If you are at all health-conscious, you probably take vitamins or supplements to make sure your body has what it needs to for good health. Largely this is because food raised conventionally in nutrient-poor soil often does not provide all the vitamins and minerals needed for the body to function. However, be warned: sometimes vitamins and supplements can come with their set of problems, particularly if manufacturers are slyly slipping in dangerous ingredients into products that should be keeping the body healthy. Below are five dangerous ingredients to look for – and avoid – when buying vitamins or supplements.
Sadly, manufacturers have been known to use artificial dyes even in vitamins and other dietary supplements. Look for ingredients like FD&C Blue No. 1 or 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red No. 3 or 40, or FD&C Yellow No. 5 or 6. If any of these artificial dyes are listed, do not buy the supplement. Artificial dyes have been linked to numerous health problems, including hyperactivity and attention deficit problems in children and is not something that either children or adults need in their diet.
Pretty much everyone has heard the warnings about the adverse health effects of hydrogenated oils, especially in regards to the development of heart disease. But they can still find their way into your vitamins and supplements! To make matters worse, it is usually hydrogenated soybean oil that is used; unless this is certified organic, you can be almost sure that it has been genetically modified. It is often used as a filler in these pills, so read the label carefully and do not buy any supplement with this ingredient.
Heavy Metals and PCB’s
This applies to fish oils, which are a popular supplement nowadays due to their essential fatty acids. However, fish can accumulate mercury, lead, PCB’s and other pollutants if they are harvested from tainted waters. Be very careful of what brand of fish oil you are buying and look for a label that states, “3rd Party Tested to ensure PCBs, heavy metals and other toxins are below acceptable limits set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition” or words to that effect. That way you know you are getting the nutrition you need without the toxins.
Talc or Magnesium Silicate
Talc or magnesium silicate can frequently be found in supplements as either cheap fillers or anti-caking agents. Talc is not even considered food grade by the FDA and magnesium silicate is similar, chemically speaking, to asbestos; it can even become contaminated with this known carcinogen during the mining process and can cause digestive problems when ingested. Again, read the label carefully and avoid products with these ingredients.
This compound is used as a colorant and has been linked to a variety of health problems. This problems include respiratory inflammation or damage if inhaled as well as damage to the DNA and immune system function, kidney damage and inflammation of the small intestines. People with Chrohn’s disease, who taken supplements to help avoid nutritional deficiencies, should thus be extra careful of not buying supplements with this ingredient.
So, read the labels carefully, to make sure that the supplements you are buying to stay healthy are not actually going to make you sick!
More by Christine . S