Foods, Herbs, Additives, all can have serious side effects.  

Some dietary supplements may interact with prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Combining supplements or using supplements together with medicines (prescription or over-the-counter) could under certain circumstances produce undesirable effects, some life-threatening. Be alert to warnings about these products, whether taken alone or in combination. For example, Coumadin (a prescription medicine), gingko biloba (an herb), aspirin (an over-the-counter drug) and vitamin E (a vitamin) can each thin the blood, and taking any of these products together can increase the potential for internal bleeding. Combining St. John’s Wort with certain HIV drugs significantly reduces their effectiveness. St. John’s Wort may also reduce the effectiveness of prescription drugs for heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers or birth control pills.

Some dietary supplements can have unwanted effects during surgery. It is important to tell your doctor about vitamins, minerals, herbs or any other supplements you are taking, especially before surgery. You may be asked to stop taking these products at least 2-3 weeks before an operation to avoid potentially dangerous supplement/drug interactions—such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure and increased bleeding— that could negatively affect your surgery.

 

Other Safety Tips…

  • Do not take larger than recommended doses of herbs.

  • Elderly people should not take herbs without the approval of a doctor. It is a good idea for everyone to check with their health care provider before taking dietary supplements.

  • Avoid long term use of herbs (more than several weeks).

  • Take time to study about your supplements so you know about them and can avoid problems.

Reporting Adverse Effects

Adverse effects from using dietary supplements should be reported to MedWatch (the program for reporting problems with FDA-regulated products).
You, your health care provider, or anyone may report a serious adverse event or illness to the FDA if you believe it is related to the use of any dietary supplement product. The FDA would like to know when you think a product caused a serious problem, even if you are not sure that the product was the cause or do not visit a doctor or clinic. In addition to telling FDA online or by phone, you may use the MedWatch form available from the FDA Web site.

Telephone: 1-800-FDA-1088
Fax: 1-800-FDA-0178 (using a MedWatch reporting form)
Online: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/how.htm

Possible Side Effects and Interactions

This list is a sample and does not contain all herbs that may cause the listed or other conditions or hazards. All herb use should be approved by a health care provider.

Possible Risk of Increased Bleeding (Especially with Surgery)

  • Chamomile

  • Dong Quai

  • Feverfew

  • Fish Oil

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Gingko

  • Ginseng

  • St. John’s Wort

  • Vitamin E

  • May Worsen Swelling (Edema) and/or HighBlood Pressure (Hypertension)

  • Celery

  • Dandelion

  • Elder

  • Goldenseal

  • Guaiacum

  • Juniper

  • Interacts with Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory  Drugs (prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers including aspirin, Advil®, Motrin® and Aleve®)

  • Feverfew

  • Gingko

  • Ginseng

  • St. John’s Wort

  • Uva-Ursi

Resources: https://www.spine.org/KnowYourBack/Treatments/Alternative-Medicine/Herbal-Supplements

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Food Additives to Avoid

While FDA generally recognizes most additives on this list as ‘safe,’ there are growing concerns about the safety of many common food additives, if consumed in large quantities.

  1. Sodium nitrate: Added to processed meats to stop bacterial growth. Linked to cancer in humans. (Worst Offender)

  2. Sulfites: Used to keep prepared foods fresh. Can cause breathing difficulties in those sensitive to the ingredient.

  3. Azodicarbonamide: Used in bagels and buns. Can cause asthma.

  4. Potassium bromate: Added to breads to increase volume. Linked to cancer in humans.

  5. Propyl gallate: Added to fat-containing products. Linked to cancer in humans

  6. BHA/BHT: A fat preservative, used in foods to extend shelf life. Linked to cancerous tumor growth.

  7. Propylene glycol: Better known as antifreeze. Thickens dairy products and salad dressing. Deemed ‘generally’ safe by FDA.

  8. Butane: Put in chicken nuggets to keep them tasting fresh. A known carcinogen.

  9. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Flavor enhancer that can cause headaches. Linked in animal studies to nerve damage, heart problems and seizures.

