If you’re taking herbal supplements, make sure you’re doing your research. Chances are that you might be taking in a lot more than just natural ingredients. New research finds that some herbal supplements include illegal ingredients that are not even listed on the label.
Emeritus Professor Duncan Burns, a forensically experienced analytical chemist from the Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute for Global Food Security, has been working with a team of specialists on a peer-reviewed paper to examine the detection of illegal ingredients in the supplements.
The experts included Dr. Michael Walker from the Government Chemist Programme at LGC and Professor Declan Naughton from Kingston University.
The research found that over-the-counter supplements – commonly advertised to treat obesity and erectile dysfunction problems – are labeled as fully herbal but often include potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients, which are not listed on the label.
Professor Burns from Queen’s University, who is working to advance knowledge in this area, explained: “Our review looked at research from right across the globe and questioned the purity of herbal food supplements. We have found that these supplements are often not what customers think they are – they are being deceived into thinking they are getting health benefits from a natural product when actually they are taking a hidden drug.
“These products are unlicensed medicines and many people are consuming large quantities without knowing the interactions with other supplements or medicines they may be taking. This is very dangerous and there can be severe side effects.”