How Safe are Your Supplements?

QuickQuote Term Life Insurance Blog

Would you believe it if we told you there is a supplement that can reverse hair loss and cure impotence, as well as prevent high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, gout, and many other ailments? This supplement will also make you more beautiful, as it regenerates nerve and skin tissues, and obliterates wrinkles. In fact, it’s so powerful and beneficial to humans that we are going to add it to toothpaste, clothing, paints, cosmetics, toys, soda, water, and various foods.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You might be thinking about buying some of this miracle supplement right now, especially if it comes with a guarantee. If you were living in the early 1900’s and heard this type of endorsement, you may have bought yourself some radioactive radium. Shortly after the discovery of radium by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1911, the radioactive element was developed into products and marketed to the masses as a health and beauty miracle product. Later it was discovered that radioactivity could cause cancer.

While radioactivity has undoubtedly changed the world of medicine and diagnostics, it never should have been sold to the public as a miracle cure or a beauty treatment. What other substances have been marketed and sold to the public before long-term studies have been done to assess safety?

According to Consumer Reports, the following are supplements that pose a health risk, yet continue to be sold:

  • Aconite
  • Bitter Orange
  • Chaparral
  • Colloidal Silver
  • Coltsfoot
  • Comfrey
  • Country Mallow
  • Germanium
  • Greater Celandine
  • Kava
  • Lobelia
  • Yohimbe

These supplements have not yet been proven to be safe and may cause a broad range of side effects, including liver damage and even death. Is the multi-billion dollar supplement industry banking on the trusting ignorance of the public when it comes to supplement sales?

What About the FDA?

You may think you don’t have to worry about the safety of your supplements, as our government would never allow the sale of dangerous substances to the public. However, you might be surprised to learn the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 states that manufacturers (not the FDA) are responsible for determining if the product is safe.

What Can You do to Stay Safe?

A good place to start is by talking with your physician before taking any supplements. If you plan to research the supplement yourself, look for peer-reviewed scientific studies rather than random websites or advertiser’s claims. ¬†One helpful tool is this interactive chart by Information is Beautiful, which links to medical studies done on different supplements.

Another great resource is EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which allows you to search your favorite cosmetic products to see what dangerous chemicals lurk within. And ConsumerLab.com conducts independent testing and reports on supplements and the accuracy of the manufacturer’s claims. They also provide valuable information about product warnings.

The Impact on Your Term Life Insurance

Life insurance companies may ask about over the counter supplements you may be taking. But their primary interest is in any prescribed medication you are currently taking or have recently taken. If you are taking supplements and there are abnormalities in your lab tests, the company will want an explanation. And as always, it’s best to let the company know ahead of time on your application what medicines and supplements you are taking, prescription or otherwise.

We recommend staying healthy the old-fashioned way, with a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, and good relationships with friends and family. However, if you insist on taking unregulated, potentially dangerous supplements, be sure to get a term life insurance policy first!

 

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