Skip to content

These Supplements Contain Dangerous Hidden Ingredients, the FDA Warns

The agency is cracking down on these products that could cause negative side effects.

Supplements may bill themselves as good for your health, but sometimes, there's more than meets the eye. While you're probably not going to come to too much harm by taking, say, a daily multivitamin or a fish oil supplement, some products could be doing some real damage to your body.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued a warning about several such products, which are supposed to help treat a range of health conditions but could instead be leaving you at risk. On April 20, the FDA cautioned shoppers to steer clear of products bearing any variations of the names "Artri" or "Ortiga," since they could contain harmful substances not advertised on the label. Both supplements are made in Mexico and labeled primarily in Spanish.

And don't miss Surprising Side Effects of 5 Popular Supplements.

The products in question are used for relieving the symptoms of arthritis, muscle pain, osteoporosis, and bone cancer. However, they may contain one of several dangerous ingredients not disclosed on the label. One such ingredient is corticosteroid dexamethasone, the consumption of which can lead to many adverse side effects, including changes in blood sugar and pressure, infections, and bone damage.

Another is anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac sodium, which can have damaging consequences for your heart, your gastrointestinal tract, and your liver. The third is muscle relaxant methocarbamol, which can sedate you, lower your blood pressure to a dangerous degree, and leave you dizzy.

In general, supplements can be a bit of a risky bet. They're not regulated the way that pharmaceuticals are, so you can't always be sure what you're getting. Manufacturers aren't required to list out the potential side effects of their products, so you could be putting yourself in danger without even knowing it.

Additionally, supplements can also interact negatively with any medications you may be taking, so if you don't consult with your doctor, you could be hurting your body.

For more on supplements that you should steer clear of, be sure to check out The Supplements Doctors Say to Stop Taking Now.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more about Clara