15 Supplement Ingredients to Always Avoid
July 30, 2016 8:32 AM   Subscribe

 
LOL at people ingesting Monk's Hood voluntarily. AKA the plant I had to dig up so my kids wouldn't eat it and die.
posted by selfnoise at 8:39 AM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's not called Wolfsbane because of its curative properties...
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:45 AM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Jill Stein supports liver failure!
posted by JakeEXTREME at 8:50 AM on July 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


well look I don't care what your fancy science says, all I know is that wolfsbane cured by level 16 gnomish rogue of his lycanthropy. do you want to have to turn into a wolf every 200 to 600 turns? because I sure don't.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2016 [71 favorites]


This is where Brother Cadfael starts to sputter and hide things.
posted by clavdivs at 8:52 AM on July 30, 2016 [24 favorites]


I mean there is literally a song about poisonous and deliriant herbs and aconite is in the goddamned title.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:55 AM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


Camellia sinensis, though - *shudder*.
posted by cromagnon at 9:00 AM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


Interesting how many of the items are listed for weight loss.
posted by jadepearl at 9:04 AM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Came for lycanthropy jokes, was not disappointed. A+ work as usual MetaFilter
posted by town of cats at 9:05 AM on July 30, 2016 [23 favorites]


Thanks for posting this.

“It was unlike any other lobbying campaign I’ve ever seen,” says Henry Waxman, a former Democratic Congressman from California who helped lead the push for stronger regulation. “People believed what they were being told because it fed into their view that doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and the FDA wanted to block alternative medicines that could keep people healthy. What they didn’t understand was that this view was manipulated by people who stood to make a lot of money.”

What's that thumping sound?

Could it be Upton Sinclair headdesking in his tomb?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:11 AM on July 30, 2016 [29 favorites]


There are many lobelias -- I think the one they have mind is Lobelia Inflata aka Indian Tobacco. Which is not the same as my own favorite, Crystal Palace.
posted by y2karl at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


One wonders how many billions have been bilked from people who were led to believe someone else was trying to bilk them.
posted by Mooski at 9:13 AM on July 30, 2016 [30 favorites]


MetaFilter: Seizures, heart arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, possibly death; particularly dangerous when combined with other stimulants*

* especially US election threads
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:14 AM on July 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Many of the risks end with "possibly death," but I disagree. It should actually read, "possibly slow, painful death during which you will have to face the fact that you have poisoned yourself out of ignorance."

It's not a supplement per se, but black salve should also go along with this list.
posted by zennie at 9:29 AM on July 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


> Came for lycanthropy jokes, was not disappointed. A+ work as usual MetaFilter
posted by town of cats at 9:05 AM on July 30 [1 favorite −] [!]


just FYI the place marked "town of cats" on that map you can buy from that one shady barback at the tavern in Waterdeep? it's not as adorable as you'd think. full of werecats.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:29 AM on July 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


Jill Stein supports liver failure!

I don't get the Jill Stein hatred on MeFi. She panders to the hippie crowd, of course, but her activism has pretty much entirely centered on no-nonsense stuff like coal (mercury) pollution and climate change.

The Green Party's stances on climate change, economic equality, war, and incarceration are far more important to America 2016 than their tolerance of woo, but for some reason the latter is what gets the most attention.
posted by splitpeasoup at 9:31 AM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Is Kava really that dangerous? I was under the impression that it's totally fine as long as you don't take it with a lot of alcohol.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:33 AM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't get the Jill Stein hatred on MeFi.

Because of this shit. A lot of her rhetoric feeds into distrust of good government, the kind of government that saves lives and makes society better. Fanning the flames of the anti-vaxxers is the most obvious example.

Metafilter is obviously liberal and left-leaning but Metafilter is also, generally speaking, anti-charlatan.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2016 [91 favorites]


I don't know, I feel like this list is a little scaremongery. Red yeast rice can cause liver failure, sure, but that's because it's a statin...one of the most-prescribed classes of drugs in the world, all of which can seriously damage your health. It's not that the supplement itself should be avoided, it's that it's a drug, and should be treated as such.
posted by mittens at 9:40 AM on July 30, 2016 [15 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "Yeah, it's not called Wolfsbane because of its curative properties..."

Using a common name for a plant as any indication, good or bad, of it's safety is not a good idea.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


> Using a common name for a plant as any indication, good or bad, of it's safety is not a good idea.

*discards Prunella vulgaris*
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:49 AM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


*checks list frantically against list of ingredients on can of energy beverage I am monstrously addicted to*

ok, carry on then.

*has vague feeling that maybe I am missing the point of the entire exercise. Opens another can of energy beverage.*
posted by sexyrobot at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Jill Stein supports liver failure!

snopes.com/is-green-party-candidate-jill-stein-anti-vaccine
posted by Foosnark at 9:53 AM on July 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


I would have thought that most people were quite aware of both the benefits and possible drawbacks of consuming caffeine. I take caffeine supplements everyday, usually very strong, and with milk, no sugar.
posted by jb at 10:08 AM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


I don't get the Jill Stein hatred on MeFi.

Client-state serf here, but the best explanation I can see is that the USA has an archaic first-past-the-post voting system, in which voting is voluntary and is deliberately staged on a day when many working people won't be able to vote.

Accordingly, any person who can spend the effort to vote for someone who is not a fascist plutocrat must pick a single not-a-fascist to coordinate around, even if that person is only marginally less awful than said fascist (and even if they're also a plutocrat).

It's going to be hard to ask all those dead Iraqis how they felt about Nader voters.
posted by pompomtom at 10:12 AM on July 30, 2016 [20 favorites]


One wonders how many billions have been bilked from people who were led to believe someone else was trying to bilk them.

There is a kind of telemarketing scam called a "recovery room". In the recovery room, they buy lists of people who got robbed by other scammers, and call them and say they can recover their money, but they need an initial retainer...
posted by thelonius at 10:12 AM on July 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


Using a common name for a plant as any indication, good or bad, of it's safety is not a good idea.

Rethinks Amanita phalloides... still nope.
posted by peeedro at 10:14 AM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kava is dangerous if any part of the plant except the root is ingested. Kava root has been used by Polynesian people for thousands of years. Leaves and stems sometimes are found when kava supplements are tested for safety.
posted by irisclara at 10:15 AM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Regular rice

Claimed benefits: Treats hunger, weight gain.

Risks:
Obesity, heart disease, malnutrition.
posted by FallowKing at 10:15 AM on July 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


I don't know, I feel like this list is a little scaremongery. Red yeast rice can cause liver failure, sure, but that's because it's a statin...one of the most-prescribed classes of drugs in the world, all of which can seriously damage your health. It's not that the supplement itself should be avoided, it's that it's a drug, and should be treated as such.

Yeah, exactly. Dangers and/or purported efficacy of anything listed aside, the main issue the article in the FPP is addressing is that supplements are, for all intents and purposes, unregulated. They may or may not contain the stated quantity of the active ingredient, may contain other unlisted ingredients, and may or may not be contaminated in some way. In the US (and here in Canada FWIW) there's no reliable way of knowing if the supplement you're buying is contaminated, bogus or contains more or less of the stated quantity of ingredients:

But there’s no reliable way to tell whether any given supplement is safe. And the fact remains that dietary supplements—which your doctor may recommend and may sit right alongside trusted over-the-counter medications or just across from the prescription drug counter—aren’t being regulated the same way as drugs.

“Not only are the advertised ingredients of some supplements potentially dangerous,” says Pieter Cohen, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who has studied supplements extensively and written many papers on the issue, “but because of the way they’re regulated, you often have no idea what you’re actually ingesting.”

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:16 AM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


green tea extract...dammit. what about green tea? I use it for anxiety
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 10:22 AM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Green tea is good for anxiety, because it is warm & soothing.

it may be bad for some people's anxiety, because it is tea, and contains caffeine (albeit less than black tea and much less than coffee, esp the way I brew it).

If it makes you feel good, drink it. It's perfectly fine for you. It's hot and tasty and the boiled water means you're less likely to get sick from bacteria.
posted by jb at 10:30 AM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


that said, I don't know that tea has any other health benefits other than being safer to drink than water which hasn't been boiled or treated.

But if you're hanging around medieval china and someone offers you green tea or water, take the tea.
posted by jb at 10:31 AM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Seems to me that while (some of) these supplements might be ok to take in the correct dose (I've had a couple of them and was fine - kava was relaxing and the herbal cough mixture containing comfrey helped my cough without killing me), the point here is a) that there is absolutely no way of knowing whether or not you are getting the correct dose and b) these are all things you definitely don't want to OD on.

Imagine a pack of paracetamol (acetaminophen) tablets that could be anything from 200mg to 5000mg. Or 0mg. Or 10000mg. It's annoying because you'd know perfectly well that a sensible dose would fix your headache just fine. But ODing on that stuff is very bad news. How much do you trust the supply chain?

Of course, that supply chainy trusty thing works the same way with all drugs.
posted by motty at 11:09 AM on July 30, 2016 [20 favorites]


I read the comments.

CR is a paid shill for big Pharma, don't ya know.

Sigh
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 11:13 AM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm no herbalist, but I'd put any of those things in my tea ahead of sucralose. Yes, even the camellia sinensis.
posted by sfenders at 11:18 AM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you take too much green tea extract, it starts to nuke your liver (nih)

This isn't a worry if you're just drinking tea, because of dosages.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:21 AM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


CR is a paid shill for big Pharma, don't ya know.

Citation needed.
posted by hippybear at 11:25 AM on July 30, 2016


Citation needed.

The random comments on that post. Must be true. I read it on an FB thread.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 11:33 AM on July 30, 2016


I'm sort of sad about the gleeful comments upthread about people being duped, and aren't they dumb, and shouldn't they know this can kill you? Headdesk ha ha.

They're saying to avoid these things because they don't think it's worth the health risk of taking an unregulated supplement with potentially strong effects. But that's different from "pfft obviously you don't take that." I mean, one of the things on the list is caffeine powder, but no one was saying "har har should have known caffeine can give you seizures." No, the risk is that the FDA doesn't evaluate how much of anything is being added to these supplements. It's not just mean to laugh about people being duped, it also seems to be missing the point a little.
posted by teponaztli at 11:46 AM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


metafilter: home of the smart mark.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:48 AM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Crudely expressed though it may in some cases be, I think the people in the comments over there are right not to trust Consumer Reports for serious medical or dietary advice. They're pretty good at reviewing toasters, not so great on more complicated subjects.

They go so far as to provide a PDF for those who want to know more about their methodology in selecting these particular 15 "supplements", but all it does if you take the trouble to read it is suggest that their methods are undocumented, ad-hoc, and unreliable. If any consideration of possible health benefits of some of these items was given, as implied in the main article, it's not mentioned there. It looks like as if no effort was made to quantify any of the risks at all, not just that such analysis didn't make it into the main article. They're probably mostly right I would guess, but it's not providing any real information either.

I mean, they're more trustworthy than the Weekly World News, or the makers and sellers of dietary supplements, but not by so much that it matters. Do not exceed one Consumer Reports clickbait article per 24-hour period.
posted by sfenders at 12:07 PM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


> I'd put any of those things in my tea ahead of sucralose. Yes, even the camellia sinensis.
sfenders is xzibit?
posted by morganw at 12:09 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's not a supplement per se, but black salve should also go along with this list.

My aunt's belief that black salve would cure her stage 2 breast cancer literally killed her. She was diagnosed and refused to have a mastectomy or do chemo and instead went the "homeopathic" route. In short order she went from stage 2 to 4 and in the end had to have what was left of her breast removed and then died a slow painful death over a 12 month period. She was college educated, professional and very smart but was convinced by a quack that the black salve would save her life. One of the saddest and most pointless situations I've ever experienced.
posted by photoslob at 12:13 PM on July 30, 2016 [25 favorites]


Appears worth avoiding supplements containing wolf's bane :

"Several species of Aconitum have been used as arrow poisons. The Minaro in Ladakh use A. napellus on their arrows to hunt ibex, while the Ainu in Japan used a species of Aconitum to hunt bear.[9] The Chinese also used Aconitum poisons both for hunting[10] and for warfare.[11] Aconitum poisons were used by the Aleuts of Alaska's Aleutian Islands for hunting whales. Usually, one man in a kayak armed with a poison-tipped lance would hunt the whale, paralyzing it with the poison and causing it to drown.[12]"

"Poisoning may also occur following picking the leaves without wearing gloves; the aconitine toxin is absorbed easily through the skin." .. "At the inquest of Nathan Greenway, a gardener at Mill Court House in Hampshire, England, who died of multiple organ failure on 7 September 2014, it was speculated that his death might have been caused by his brushing against the plant, although an open verdict was recorded."

posted by jeffburdges at 12:19 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


*checks list frantically against list of ingredients on can of energy beverage I am monstrously addicted to*

Fun fact - the initial version of the Sobe Energy drinks had yohimbe. I inadvertently found out about its effects after going through something like five of them in a night.
posted by Candleman at 12:25 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Okay, so avoid wolfsbane, avoid Consumer Reports, be careful with yohimbe, and holy hell never go near black salve.
posted by sfenders at 12:38 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, FDA approval costs so much partially because corporations get involved to take a cut of the tax money we pay them to do the trials. We could reduce the costs enormously if a larger portion of clinical trials experiments were organized by non-profit laboratories directly funded by the government. And those same researchers could spend some of their government paychecks investigating claims about and the safety of "natural" compounds too.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:42 PM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


"The Green Party's stances on climate change, economic equality, war, and incarceration are far more important to America 2016 than their tolerance of woo, but for some reason the latter is what gets the most attention."
Because their approach to taking a stance on climate change, economic equality, war, and incarceration essentially is woo - if you only dilute the progressive vote enough times it will get exponentially stronger! Jill Stein's policy ideas, at least as they are vaguely articulated, are not even especially progressive. What she is selling isn't coherent policy goals, or accomplishable plans to make the country or world a better place, or even values that can shape a national conversation - its the illusion of these things. The Green Party is pretty exclusively defined by its vision of a simple world with simple solutions that is formed without any attempt at compromise or acknowledging messy realities - those things would make a Democrat. Indeed, just like the existence of complex problems with the airline industry doesn't mean magic carpets are a viable alternative, and the existence of even more complex problems with the pharmaceutical industry doesn't mean homeopathy will work, the complex problems with the Democratic party do not mean that the Green Party is anything other than a narcissistic waste of progressive energy and votes.

The Green Party's stances on climate change do not even attempt to grapple with the messy realities inherent to a functional power grid capable of adjusting to fluctuations in demand without blackouts, their stances on the recent bailout communicate fundamental misunderstandings of how our financial system works, their stance on "war" does not account for things like the very fucking extant reliance of Eastern Europe and much of East Asia on the ability of the American military to maintain a credible deterrent to Russian and Chinese hegemony, and their particularly vehement stances on agriculture can only really be knowledgeably described as pro-famine. European fringe parties at least have the threat of gaining power, and thus being embarrassed with it, through coalitions to keep their policy proposals even vaguely implementable - but the Green Party has never had that threat and never will.

The Green Party's stances on important issues are essentially no different from its stances on woo, they stem from the same approach applied to politics that woo is to medicine and nutrition. Its the replacement of educated expertise and listening with googled expertise and self-importance. Just like the goal of cranks isn't actually the advancement of science and the goal of woo isn't actually health - the goal of the Green Party has nothing to do with policy implementation. Its about the feeling of being smarter than your neighbors, more morally pure, making the 'right' choice without actually having to do the emotional labor involved in recognizing that many of your neighbors don't have the luxury of not really being affected by policies being implemented - just like woo is all about getting those same feelings without having to do the labor of genuine self-education or self-advocacy.

Its not one negative aspect of the Green Party getting more attention than positive aspects here - its all the same shit sandwich and most mefites are simply refusing to eat it.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:14 PM on July 30, 2016 [42 favorites]


their particularly vehement stances on agriculture can only really be knowledgeably described as pro-famine

I'm guessing what you're trying to say here is anti-GMO is pro-famine. This is a misconception that arises from a lack of understanding of what actually causes famines, or hunger in general.

The root causes of famine and hunger are not food production inefficiencies, but political and economic inequalities and abuses. (For instance, free trade and dumping of cheap food can exacerbate poverty and hunger). GMOs do not address these causes, needless to say. Bear in mind that India (where food GMOs have always been banned) attained food self-sufficiency in the 70s, half a century after the worst famines in its history (British Raj). GMOs are a solution in search of a problem.

I can see why they are attractive to those who like to consider themselves scientific and rational, but the issues of biodiversity, sterile seed, seed+pesticide vertical-solution-monopolies (e.g. Roundup Ready), and intellectual-property-ization of plants and monopolistic control of food production are very real ones that need reins.
posted by splitpeasoup at 1:47 PM on July 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


Mod note: Folks, let call this sidebar done; post isn't about the Green party or renewable energy or GMOs. It's about supplements, so let's walk back in that direction.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:51 PM on July 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Interesting how many of the items are listed for weight loss.

Death IS 100% effective for weight loss.

Consumer Reports is one of the few magazines I still subscribe to, partly because they accept NO advertising. If anything, CR is a paid shill for Big ME. And I'd like to whack some "internet commenters" with a rolled-up copy because they are no smarter than poorly-trained dogs.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:55 PM on July 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Death IS 100% effective for weight loss.

Well, not 100% effective. Even after your body rots, you still have bones that will probably weigh much the same for the rest of time.
posted by hippybear at 1:59 PM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


That's why I've arranged with a local giant to have my bones sustainably ground to make his bread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:17 PM on July 30, 2016 [24 favorites]


"Also, FDA approval costs so much partially because corporations get involved to take a cut of the tax money we pay them to do the trials. We could reduce the costs enormously if a larger portion of clinical trials experiments were organized by non-profit laboratories directly funded by the government. And those same researchers could spend some of their government paychecks investigating claims about and the safety of "natural" compounds too."
There are a lot of good reasons why non-profit labs don't tend to compete as well for the kinds of grants that fill these niches as for-profit ones. For starters, if the goal is to create marketable products, at some point these products will need to be produced in cGMP labs, and they will need to be marketed - clinical trials are only the beginning when it comes to products that actually end up in real patients. I'm totally with you in terms of values and circumventing the hideously bloated and wasteful pharmaceutical industry, but products will always need to end up there. I think a more concrete path than non-profit institutions that will slowly evolve into all the same habits can be found in more funding and support for things like physician initiated trials (I just published one!), which can both scale and effectively offload the things industry needs to do onto industry.

Incidentally, there is currently Federal money for both profit and non-profit entities to do the whole nine yards of phase I-III trials for natural products if there was any reason to think they would produce useful fruit, though decades of bitter experience now has shown otherwise. So far more than $20 billion dollars of our money has been dumped on researching Complimentary and Alternative medicine by Senator Tom Harkin (D) using the NCCAM. This has produced an amount of useful knowledge and marketable products with proven efficacy that can be pretty accurately be summarized as diddlyshit. It has produced no real discoveries, a pathetic publication record, and added nothing of value to a natural products industry that doesn't care if its shit works anyway.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:32 PM on July 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


It has produced no real discoveries, a pathetic publication record, and added nothing of value to a natural products industry that doesn't care if its shit works anyway.

Which makes one wonder if such an industry should be allowed to exist. You can't buy snake oil anymore, for one example.
posted by hippybear at 2:34 PM on July 30, 2016


"Which makes one wonder if such an industry should be allowed to exist. You can't buy snake oil anymore, for one example."
I'm really suprised this hadn't been linked in the thread yet, but if you want a quick and darkly hilarious run down of the political history of why the supplement industry is allowed to exist, you can't do better than John Oliver's piece on it (16:25).
posted by Blasdelb at 2:41 PM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


It'd probably be better advice to just advise staying away from (non-doctor-prescribed) supplements entirely. Giving a list of 15 things to avoid implies anything not on that list is safe, which is definitely not true given the fundamental problems with the supplement industry itself.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:27 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


You can't buy snake oil anymore, for one example.

Perhaps the functional equivalent we have today is allowed to exist because the people making the rules can't handle the cognitive dissonance of marijuana gradually becoming legally and socially acceptable while they're writing up the new regulations prohibiting the sale and "possession with intent" of comfrey and tree moss. The alternative of legally going after all the deceptive advertising rather than the relatively harmless products doesn't seem possible to anyone when it's so universally pervasive and accepted in every other industry.

Even if they instantly banned whatever latest flower people believe causes weight loss, people would keep on drinking whatever type of snake oil was still allowed. It all suggests one reason why homeopathy may be as popular as it is: Nobody can make a good argument of this type against it, claiming its products are potent poisons like uncut caffeine.
posted by sfenders at 3:37 PM on July 30, 2016


I would have thought that most people were quite aware of both the benefits and possible drawbacks of consuming caffeine. I take caffeine supplements everyday, usually very strong, and with milk, no sugar.

OK. I don't know if this is a joke or not.

You can buy pure caffeine on the Internet as a "supplement." If you mix a teaspoon or so into your morning smoothie, you could die from the dose. A 12 oz cup of coffee has somewhere like 150mg of caffeine. You're never going to drink enough coffee, even strong coffee, to die.

It's similar with green tea. You're probably not going to ingest that much tea, and if you used tea powder the consumption rate would be limited by the bitter taste. But when someone makes an extract, dehydrates it down, and puts it in a pill for you, it's not at all the same as as drinking a dilute cup that you brewed.

The same is true of the rest of the list. These are things that maybe you could use in a safe way, but it's so easy to cause yourself irreparable harm that people in general would best avoid them.
posted by zennie at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


Pennyroyal oil might be needed soon as a back alley abortifacient, once abortion is outlawed.
posted by benzenedream at 4:35 PM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Is Kava really that dangerous? I was under the impression that it's totally fine as long as you don't take it with a lot of alcohol

The main thing about kava, at least according to the people who sell it (which...yeah), is that you're not supposed to just swallow it as-is. It's like tea: You put it in a bag, steep the bag in hot water for a while, remove the full bag, then drink the broth.

(Or: what zennie said.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:37 PM on July 30, 2016


I'm reminded of a Rush Limbaugh monologue before his drug addictions where he came out against the rules that restricted kava. Seemed so odd at the time
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:39 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah but ... leeches are still cool for bleeding, right?

No mention of toxoplasmosis, half the world's infected with that. (Cat supplement.)
posted by Twang at 6:34 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pennyroyal oil might be needed soon as a back alley abortifacient, once abortion is outlawed.
posted by benzenedream at 4:35 PM on July 30
[1 favorite +] [!]


No it's horribly dangerous. I used to know a woman who nearly died using pennyroyal oil for a relatively early abortion. The TEA is strong enough to cause abortion.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:42 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Herbal supplements should not be used without a thorough training in their use. An old Mexican curandera is going to be more knowledgable than a medical doctor. A curandera is going to know when to send you to a regular medical doctor. A medical doctor won't have enough experience with herbal cures and supplements.
I have used herbal cures to help myself, family members and friends. Basically what you need to know is if an herbal remedy or supplement IS effective at all it IS potentially dangerous.
All the ones on that list are ones I've steered clear of myself.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:56 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


GospelofWesleyWillis: "green tea extract...dammit. what about green tea? I use it for anxiety"

It's about the unknown amount of concentration. Anything generally agreed as safe-ish is only safe-ish when taken as it is generally taken. Concentrate all the alcohol in a 24 into a shot glass and then slam it and you are going to have a bad day. Or the caffeine in a whole bag of coffee beans.

tobascodagama: "It'd probably be better advice to just advise staying away from (non-doctor-prescribed) supplements entirely. Giving a list of 15 things to avoid implies anything not on that list is safe, which is definitely not true given the fundamental problems with the supplement industry itself."

On the other hand if these supplements have zero or minor positive effect as long as they aren't actively hostile are probably a net win for a lot of people because of the placebo effect. If a person with menopause finds taking some blue-green algae helps their anxiety for $20 a month I don't really have a problem with it. Sadly the lack of regulation means all these things come with high woo levels and you end up with the situation that some natural plant can cure all ills; when it just doesn't. Minimizing harm is tricky; especially when you consider many of these things can be grown in home gardens. Do we really want Monkshood/Wolfbane being grown for consumption in victory gardens because people can't get it in stores? Maybe, maybe not.

