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Be Sure to Avoid These Ingredients in Your Health Supplements

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Be Sure to Avoid These Ingredients in Your Health Supplements

The men’s health market has no shortage of supplements. A lot of them look really appealing with their promises to improve your muscle recovery, boost your brain power, improve your immune system, and so forth. But did you know that some of these supplements are made with potentially harmful ingredients?

You might be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, sure, but aren’t we protected against harmful ingredients by the FDA?”

The truth is, the FDA is not stopping health supplement manufacturers from putting dangerous filler ingredients in. These ingredients are sometimes – but not always – listed as “other ingredients” below the main ingredients on a product’s label.

So, what are they, and what exactly makes them so hazardous to your health? Let’s take a closer look.

Hydrogenated Oils

Many supplements have hydrogenated oils – soybean oil in particular. As you might already know, soybean oil is typically genetically modified. Oh, the FDA knows this, too. Just read through the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans; this document reminds us that synthetic forms of trans fat should be extremely limited in the human diet.

Too many trans fats in the diet increase your bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Consuming too much can lead to coronary disease and might even lower your “good” cholesterol levels.

Unfortunately for us, these cheap fillers are widely used since they cut production costs. Organic soybean oil would boost production costs, and some manufacturers just aren’t interested in that.

Heavy Metals and PCBs

We know that essential fatty acids can be beneficial for some people. They are known for promoting heart and brain health and are important dietary staples for pregnant women and very young children. But there’s a problem.

Many of the fish that these fatty acids are sourced from are contaminated by mercury, lead, and PCBs. A 2011 test showed that 1/3 of the fish examined had PCB levels that were too high for human consumption. This is dangerous because PCBs and other contaminants have been known to cause prostate cancer.

In children, high PCB levels have been found to cause developmental delays and neurological conditions. While this might not happen in adults, science has not yet been able to prove it doesn’t.

Overall, it’s just another cheap filler product that might do more harm than good.

Titanium Dioxide

If you have glanced at the back of a supplement bottle, you might have seen something called titanium dioxide. It is not just found in men’s health supplements, but it can also be found in cosmetic products.

The fact of the matter is, scientists do not yet know the extent of damage titanium dioxide exposure might cause. Researchers do caution that titanium dioxide should be used with high degrees of care in supplements and cosmetics.

So, what kind of harm can it do?

Titanium dioxide is known for causing inflammation in the lungs as well as impairing the immune system via DNA damage. Although DNA damage seems to be minimal, the thought that a supplement meant to improve your health could do damage to your DNA is rather worrisome.

In studies on mice, titanium dioxide has been shown to do all sorts of harm, including kidney damage and small intestine inflammation. If you are someone with an inflammatory health condition (think Hashimoto’s, Celiac, Crohn’s, or any other autoimmune disease), this could exacerbate your current issues. Therefore, buyer beware.

Magnesium Silicate

How would you feel if you learned that you were putting something with a composition similar to asbestos into your body? Well, know that some supplements contain magnesium silicate, otherwise known as talc. And this substance can be deadly.

Not only is it similar to asbestos in composition, some of it is actually tainted with asbestos! Asbestos is a known carcinogen and, once it is inhaled, it festers in the lungs, causing a build-up of lung fluid. In time, those who are affected basically drown in their own lung fluid.

Magnesium silicate is used to prevent caking and even gets added to rice in Japan to make the rice look whiter. While these seem like good things, magnesium silicate is known to be destructive toward the human body. In fact, in Japan, high levels of magnesium silicate consumption have been linked with stomach cancer.

What’s the FDA’s take on magnesium silicate? They do not consider it to be food grade, but the regulations on manufacturing supplements with this filler seem rather lax.

Artificial Colors

Artificial colors have no real business being in mens health supplements – or in any supplement, for that matter. They are basically there just to make up for the loss of natural color due to light, temperature, and air exposure. They’re simply an aesthetic enhancer. That’s it.

So, what is it about artificial colors that make them problematic?

Consider the studies done linking Red #40 and hyperactivity in children. It has long been speculated that Red #40 is responsible for an array of behavioral problems, and Red #3 is known to cause cancer in animal test subjects.

We don’t know exactly how many artificial colors impact the human body since long-term, in-depth studies are needed. But they certainly seem to have potential to cause a good deal of harm.

Also, are they really necessary? Many of us just want our expensive supplements to work, regardless of how nice and colorful they look.

What can you do to avoid these ingredients? The biggest step you can take is to start reading every label on each supplement you pick up. Do your research on organic, food-based supplements, and opt for the ones that tested negative for heavy metal contamination.

If you do find any potentially harmful substances in your supplements, don’t just chuck the container away. Contact the manufacturer and ask them why these ingredients are in their products. Make a post on their Twitter or Facebook. You can even reach out to the FDA and advocate for the elimination of these fillers.

Men’s health products should be held to higher standards, but sadly, the truth is that they are not. Do your homework before you buy any supplement so you can avoid these potentially dangerous ingredients.


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