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For people who want to add or lose weight quickly, dietary supplements seem to be the mantra to do that.

However with all the clever advertising and packaging, there is lack of research to prove that many of these dietary supplements are good for health.

Dietary supplements causing cancer

Dr Tim Byers , associate director for cancer prevention and control at Colorado University, Cancer Centre describes research showing that over-the-counter supplements may actually increase cancer risk if taken in excess of the recommended daily amount.

The research started 20 years ago with the observation that people who ate more fruits and vegetables tend to have less cancer. Researchers including Byers wanted to see if taking extra vitamins and minerals would reduce cancer risk even further.

One trial exploring the effects of beta carotene supplements showed that taking more than the recommended dosage increased the risk for developing both lung cancer and heart disease by 20 percent. Folic acid, which was thought to help reduce the number of polyps in a colon, actually increased the number in another trial.

“This is not to say that people need to be afraid of taking vitamins and minerals,” says Byers. “If taken at the correct dosage, multivitamins can be good for you. But there is no substitute for good, nutritional food.”

Poisonous effects of dietary supplements on health

Supplements such as vitamins, herbs, protein powders, and botanicals accounted for more than 100,000 calls to US poison control centres in 2013. Of these calls, more than 8,000 people were reportedly treated in health care facilities.

If used properly, certain dietary supplements may help reduce the risk of some diseases, reduce discomfort caused by certain drugs or conditions, or improve the quality of life. And most people can use most dietary supplements safely within certain dosage guidelines. But taking dietary supplements can be risky, especially for people who are getting cancer treatment.

Weight loss pills are dangerous for health

Some Popular ingredients in weight loss products have been banned by the FDA because of harmful side effects like kidney problems, liver damage, rectal bleeding.

The Chinese herbal stimulant Ephedra was banned in 2004 because of evidence that its use could increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Hydroxycut products were banned and recalled in 2009 because of reports of serious adverse reactions, including hepatitis and jaundice. Someone who took these fat-burning supplements died; another required a liver transplant.

Fenfluramine, one of the two active ingredients in the off-label diet drug Fen-Phen, was recalled in the late 1990s after the drug was linked to cases of heart damage and lung disease.

Sibutramine, a prescription drug sold as Meridia, was withdrawn from the market in 2010 after a clinical study indicated that the drug could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Vitamin C supplements causing Enamel erosion

Eating chewable forms of vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid, over time, lead to the erosion of tooth enamel, a hardy layer protecting the integrity of your teeth (Hausman, 1989).

Foodnetindia advices that taking food supplements under your doctor’s guidance can be beneficial to health but can prove detrimental if not taken under proper supervision.


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