Health & Spirit

It's risky mixing herbal supplements with OTC or Rx meds

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Amazon offers 38 types of herbal supplements and each one, from aloe to yohimbe, comes in a multitude of brands and formulations. Americans spend $2.1 billion a year on herbals, but no herbal or weight-loss supplements are preapproved for sale! All the Food and Drug Administration can do is pull a dangerous or deceitful offering off the shelf -- once it has harmed or cheated people! And they do that frequently: Just Google "tainted weight loss products FDA" and "fraudulent dietary supplements FDA" for in-depth info.

A new study in The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looked at risks that herbal supplements pose to anyone taking meds for cardiovascular diseases (warfarin), cancer (chemo) and kidney transplants (immune suppressants). Sage, flaxseed, St. John's wort, cranberry, goji juice, green tea and chamonilla (chamomile) caused or were associated with the most significant reactions. For example, "cases of acute rejection episodes have been reported in heart, renal or liver transplant patients stabilized on immunosuppressives, including cyclosporine and tacrolimus due to concomitant intake of St John's wort."

Weight-loss supplements are not proven to be effective and also pose risks: The Office of Dietary Supplements cautions "weight-loss products marketed as dietary supplements are sometimes adulterated or tainted with ... pharmaceutically active ingredients that could be harmful."

Be smart, be safe: Don't combine herbal supplements with Rx or OTC meds! Don't depend on magic pills for weight loss. Get a well-balanced nutritious diet, walk 10,000 steps daily and use reliable supplements responsibly (vitamin D-3, DHA omega-3s, low-dose multivitamins) after you talk to your doc!


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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