Sunday, July 8, 2012


What You Don’t Know About 

There are two comments bound to make any credible herbalist cringe. One is "It can't hurt me, it's all natural," and the other is "herbs don't have any side effects or interactions." Both are wrong. They can hurt you and they do have side effects and interactions.
Dangerous Herbs: Two good examples in this category are Ephedra and Blue Cohosh. Ephedra has often been used in weight loss products. It was once banned but seems to now be in some sort of grey area. The problem is that it could kill you. The substance in it is chemically similar to epinephrine, and it could cause a heart attack, amongst other things.

Blue cohosh is sometimes recommended to speed childbirth. The good news is that it can do just that. The bad news is that both mother and child could die before the baby is even born. Infants have been born having heart attacks because their mother took blue cohosh.

Cautionary Herbs: Some herbs may be effective, but the number of side effects, interactions or preparation methods makes herbalists nervous unless properly prepared. Cherry bark is great for stopping a cough, but it isn't something for those who don't know how to prepare it to work with. The principle that helps stop the cough is cyanide, and too much of that will kill you.

Licorice is another good example. The problem here are the side effects and interactions. The root is high in sugar, so it could cause problems in diabetics. It raises blood pressure, so it could cause problems for those with high blood pressure or heart disease. In fact, it can cause heart rhythm problems in healthy people.

GRAS: This acronym stands for "generally recognized as safe." While these herbs do have side effects and interactions, most people can take them safely. Chamomile, garlic, lemon balm and so forth are all on this list.

There are three ways herbs can have a major effect on your body. Knowing the herb and what these terms mean may help you make the right decision.

Interaction: This problem happens when two things are combined that react to each other. If you've ever done the "volcano" experiment, you've seen one outside your body. If you mix vinegar and baking soda, it will foam up. Some herbs do that inside the body, both with other herbs and with medications. While this is all right on occasion, most of the time interactions are not considered good things.

Side Effects: The main action of chamomile is to help calm a person down. One of the side effects is it makes that person sleepy. Another is that it could cause uterine contractions. These side effects can be a problem if you're driving somewhere or you're pregnant. That's what a side effect is; something other than the main reason you're taking the supplement.

Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and immune function diseases can all react negatively to certain herbs. I've already mentioned licorice, which covers the first two. When it comes to the immune system, another popular herb is a problem. It is not advised to take Echinacea if you have any problem that affects that system.

Choosing the right supplement is not like picking out a new pair of shoes. Talk to your doctor, your pharmacist and if possible a qualified herbal practitioner. We may be able to help you find a supplement that is right for you and doesn't do you more harm than good.

Most popular sports supplement banned in Britain over fears it may have lethal side-effects

  • Jack3d is mainly bought over the internet although it has been available in some sports stores
  • It contains a stimulant called DMAA that could have lethal side-effects
By Daily Mail Reporter
A sports supplement popular with fitness fanatics has been banned in Britain because of fears it may have lethal side-effects.
The drink Jack3D contains a stimulant known as DMAA (dimethylamylamine) that has been linked to high blood pressure, headaches, vomiting, stroke and even a death.
The UK’s medicines watchdog MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has ruled it is unlicensed and all other DMAA containing products need to be removed from the market to protect public safety.
The decision follows similar warnings around the world, including in the US and Australia where a man died after buying DMAA online. 
Jack3d is said to boost energy, concentration and metabolism. But DMAA, most commonly used as a workout aid or dietary supplement, can have a physiological effect on the body by narrowing the arteries and raising the heart rate, said the MHRA.
This has been linked to suspected adverse drug reactions worldwide, ranging from shortness of breath to heart attacks.
An MHRA spokesperson said: 'Jack3d is mainly bought over the internet although it is also available in sports stores specialising in work out products.
'If we find a shop selling it we will send them a written reminder asking them to remove it from their shelves. If they ignore this then our enforcement officers will move in and begin legal action.
'It is the most popular sports supplement in the UK because it is a stimulant that allows you to work out for longer.
'But it is for people who are really into their fitness. Your average person who goes to the gym once or twice a week is unlikely to have ever used it.'
The MHRA has already issued eight urgent notices instructing retailers to remove the product and any other DMAA containing products from sale.
The MHRA has recently taken action against a number of products presented as sports supplements that fall within the definition of a medicinal product because of the potent herbal ingredients they contained.
The chemical ingredient DMAA is also on the prohibited list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency and has been responsible for 137 doping violations worldwide. 
Jack3d is the most popular sports supplement in the UK because it is a stimulant that allows you to work out for longer

Jack3d is the most popular sports supplement in the UK because it is a stimulant that allows you to work out for longer
David Carter, manager of the MHRA’s Medicines Borderline Section, said: 'People need to be aware when choosing their sports supplements. These products may claim to increase performance but contain powerful ingredients which can have serious side effects.
'We recommend people only use approved products and speak to a qualified medical practitioner if they have any concerns about any supplements they may be taking.'
Relevant companies are advised to remove Jack3D from sale and to take similar action for other products containing DMAA, which is also known by many names including Methylhexanamine, Geranamine, Geranium oil and ‘Cranesbill’.
Graham Arthur, director of Legal at UK anti-doping, added: 'This is a significant step forward for all competitive athletes as methylhexaneamine (DMAA) is a banned substance ‘in-competition’ that frequently appears in over the counter and internet bought products but not clearly on the label.
'Athletes who use sports supplements need to choose reputable manufacturers who can justify their claims with scientific evidence, and have their products screened to minimise the risk of testing positive for a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.
'UK Anti-Doping continues to work closely with the MHRA to protect the health of athletes and to prevent doping in sport.'
Sport Supplement Side Effects
Apr 28, 2011 | By Jennifer Nall, M.S., R.D., L.D.

Sport Supplement Side Effects 
Sport Supplement Side Effects Photo Credit Background of supplements image by cxvalentina from

The use of supplements is common practice among athletes. Many believe taking supplements will improve performance. However, not all supplements are safe, and not all supplements have been proven effective. Supplements used by athletes include ephedra, caffeine, carnitine, and creatinine. It is important to consider the positive and negative impact of using supplements before you add them to your diet.

Ephedra is the name for any dietary supplement containing ephedra alkaloids. Althletes use ephedra for weight loss and increased energy, with the goal of enhancing their performance. There is much debate over the safety of this supplement, specifically what dosage is safe. The FDA banned ephedra fora number of years on the basis that the health and safety risks were too great.Currently there is a ban on the sale of high-dose ephedrine, but doses of 10 mg or less are legal. Reported side effects include headache, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and insomnia. Strokes, heart attacks and death have also been reported.

Caffeine, which is most commonly found in sodas, coffee, and energy drinks, is used to provide energy and burn fat. The primary effects of caffeine occur in the central nervous system and include increased awareness and the perception of less effort used. Side effects include increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and insomnia. In addition, sudden withdraw of caffeine by a person who regularly includes it in his diet can result in headaches.

Carnitine is needed in the body for the transport of fatty acids to mitochondria to be used for energy. It is thought that carnitine use decreases muscle pain, increases endurance, promotes weight loss, and improves cardiac function. Despite these claims, more studies are needed to confirm the benefits and potential side-effects of carnitine supplementation.

Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplements. It is used in the form of phosphocreatine by the body as a source for muscle energy. Reported benefits include increased strength, endurance, and muscle gain. While supplementation may help improve strength over time, creatine ingestion often results in weight gain, which can negatively impact performance for runners and swimmers.

    "Sports Nutrition: A practice Manual for Professionals 4th edition; Marie Dunford, PhD, RD; 2006
    Food and Drug Administration: Final Rule Declaring Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedrine Alkaloids; 2000,

Sport Supplement Side Effects
By Jonathan Lister, eHow Contributor
Sport Supplement Side Effects thumbnail  
Many ingredients of sports supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA

Sports supplements can help athletes build muscle and increase endurance as part of a workout regimen. These supplements can have varying side effects that can affect multiple systems of the body depending on the dosage and how often supplements are consumed. Young athletes are especially encouraged to consult with a doctor before beginning a sports supplement regimen.

Digestive Tract Effects

    Athletes using sports supplements take in more calories than with a traditional "three meals a day" diet. This increased caloric intake can have an adverse effect on your body's digestive tract. Diarrhea, stomach cramps and constipation can all be side effects of your body adjusting to the increased caloric intake. Most sports supplements are infused with soy protein, which can also cause digestive problems.

Hormone Imbalances

    According to the website Kid's Health, androstenedione, a form of "natural steroid" that the body breaks down into testosterone, can cause several adverse side effects in a developing teen or adult. Large doses can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to mood swings and depression and may stunt the growth of young athletes. Other symptoms can mimic anabolic steroid use such as hair loss, increased aggression and increased risk for certain forms of cancer and heart disease.

Cellular Damage

    Sports supplements taken by athletes to burn excess fat can cause cellular damage. According to the website Peak Performance Online, conjugated linoleic acid, a popular sports supplement, can cause oxidative stress, which damages the lining of cells during exercise. Other supplements such as creatine can cause increased stress on the liver and kidneys which leads to symptoms like increased urination, liver pain and damage to the lower abdominal tract, triggering excess gas and bloating



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