about the risks and benefits (if any) of these products.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Consumer Reports on supplement risks: the dirty dozen

I have used at least half of those safely and with success. I feel that the F.D.A. and big pharmacutical companies work hard everyday to give good helpful herbs a bad name because they are NOT MAKING MONEY from them. I wish they would let the people of this democracy make their own health decisions and stay out of their medicine cabinets!


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RE: Consumer Reports on supplement risks: the dirty dozen

The article warning the public against using these supplements was published in Consumer Reports, a privately-run magazine not affiliated with the FDA or drug companies, and which does not accept advertisements.


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RE: Consumer Reports on supplement risks: the dirty dozen

Thanks for the list. I think the government should AT LEAST regulate them to the point of making sure that the herbs aren't adulterated with ineffective or even toxic substances. That's just TOTALLY NOT COOL. If you are buying an herb, it should be 100% THAT HERB that's on the label.


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RE: Consumer Reports on supplement risks: the dirty dozen

I agree neo.


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RE: Consumer Reports on supplement risks: the dirty dozen

The contamination/adulteration problem seems to be especially bad with imported ingredients, i.e. from China (and supplement sellers often don't say where their ingredients come from or have any control over their formulation).

Here's a summary of some recent cases (and recalls) where supplements were found to be adulterated with prescription drugs. What typically happens is that people get sick, and only then are the products tested and the adulteration discovered.


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