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Supplements That are "Not Worth It," Says Pharmacist

Pharmacist warns to stay away from these five supplements and explains why. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Millions of Americans take a dietary supplement daily to improve overall health but do they really work? Many experts believe the best way to get essential nutrients is through diet, including Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine in the department of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He says, "Patients ask all the time, 'What supplements should I be taking?' They're wasting money and focus thinking there has to be a magic set of pills that will keep them healthy when we should all be following the evidence-based practices of eating healthy and exercising." While some supplements can be helpful, especially if you have a chronic condition that causes a vitamin deficiency like Crohn's Disease, be careful what you take. There's many that are ineffective or can cause harmful side effects. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Inna Lukyanovsky, PharmD, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Gut and Hormones Expert, Doctor of Pharmacy and Best Selling Author of "Crohn's and Colitis Fix" and "Digestive Reset" who shares which ones to avoid and why. Please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Green Coffee Extract

coffee and green tea

Dr. Lukyanovsky tells us, "Green Coffee Extract is used for fat burning. This supplement shows no effect on metabolism (fat burning as a result is not going to happen). The supplement can be very irritating to the stomach lining and those prone to digestive problems can suffer from indigestion."


Vitamin E (Particular Alpha Tocopherol)

woman taking vitamin D3

Dr. Lukyanovsky explains, "Large studies found vitamin E to be helpful for cardiovascular protection. But it's more clear now that vitamin E from food ingestion seems more beneficial than the supplement form. And if you still choose to go with vitamin E, go with a mixture of tocopherols for better effectiveness and more safety."


Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies

gummy prenatals

According to Dr. Lukyanovsky, "Apple cider vinegar gummies are taken to improve digestion, but only introduces more sugar to cause dysbiosis without the apple cider vinegar shots benefits."


Laxatives Like Cascara for Weight Loss

weight loss

Dr. Lukyanovsky says, "People will use laxatives at times for weight loss, but there's never been evidence that laxatives can produce anything more than a temporary quick weight loss, but they can cause gut microbiome disruptions, dysbiosis, laxative dependence and dehydration."



panera strawberry lemon mint with guarana & caffeine
Courtesy of Panera

Dr. Lukyanovsky states, "This supplement was used for energy and weight loss, while not showing a lot of scientific data. It was working as a heavy caffeine supplement and could potentially create the end result of adrenal imbalance."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather