Many energy boosting supplements contain hormones and steroids that cause dangerous side effects, according to a new study carried out by the Mayo Clinic.
The researchers bought the 12 most popular dietary supplements for enhancing energy, then analysed the ingredients in the lab. All of the supplements contained a thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine, and most had at least one steroid hormone.
Too much thyroid hormone can cause life-threating heart problems, weight loss, tremors and skeletal damage, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Halis Kaan Akturk.
Seven of the supplements tested also contained at least one steroid hormone, which, when taken accidentally, can cause depression, acne, weight gain, hair loss, and a potentially life-threating shutdown of the adrenal glands.
None of the products tested mentioned any thyroid or steroid hormones on their labels or ingredient lists. It’s also not clear what dose of these hormones, over what period of time, might lead to side effects, said
Dr. Pieter Cohen, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who wasn’t involved in the study, said: ‘There is no question that if you take too much hormones they can have serious adverse effects. But the amounts in the supplements tested in the study might be too small to cause problems.’
‘My recommendation is to stick to the vitamin and mineral supplements that a physician recommends. If someone is feeling generally fatigued or low energy but doesn’t yet feel the need to see a physician, I would recommend trying to eat healthier, get additional exercise and get some extra sleep as the next best step rather than looking for a solution in a bottle of supplements.’