Items to get out of your medicine cabinet immediately — Eat This Not That

How much do you really know about that “natural” remedy in your medicine cabinet? “Supplements may interact with other medications you take or pose risks if you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, or are going to have surgery,” says Jeffrey Millstein, MD. “Some supplements have also not been tested in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children, and you may need to take extra precautions.” Here are five supplements you should toss immediately. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.


Vitamin D supplements are commonly used to support bone health, but too much can be dangerous. “Some studies have shown that vitamin D reduces the risk of bone fracture – but only when combined with calcium,” says Robert D. Ashley, MD. “Calcium alone has been repeatedly shown to decrease fracture risk. Vitamin D alone has not been shown to decrease fracture risk. Some practitioners recommend mega-doses of vitamin D to their patients, causing very high blood levels of vitamin D. But high levels of vitamin D in the blood could actually increase the rate of bone breakdown.”

young woman taking the pill
Shutterstock / New Africa

Pre-workout supplements are performance-enhancing products that can be dangerous, doctors warn. “Some of these products contain as much caffeine as three cups of coffee,” says Dr. Christopher Balgobin of Fairview Clinics. “I’ve heard of products that contain enough caffeine for 20 cups of coffee.” Balgobin is also concerned about a controversial ingredient called 1-3 dimethylamylamine. “1-3 dimethylamylamine is essentially like Adderall or Ritalin in a legalized form. The supplement is still available. It has been banned by the government from use in the military, and some professional groups are testing it as a that legal substance.. What it does: It helps you focus and energize you… I like to be blunt: It’s like crack. It really gets you going.


“Many rigorous scientific studies have shown that these types of supplements pose serious health risks to consumers,” says Jason Nagata, MD, M.Sc. “A recent study using data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System found that young people using weight loss supplements were three times more likely than those using regular vitamins to experience serious medical harm, including hospitalization, disability, and even death. Studies have linked weight and supplements to organ loss, heart attacks, strokes, and death. The CDC believes that the use of supplements results in 23,000 emergency room visits each year, a quarter of them due to the weight loss category alone.

Sad man sitting on a bed, girlfriend in the background.

Over-the-counter sexual health supplements claiming to treat erectile dysfunction might contain dangerous (and sometimes illegal) ingredients. “Most supplements for sexual function have not been scientifically studied”, says Luigi Simone, MD. “They may have a placebo effect, which isn’t insignificant, but as far as claims of increased libido or sexual stamina go, those have certainly not been proven.”

kava kava supplement capsules on brown wooden plate
Shutterstock / Iryna Imago

Kava root is an herbal plant commonly used to treat anxiety and banned in many European countries due to liver problems. “You might think kava is safe if you don’t have liver disease or don’t take medications metabolized by the liver, but that might not be the case,” a- he added. says Dr. Ashley. “A study of 31 people in Hawaii who regularly drank kava showed significantly higher elevations in two liver enzymes compared to people who did not drink kava. There is evidence that kava prepared with water is less harmful to the liver than suspensions prepared in acetone or ethanol.”

Mast Ferozan

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer passionate about making science and research-based information accessible to the general public. Read more


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