It is as important to know what is left OUT of health supplement formulas as what is included.
There are some particularly dangerous ingredients used in other health supplements. Often these are used because they are cheap and also because of ignorance.
Two examples are Aloe Vera and Marine Collagen/Shark Cartilage/Sea Cucumber, despite known toxicity.
ALOE VERA DANGERS
When taken internally, aloe vera may cause unwanted health issues. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that side effects can range from diarrhoea and stomach cramps, to low-blood sugar and possible hepatitis.
The United States National Library of Medicine reports that taking internal aloe vera may lead to liver injury, often between 3 and 24 weeks after consumption. (The National Toxicology Program reports that aloe vera consumption produced cancer in rat models.)
Aloe vera has been implicated in multiple human cases of liver problems (which are not too common, although resurgent).
Aloe vera juice has hypoglycemic properties which can be dangerous to diabetes sufferers when the blood sugar level is lowered too far. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine highly recommends for you to be highly cautious when consuming aloe vera juice most especially if you are suffering from diabetes.
Consumption of aloe vera for a long time may result in electrolyte imbalances. This can be very dangerous particularly if you are suffering from serious health conditions such as kidney diseases, heart diseases and diabetes. It is highly advisable for you to undergo monitoring to avoid electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalances mainly involve low levels of potassium in the blood which may result to abnormality in the rhythm of heartbeat and muscle fatigue.
Aloe vera has laxative properties, can cause cramping and diarrhoea.
Other dangers of aloe vera include the increase in the risk of acquiring colorectal cancer when consumed for over a year. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows that the utilization of aloe vera for cancer therapy has led to the death of cancer patients. The consumption of aloe vera is also strongly discouraged if you are taking certain medications such as diuretics, glyburide and digoxin.
The National Institutes for Health reports that aloe vera intake may be dangerous to people suffering from conditions such as sporadic bowel movements, abdominal pain, paralysis or blockage of the bowel, and appendicitis. In addition to that, the consumption of aloe vera is harmful to individuals who are suffering from liver inflammation or hepatitis. This product may have harmful effects if you are suffering from any health problem.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISKS OF ALOE VERA TOXICITY?
The United States National Library of Medicine reports that taking internal aloe vera may lead to injury. Avoid the risks of aloe vera toxicity by not taking supplements containing aloe vera.
Mercury is a toxic metal. Mercury levels in our air, land and water have increased dramatically since the rise of industrialization in the late 19th century.
We all know that mercury poses a serious health risk to developing foetuses, babies and children, who can suffer brain damage and learning disabilities from exposure to even small amounts of mercury.
What is increasingly understood is that high mercury levels can permanently damage an adult's brain and kidneys, or even lead to circulatory failure.
Mercury targets the nervous system and kidneys, and it can take 12-18 months for a human body to significantly rid itself of methylmercury.
People exposed to mercury may exhibit problems with mental development and coordination, including how they think, learn and problem-solve. Neurological damage can be irreversible.
Mercury exposure in adults shows through symptoms including numbness, burning or tingling of the extremities (lips, fingers, toes); fatigue; weakness; irritability; shyness; loss of memory and coordination; tremors; and changes in hearing and blurred vision.
Marine animals bioaccumulate environmental marine toxins and methylmercury. Scientists recently reported detection of the cyanobacterial toxin β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) in the fins of seven different species of sharks. Since BMAA has been linked to degenerative brain diseases, the consumption of marine products may pose a human risk.
Because of concern about the recently increasing levels of biological Hg in marine animals, even in what are believed to be pristine areas such as the Arctic, extensive research has been carried out. Scientists show there has been a steep increase in mercury (Hg) exposure. Today the man-made contribution was found to be above 92%. Research consistently shows that there had been an order-of-magnitude increase of [Hg] in Arctic marine foodweb-based animals.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISKS OF MERCURY CONTAMINATION?
The consumption of supplements containing seafood can be one of the biggest risks. Seafood is by far the most significant source of ingestion-related mercury exposure in humans and animals. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported on chemical contaminants they found in the food of over 20 European countries. They established that marine products were primarily responsible for methylmercury in the diet of all age classes.
Since methylmercury binds to proteins, it is found throughout fish and seafood tissue including muscle. Mercury can be found in Marine Collagen, Shark Cartilage, and Sea Cucumber. For these reasons, as well as for ecological and environmental reasons, it is not advised to consume marine collagen, shark cartilage and sea cucumber.
Read on for specific health threats from these ingredients which can be used in poor quality supplements.
MARINE COLLAGEN DANGERS
Any positive effects of marine collagen supplements are debatable. Collagen does not actually provide extra collagen to the body, as the collagen molecule can be too large to be absorbed. If you’d still like to risk trying oral collagen supplements, be aware that these ingredients are not regulated so it’s hard to know the purity or potency of the collagen you’re taking. Be sure to tell your doctor that you’re trying collagen supplements.
Marine-sourced collagen ingredients usually have an unpleasant taste and odor. But the biggest problem is mercury contamination in marine collagen.
SHARK CARTILAGE DANGERS
Nobody has studied the long-term effects of shark cartilage, but people who take it can experience side effects, which can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal cramps and bloating, constipation, fever and fatigue. Taking shark cartilage can lead to an overload of calcium in the blood, and there has been a report of hepatitis.
Many people conclude that shark cartilage isn't worth the risk. According to a report from the University of Pennsylvania, children and pregnant women should avoid the supplement because it could slow the normal growth of children and foetuses. People who have recently had surgery are also advised not to take it, as it may slow healing.
The phrase “sharks don't get cancer” has become a rallying cry among people who package and sell shark cartilage. A more accurate phrase would be “sharks do get cancer, but nobody knows exactly how often.” According to the National Cancer Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, sharks have been known to suffer from melanomas, sarcomas, brain tumors, cancer of the blood, and even cancer of the cartilage. The first cancerous tumor was discovered in a shark over 150 years ago and they have been discovered in more than twenty species.
Researchers recently tested sixteen commercial shark cartilage supplements for mercury levels. Mercury was detected in fifteen out of sixteen products with concentrations. All of the shark products contained low concentrations of Hg, which is a known risk.
The results of the study show that shark cartilage products may contain the neurotoxin BMAA as well as Hg. Although the neurotoxic potential of dietary exposure is currently unknown, the results demonstrate that shark cartilage products may contain two environmental neurotoxins that have synergistic toxicities.
SEA CUCUMBER DANGERS
At least 16 sea cucumber species are classified as threatened with extinction on the latest IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. As if that’s not reason enough to not eat sea cucumbers, they are not easy to digest and can cause discomfort in the stomach. Allergic reaction to sea cucumber can be common and of course, there is the problem of mercury found in sea cucumbers.
In summary, supplements containing aloe vera and marine ingredients are best avoided.
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Health Evolution has a Supplement Advisory Panel, works with qualified biochemists, and only uses registered ingredients proven to be safe. Health Evolution does NOT use Aloe Vera, Marine Collagen/Shark Cartilage/Sea Cucumber in any formulas because of the known toxicity dangers of these ingredients.
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MARINE MERCURY AND MARINE COLLAGEN DANGERS
United States Environmental Protection Agency (December 1997). Mercury Study Report to Congress (PDF). 3. Washington, D.C.: United States Environmental Protection Agency. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-02-03.
SEA CUCUMBER DANGERS
SHARK CARTILAGE DANGERS
ALOE VERA DANGERS