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5 Supplements That Have the Lowest Quality Ingredients

If you are considering purchasing one of these five supplement options, you may want to think twice.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

When we grab a bottle of supplements from the drug store shelf or click the "add to cart" button when we find an intriguing-sounding supplement on an online store, we assume that we are getting high-quality ingredients in our pills. And while there are some decent supplements available to us, unfortunately, not all options are created equal.

Generally speaking, to pick the highest quality supplements, your best bet is to opt for those that are third-party tested. Since supplement quality is not regulated by the FDA, leaning on third parties to ensure that you are actually getting the quantity and ingredients listed on the supplement label is key. Too, third-party testing is intended to ensure the product is free from potentially harmful levels of contaminants and doesn't contain ingredients that are not on the label.

Beyond seeking out supplement brands that include third-party testing in their protocols, there are some specific categories of supplements that have the lowest quality ingredients. So, if you are considering purchasing one of these five supplement options, you may want to think twice before you throw down a pocketful of cash for questionable combos that may not serve your body the way you intend. Read on, and for more, don't miss Best Supplements to Take Every Day, According to a Dietitian

Testosterone Boosters

Testesterone supplements

"Most testosterone boosters lack scientific evidence and contain high doses of ingredients that may be harmful," explains Melissa Mitri, MS, RD of Melissa Mitri Nutrition. Other varieties may contain a laundry list of ingredients that sound like they may help support testosterone levels, but they are provided in sub-clinical doses.

Mitri advises that "low-quality or potentially unsafe ingredients to look out for include Tribulus terrestris, DHEA, or L-arginine in high doses."

Fat Burners

Fat Burners

Popularized by Instagram influencers and famous celebrities, fat burners are a common addition to many people's weight-loss plans with the hope that popping this pill will help them shed some pounds with little effort.

Hate to burst your bubble, but experts do not endorse the use of these products, thanks to the low-quality ingredients that are oftentimes included. "Most fat burners contain ingredients that have not been extensively researched and have been seen to cause side effects," Mitri shared. She also explained that many fat burners can be "very high in caffeine which can contribute to high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and other side effects when taken in combination with other caffeine sources." Fat burners may also contain ingredients that have no history of human use, making them a questionable addition to your diet.

 15 Worst Supplements For Weight Loss

Colon Cleansers

Colon Cleansers

Regardless of whether we truly need to cleanse our colon to be healthy, taking these supplements is a popular trend that some people are convinced will leave their bodies more balanced and toxin-free. "Many commercial colon cleansers contain unsafe or ineffective ingredients," Mitri cautioned. "For example, they often contain herbal extracts in high, unregulated doses and laxatives that can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances."

You are better off sticking to a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and skipping the colon cleansers altogether.

Energy-Boosting Supplements

energy boosting supplements

Who doesn't want a little extra pep in their step? With many of us having overcommitted schedules and too many responsibilities, energy boosters can certainly sound appealing when the 3 p.m. slump hits.

Unfortunately, as Mitri explained, "supplements labeled as 'energy-boosters' or 'pre-workout supplements' can contain harmful amounts of caffeine from multiple sources, easily adding up to excessive levels." So, not only should you watch out for the word caffeine, but green tea, guarana, and taurine can also be included in these supplements and contribute to the caffeine quantity. Excessive amounts of caffeine and other stimulants can also leave people feeling anxious, have difficulty sleeping, and lead to heart palpitations.

RELATED: Healthiest Supplements to Take, According to Experts

ACV Gummies

apple cider vinegar gummies

Ah—the trendy apple cider vinegar gummy. Since apple cider vinegar has become the darling of the natural remedy world, it is no wonder that ACV gummies have emerged as a popular supplement. But Mitri explains that, if you are looking for high-quality supplements, you may want to skip these gummies on your supplement shopping run. "While there are not many reports of harm from ACV gummies, there is limited research to back up their ingredients," she explained. "At this point, there is not enough proof that ACV supplements are effective in offering any benefits, and so you may simply be wasting your money."

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren