6 “Hidden” Toxins in Your Health Supplements You Should Avoid
Written by: Anthony Alayon
Author of: 101 Toxic Food Ingredients
If you walk into any store selling supplements and pick up a number of bottles you’ll find many of them have one thing in common: a plethora of ingredients and terms that you don’t understand.
This is one of the dangers of supplements, as they aren’t required to list everything what’s in them.
While they contain hidden ingredients, many health supplements also contain toxins in the vitamins and minerals being used in their formulas. In particular there are six hidden toxins in a variety of supplements that should be avoided.
Hidden Toxin #1: Maltodextrin
Maltodextrin is generally used as a food additive, and is produced through partial hydrolysis from starch. Maltodextrin is rapidly absorbed by the body as glucose, and if tasted is slightly sweet.
It is commonly used in a variety of supplements. The maltodextrin in most supplements and natural products is derived from genetically modified corn, unless the product is certified USDA organic.
Hidden Toxin #2: Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid
One of the most surprising supplements to use genetically modified corn is vitamin C. Typically, all vitamin C used in supplements and in straight pill form is produced using genetically modified vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid.
Unfortunately, there is no readily available source of vitamin C in supplement form that doesn’t use genetically modified corn during production. You’d have to go outside the United States and hope to find a non-GMO supply.
Hidden Toxin #3: Hexane-Extracted Soy & Rice Proteins
Almost all of the soy protein supplements sold in North America are formulated in China using the hexane extraction method.
Hexane is a highly volatile and explosive chemical that’s not only an environmental hazard, but also a hazard to human health. The hexane extraction method leaves trace amounts of hexane mixed with the resulting soy and rice protein products.
To avoid hexane altogether you’ll need to limit your protein purchases to certified organic proteins.
Hidden Toxin #4: Aluminum
Detox products are all the rage these days, but they should be all the worry. Detox products on the whole feature high levels of aluminum and other metals, and with a large online selection and little regulation, consumers are at risk.
Hidden Toxin #5: Lead & Arsenic in Herbs from China
Luckily product origins are typically labelled in grocery stores, so with all of the pollution and pesticide use in China it’s easy for consumers to avoid herbs grown there. Chinese herbs are used in the production of supplements, resulting in high levels of lead and arsenic in some supplements.
Pre-packaged supplements and herbal products have also been known to contain excessive levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic due to lack of regulations during production and importing. Unfortunately for consumers, these dangers are not listed on the packaging of supplements and herbal products.
Hidden Toxin #6: Inorganic Minerals in Cheap Vitamins
There are many toxins in vitamins and minerals as well as hidden ingredients, but would you ever expect to find iron filings?
Cheaper vitamins and supplements often contain iron filings and other fillers. Calcium supplements have been found to contain ground up seashells, and straight magnesium is typically listed as magnesium oxide, which offers no nutritional value at all.
Overall, it’s important to read your supplement labels and question the origin of not only the ingredients, but also the way the ingredients were produced, where they were produced, and the products they were derived from.
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