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5 Supplements to Avoid

We are constantly bombarded with supplements that we should be taking and buying and while some of them are good there are some that you should just try and avoid all together. CNN (with Health.com) gives us a helpful list of supplements that may do more harm than good:


  • Cascara: This is a natural laxative -- not a safe way to shed pounds.
  • Dandelion: It's a natural diuretic, so you lose only water weight.
  • Ephedra: The Food and Drug Administration banned it in 2004; now, court challenges hope to put it back on the shelf [GASP]. Ephedra increases the risk of heart problems and stroke.
  • Garcinia: There are possible links to liver damage.
  • Hoodia: There's been lots of hype about hoodia gordonni, a cactuslike South African plant with appetite-suppressing chemicals.

    But that hoodia isn't available right now, says University of California, Los Angeles, expert and Health Advisory Board member David Heber, M.D., Ph.D. He says the hoodia products in stores or online probably contain other hoodia types that don't work -- or none at all. The British company Phytopharm, which has a global patent on hoodia for weight loss, says real products are years away. Bottom line: The available hoodia products may be safe, but they're useless.

  • Usnic acid: Found in some bodybuilders' formulas, it's been linked to severe liver damage.

Fit's Tip: Check the labels and avoid proprietary blends, which is a way that makers avoid revealing their contents.

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