Natural health supplements and other products claiming to increase energy levels are popular with ingredients ranging from the standard caffeine to kola nut to the coenzyme Q10.
Andrew Shao, PhD, from the Council for Responsible Nutrition tells WebMD, “Energy (supplements have) become one of the fastest-growing categories of supplement. And that’s because everybody — whether you’re a man or a woman, young or old — wants more energy.”
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But that search for energy is not without concerns from a medical standpoint. Here are six natural health supplements on the market that doctors advise using with caution:
1. Cola nut: This seed of the cola nut plant contains caffeine. If it’s ingested in foods or taken in medicinal amounts for a short period of time, it’s ranked as possibly safe. However, WebMD reports that if taken in larger amounts or over a long period of time, the cola nut raises concerns about mouth cancer and gastrointestinal cancer. In the extreme, very high doses of caffeine can cause death and a fatal dose is estimated to be about 10 to 14 grams.
2. Yerba mate: Usually taken as a tea, this plant also contains caffeine. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Yerba mate isn’t likely to pose a risk for healthy adults who occasionally drink it. However, some studies indicate that people who drink large amounts of yerba mate over prolonged periods may be at increased risk of some types of cancer, such as cancer of the mouth, esophagus and lungs. Smoking in combination with yerba mate seems to greatly increase the cancer risk.”
3. Guarana: This natural supplement comes from the dried paste of a shrub found in Brazil and other Amazon areas. It contains caffeine, so it raises some of the issues cited above similar to the cola nut. Guarana may also interact with some medications, consult your physician prior to taking it. It also contains a high level of tannin, which has been associated with cancer of the oropharynx.
Source: news max