Loads of people take supplements to help them sleep, prevent a cold, boost energy, and even improve memory. But supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, so the manufacturers of these pills don't have to list any potential side effects. While studies on supplements and their side effects are limited and often inconclusive, we asked Sophia DeMonte, rPH, a COSTCO pharmacist, and APhA spokesperson and Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND author of The Magnesium Miracle to detail some of the unexpected symptoms five common supplements may cause:
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What it's used for: To boost energy.
Possible side effects: Heart palpitations and increased blood pressure.
Ginseng is made from the root of a flowering plant, and, like Ginkgo Biloba, experienced a surge in popularity a few years back as a natural energy booster. It works, more or less, but there are questions about its safety.
"Ginseng affects hormone receptors in the brain by stimulating the secretion of the adrenal hormone, and this results in an energy boost," Demonte says.
This can also result in a racing heart and a spike in blood pressure, so if you're on blood pressure meds or have a family history of hypertension, steer clear.