Boy Howdy I'm glad I'm not in charge of proposing and executing regulation in this area.
posted by Mitheral at 7:54 PM on July 30, 2016


On the other hand if these supplements have zero or minor positive effect as long as they aren't actively hostile are probably a net win for a lot of people because of the placebo effect.

The active ingredients may or may not have an effect or may or may not trigger placebo benefits.

The lead contaminants, on the other hand...

Off-the-shelf supplements are entirely unregulated. You literally cannot trust them to actually contain what they claim to contain or be safe to consume.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:20 PM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


OK. I don't know if this is a joke or not.

It was a joke - and also not. What I meant was that I would have thought that anyone would know a) what caffeine is and b) that you probably shouldn't take too much. I've used caffeine pills in the past, and I read the dosage instructions. I'm also surprised that anyone into "natural" products would look for pure caffeine rather than one of its many widely available "natural" sources (aka coffee or tea).

As for pennyroyal - yes, the tea can cause an abortion. It's effective for bad cramps, because it gets rid of your uterine lining. But you have to be careful with it.
posted by jb at 8:36 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


tobascodagama: "You literally cannot trust them to actually contain what they claim to contain or be safe to consume."

Oh it's only 1/3rd of supplements that don't contain the active ingredient. I'm more than kinda glad say, insulin vials, have a better hit rate than that.
posted by Mitheral at 8:57 PM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's about the unknown amount of concentration. Anything generally agreed as safe-ish is only safe-ish when taken as it is generally taken. Concentrate all the [...]caffeine in a whole bag of coffee beans.

Challenge accepted.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Caffeine MSDS
posted by thelonius at 2:22 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Google reports the LD-50 at around 10g and a pound of coffee as containing upwards of 8.5g of caffeine. So as long as you aren't exceptionally skinny you'll _probably_ be alright. But people have died from lower amounts either because of other factors or because the caffeine was concentrated into powder/pill form. I don't know whether there is actually enough data to predict the dangerousness of the challenge. However I strong suggest not combining the caffeine with the alcohol. That seems to go badly.

Have you got a way of uploading to youtube? Because if you do indeed survive you might be able to make some serious bank.
posted by Mitheral at 2:35 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


No mention of dickweed essence or extract of fucktrumpet, so I guess those are still good to go.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:51 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Guys come on this thread has nothing to do with politi--**Alex Jones kicks in the door punches me in the throat while screaming WHITE POWDER**
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:01 PM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was a joke - and also not. What I meant was that I would have thought that anyone would know a) what caffeine is and b) that you probably shouldn't take too much. I've used caffeine pills in the past, and I read the dosage instructions. I'm also surprised that anyone into "natural" products would look for pure caffeine rather than one of its many widely available "natural" sources (aka coffee or tea).

You are right, but that's because you probably aren't the target. This is a $40 billion industry pushing vitamins and nutritional supplements, as well as alternative health supplements. The nutritional supplements can be super expensive (and are big multi-level marketing domain), so people often try to reduce costs through DIY, which is where you run into things like 100% caffeine that may or may not be appropriately labeled by the guy you bought it from. The alternative health supplements get mixed in as woo selling points throughout the industry, as well as products for the people who don't trust Big Pharma. The big players that are more than like to just rip you off by adding inert stuff and charge you extra for pretty packaging. But too many people go to the people on Etsy repackaging from bulk, or faceless entities on Amazon shipping things from heaven knows where. I see questionably labeled items on Amazon all the time.
posted by zennie at 8:28 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Red yeast rice can cause liver failure, sure, but that's because it's a statin...it's a drug, and should be treated as such.

I agree. I have to get a prescription for my statins, and the doc checks me for efficacy and liver function periodically. So why would you consider it "scaremongering" to say "maybe you shouldn't dose yourself with it without some medical oversight"?
posted by kjs3 at 2:34 PM on August 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


« Older Squeakin' for the fjords   |   The murder of Chandra Levy remains unsolved Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments