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5 Dangerous Supplements You Should Avoid

One of the problems facing anyone who wants to use dietary supplements to lose weight, gain weight, build muscles, improve their health and overcome physical disabilities is that over-the-counter supplements are not regulated like pharmaceuticals.

Many of these supplements are called "natural" when in fact they are the products of laboratories, not nature.

Many of them do not perform as advertised and some of them are downright harmful when ingested or inserted into your body.

Manufacturers and distributors of vitamins and supplements advertise in a wide variety of media, including bodybuilding magazines.

These media do have some responsibility for verifying that their advertisers are legitimate, but how far will they go when their primary interest is the advertising dollars.

One group of chemicals used in dietary supplements commonly found in men's magazine ads are:

* Gamma hydroxybutyric (GHB)

* Gamma bytyrolactone (GBL)

* 1,4 butanediol (BD)

These chemicals are also used in paint thinners and strippers and other industrial products.

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Some of the brand names of product that contain these products include: Revitalize Plus, Serenity, Enliven, GHRE, SomatoPro, NRG3, Thunder Nectar and Weight Belt Cleaner.

Also, GBL is found in: Longevity, Rivivarant, G.H.Revitalizer, Gamma G, Blue Nitro, Insom-X, Remforce, Firewater and Invigorate.

GBL has been used in products called "party drugs" because it will intensify the effects of alcohol. These are also referred to as "date-rape drugs."

GHB was banned by the USFDA in 1990 but companies switched to GBL and then to BD. All are very similar chemicals that convert in the body to GHB.

Another series of "natural" products that are of concern include the following:

* Androstenedione - Called "Andro" or "Andro-Stack" by bodybuilders looking for a boost in muscle building from increased testosterone. Users have an increased risk of cancer and it decreases HDL, the good cholesterol.

* Bitter Orange - works like the banned substance, "ephedrine," that was found in weight loss supplements. The dangers are high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

* Germander - Used in weight control formulations and has been linked to abnormal liver functions and irreversible liver disease.

* Yohimbe - Used as a male aphrodisiac and referred to as "herbal Viagra." Dangers are blood pressure problems, heart attacks and heart irregularities.

No list of dangerous dietary supplements is complete without touching upon anabolic steroids.

Originally formulated to help people heal from surgery, their usage was co-opted by the Russians in the late 1940s to enhance athletic performance. Soon after American athletic trainers got wind of this and began to experiment with them, too.

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The bodybuilding world became aware of steroids in the late 1950s and some serious competitors began to dose themselves. Usage picked up over the next few decades until it became hard to find a major bodybuilding competition that wasn't stuffed (pun intended) with blown-up, puffy-jawed muscle-heads.

Casual usage of Dianabol (methandrostenolone) and other anabolics got so rampant that even high school athletes were taking them, trying to get an edge over their competitors.

Problems arose because without medical supervision, abuses were common. Steroid use should be cycled over a three week period and not more than two cycles per year should be engaged in.

Physical problems associated with excessive use are cancer, high blood pressure, heart and other organ malfunctions, such as testicle atrophy.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is also being used by athletes looking for performance enhancements. Much like steroids, HGH may increase muscle development, energy and performance.

It may also increase a host of health problems.

The Iron Guru, Vince Gironda, decried the rise of steroid use by bodybuilders.

He used to say, "Why take Dianabol when loading up on eggs will accomplish the same thing?" Eggs being biologically close to human tissue are one of the best, natural sources of usable protein available.

truth about supplements

the truth about supplements

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