Beware! These Dangerous (and Common) Supplement Ingredients Are Deadly

We’ll admit it: When it comes to shopping for supplements, we often go for whatever is cheapest and most convenient. That said, knowing where your supplements come from and — more importantly — what’s inside them can help you avoid certain ingredients that may cause cancer, cardiac arrest, organ damage, and other potentially life-threatening occurrences.

In fact, this knowledge is so important that Consumer Reports conducted a study to identify some of the most dangerous ingredients found in supplements. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Aconite

Acontite plant

Acontite can be found in many popular supplements. | Latvian/iStock/Getty Images

According to Consumer Reports, aconite can help reduce joint pain and inflammation. That said, it can also cause nausea, paralysis, breathing and heart problems, and — in more serious cases — death. So, the next time you’re looking for a joint pain and inflammation reliever, be sure to check the label for this dangerous ingredient.

2. Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot behind a white background.

You’d be better off avoiding medications with coltsfoot. | Voltan1/iStock/Getty Images

Known for its ability to reduce coughing and relieve sore throats, as well as laryngitis, bronchitis, and asthma, coltsfoot sounds like the ultimate secret weapon against cold and flu season. However, the cold-relieving ingredient is considered a possible carcinogen and can result in liver damage.

3. Germander

A wooden box with supplements and scooper.

Read the labels very carefully. |

Thanks to its ability to improve weight loss function and alleviate ailments, such as fever, arthritis, gout, and stomach problems, germander may be found in many supplements. However, before you pop a germander-infused pill, you may want to take a closer look at some of the side effects — which include: liver damage, hepatitis, and possibly death.

4. Lobelia

Lobelia seen in focus with green twigs.

Avoid this seemingly-harmless flower as much as possible. |

If you take a supplement to help with respiratory problems or aid in smoking cessation, you may find lobelia on its list of ingredients. While there are claims that this dangerous flower can help with these ailments, lobelia can also lead to some serious side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, confusion, seizures, coma, and possibly death.

5. Green tea extract powder

Set of matcha powder bowl, wooden spoon and whisk, green tea leaf, Organic Green Matcha Tea ceremony.

Matcha in other forms, is still great for your diet. |

While green tea may be considered a healthy superfood, its extract powder counterpart is not. Found in many weight loss supplements, green tea extract powder can reduce your body’s iron absorption, exacerbate anemia and glaucoma, elevate your heart rate and blood pressure, cause dizziness and ringing in the ears, liver damage, and more.

If you want to reap the weight loss benefits of green tea, we recommend sipping on a cup of tea.

6. Red yeast rice

Red Yeast Rice in white bowl and white scooper.

The red yeast rice in your supplements could cause health issues. | Hendra Su/iStock/Getty Images

Known for its ability to lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease, red yeast rice is another dangerous ingredient to watch out for. From kidney, muscle, and liver problems to hair loss, this ingredient can do some serious damage to your health. Not to mention: It may increase the effects of your cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, which can lead to an increased risk of dangerous side effects.

7. Methylsynephrine

pills on a table

Don’t be quick to take the latest supplement on the market without doing research.|

Looking for a supplement that increases energy, aids in weight loss, and can help improve your athletic performance? Chances are, many out there may contain methylsynephrine; which, according to Consumer Reports, can put you at risk of rapid heart rate and rhythm abnormalities, and can be especially dangerous when paired with other stimulants.