It seems like every day there’s a new natural supplement making the rounds on the grocery store shelves or social media feeds. While some manufacturers may make false claims, other supplements have real benefits. However, it’s important not to start adding natural supplements to your lifestyle on a whim. You should spend time researching and learning the facts about different supplements before you make a decision. Above all, though, you should consult with your doctor before taking any natural supplement, and be careful of any current or potential allergies.
Read on to learn more about three popular natural supplements.
Bee pollen is full of nutrients, but it can cause severe allergic reactions.
Bee pollen has been hailed as a superfood by many proponents of natural supplements. According to Mercola, it contains nearly all the nutrients humans need to survive, including proteins, vitamins and amino acids. It has been used to improve endurance, reduce cravings, prevent infectious diseases and regulate digestion, among other applications. In addition, it is thought to help prevent and fight cancer. It’s also been hailed as a way to improve skin’s glow and vitality and make it more youthful, noted the source.
Bee pollen, then, seems like a true miracle product. However, there are serious risks of taking the substance. Fox News Health reported that there is a risk of having a serious allergic reaction if you consume natural bee pollen. The news source cited the case of a 30-year-old woman who had a severe allergic reaction that required a trip to the emergency room after only two days of taking bee pollen and several other natural supplements. While this woman was disposed to seasonal allergies, experts say that bee pollen can cause reactions in those who previously did not have any allergies, as well as make them more susceptible to issues in the future.
The article noted that many sites selling bee pollen products advise that users start by taking only one kernel of pollen at a time and letting it dissolve under their tongue, instead of jumping straight into eating a full tablespoon of the stuff.
Who knew old volcanic ash could have such interesting health applications. Bentonite clay has been said to have detoxifying properties, achieved through the negative charge of the clay bonding with the positive charge of toxins, Wellness Mama explained. The substance is full of minerals like calcium and magnesium, and is also heralded for its perceived ability to heal the body, aid digestive processes and support the immune system.
The use of bentonite clay also has a long history, with clay being consumed with meals in native cultures in Central Africa, Australia and the Andes, the site noted. Today, celebrities like Shailene Woodley sing the praises of the stuff, according to the Huffington Post.
Like with bee pollen, though, there are also risks associate with the product.
“There is no verified research that proves that the clay actually removes toxins.”
“Removing metal from the body is not necessarily good – iron, for example, is a metal and essential to health,” said Dr. David L. Katz, a blogger for the Huffington Post and founding director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University, in an interview with the news site. “So, there could conceivably be benefits, but there could certainly be harms – and a favorable benefit/harm ratio has not been established to justify recommending this.”
According to the source, there is no verified research that proves that the clay actually removes toxins, though there is some evidence to suggest that clay may help remove harmful substances in food when used during cooking. Furthermore, there are toxins present in soil that may be harmful when ingested by humans.
The leaves of this yellow plant are used to treat a variety of respiratory problems such as bronchitis, whooping cough and general congestion. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, coltsfoot has been used to treat such issues for centuries, and is sometimes added to tea today. However, although some research shows the plant does help ease respiratory problems, it also contains toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These substances can cause liver damage, and according to CBS News, they have even been linked to cancer. The news source also noted that any supplements containing coltsfoot that are sold in the U.S. are not required by law to list the amount of PAs they contain on the package. If the label doesn’t say that the product is “hepatotoxic PA-free,” then it likely has the harmful compounds in it, according to CBS News.
Before taking any of these or other natural supplements, consult with your doctor.