  10. Disodium inosinate: In snack foods. Contains MSG.

  11. Disodium guanylate: Also used in snack foods, and contains MSG.

  12. Enriched flour: Used in many snack foods. A refined starch that is made from toxic ingredients.

  13. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH): Geneticially-engineered version of natural growth hormone in cows. Boosts milk production in cows. Contains high levels of IGF-1, which is thought cause various types of cancer.

  14. Refined vegetable oil: Includes soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. High in omega-6 fats, which are thought to cause heart disease and cancer.

  15. Sodium benzoate: Used as a preservative in salad dressing and carbonated beverages. A known carcinogen and may cause damage our DNA.

  16. Brominated vegetable oil: Keeps flavor oils in soft drinks suspended. Bromate is a poison and can cause organ damage and birth defects. Not required to be listed on food labels.

  17. Propyl gallate: Found in meats, popcorn, soup mixes and frozen dinners. Shown to cause cancer in rats. Banned in some countries. Deemed safe by FDA.

  18. Olestra: Fat-like substance that is unabsorbed by the body. Used in place of natural fats in some snack foods. Can cause digestive problems, and also not healthy for the heart.

  19. Carrageenan: Stabilizer and thickening agent used in many prepared foods. Can cause ulcers and cancer.

  20. Polysorbate 60: A thickener that is used in baked goods. Can cause cancer in laboratory animals.

  21. Camauba wax: Used in chewing gums and to glaze certain foods. Can cause cancer and tumors.

  22. Magnesium sulphate: Used in tofu, and can cause cancer in laboratory animals.

  23. Chlorine dioxide: Used in bleaching flour. Can cause tumors and hyperactivity in children.

  24. Paraben: Used to stop mold and yeast forming in foods. Can disrupt hormones in the body, and could be linked to breast cancer.

  25. Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose: Used as a thickener in salad dressings. Could cause cancer in high quantities.

  26. Aluminum: A preservative in some packaged foods that can cause cancer

Artificial Sweeteners to Avoid

Artificial sweeteners are regulated by FDA, just as food additives are, but this does not apply to products ‘generally recognized as safe.

  1. Saccharin: Carcinogen found to cause bladder cancer in rats. (Worst Offender)

  2. Aspartame: An excitotoxin and thought to be a carcinogen. Can cause dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and stomach problems.

  3. High fructose corn syrup: Sweetener made from corn starch. Made from genetically-modified corn. Causes obesity, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis and insulin resistance.

  4. Acesulfame potassium: Used with other artificial sweeteners in diet sodas and ice cream. Linked to lung and breast tumors in rats.

  5. Sucralose: Splenda. Can cause swelling of liver and kidneys and a shrinkage of the thymus gland.

  6. Agave nectar: Sweetener derived from a cactus. Contains high levels of fructose, which causes insulin resistance, liver disease and inflammation of body tissues.

  7. Bleached starch: Can be used in many dairy products. Thought to be related to asthma and skin irritations.

  8. Tert butylhydroquinone: Used to preserve fish products. Could cause stomach tumors at high doses.

Artificial Food Colorings to Avoid

Food colorings are used to give foods a more attractive appearance, but some experts believe they cause serious health problems, including asthma and hyperactivity in children.

  1. Red #40: Found in many foods to alter color. All modern food dyes are derived from petroleum. A carcinogen that is linked to cancer in some studies. Also can cause hyperactivity in children. Banned in some European countries. (Worst Offender)

  2. Blue #1: Used in bakery products, candy and soft drinks. Can damage chromosomes and lead to cancer.

  3. Blue #2: Used in candy and pet food beverages. Can cause brain tumors

  4. Citrus red #1: Sprayed on oranges to make them look ripe. Can damage chromosomes and lead to cancer.

  5. Citrus red #2: Used to color oranges. Can cause cancer if you eat the peel.

  6. Green #3: Used in candy and beverages. May cause bladder tumors.

  7. Yellow #5:  Used in desserts, candy and baked goods.Thought to cause kidney tumors, according to some studies.

  8. Yellow #6: A carcinogen used in sausage, beverages and baked goods. Thought to cause kidney tumors, according to some studies.

  9. Red #2: A food coloring that may cause both asthma and cancer.

  10. Red #3: A carcinogen. that is added to cherry pie filling, ice cream and baked goods. May cause nerve damage and thyroid cancer.

  11. Caramel coloring: In soft drinks, sauces, pastries and breads. When made with ammonia, it can cause cancer in mice. Food companies not required to disclose if this ingredient is made with ammonia.

  12. Brown HT: Used in many packaged foods. Can cause hyperactivity in children, asthma and cancer.

  13. Orange B: A food dye that is used in hot dog and sausage casings.  High doses are bad for the liver and bile duct.

  14. Bixin: Food coloring that can cause hyperactivity in children and asthma.

  15. Norbixin:  Food coloring that can cause hyperactivity in children and asthma.

  16. Annatto: Food coloring that can cause hyperactivity in children and asthma.

Conclusion

  • Avoid fast foods

  • Avoid soda and sugary drinks & juice

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and grains

  • Eat hormone free meat

  • Drink hormone free milk

  • Know what you’re eating!

Thank you references:

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Know which toxic food ingredients to avoid:

1. Palm Oil

When a regular fat like corn, soybean, or palm oil is blasted with hydrogen and turned into a solid, it becomes a trans fat. These evil anti-nutrients help packaged foods stay "fresh," meaning that the food can sit on the supermarket shelf for years without ever getting stale or rotting. Eating junk food with trans fats raises your "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers your "good" HDL. These fats also increase your risk of blood clots and heart attack. Avoid palm oil and other trans fats like the plague, and kiss fried foods goodbye too, since they're usually fried in one of these freakish trans-fatty oils.

2. Shortening

Ditch any food that lists shortening or partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, since these are also evil trans fats. In addition to clogging your arteries and causing obesity, they also increase your risk of metabolic syndrome. Choose healthier monounsaturated fats, such as olive, peanut and canola oils and foods that contain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids instead.

3. White Flour, Rice, Pasta, and Bread

When a whole grain is refined, most of its nutrients are sucked out in an effort to extend its shelf life. Both the bran and germ are removed, and therefore all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Because these stripped down, refined grains are devoid of fiber and other nutrients, they're also easy to digest — TOO EASY. They send your blood sugar and insulin skyrocketing, which can lead to all sorts of problems. Replace processed grains with whole grains, like brown or wild rice, whole-wheat breads and pastas, barley, and oatmeal.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup

The evil king of all refined grains is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The amount of refined sugar we consume has declined over the past 40 years, but we're consuming almost 20 times as much HFCS. According to researchers at Tufts University, Americans consume more calories from HFCS than any other source. It's in practically EVERYTHING. It increases triglycerides, boosts fat-storing hormones, and drives people to overeat and gain weight. Adopt my zero-tolerance policy, and steer clear of this sweet "poison."

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low, SugarTwin), and sucralose (Splenda) may be even harder on our metabolic systems than plain old sugar. These supposedly diet-friendly sweeteners may actually be doing more harm than good! Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners trick the brain into forgetting that sweetness means extra calories, making people more likely to keep eating sweet treats without abandon. Nip it in the bud. Scan ingredient labels and ban all artificial sweeteners from entering your mouth.

6. Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate

These preservatives are sometimes added to soda to prevent mold from growing, but benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked with serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Don't risk it, people

7. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

BHA is another potentially cancer-causing preservative, but it has been deemed safe by the FDA. Its job is to help prevent spoilage and food poisoning, but it's a major endocrine disruptor and can seriously mess with your hormones. BHA is in HUNDREDS of foods. It's also found in food packaging and cosmetics. BHA has many aliases. You can look them up. Or you can follow my advice and DITCH processed foods altogether.

8. Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites

No that's not a typo. These two different preservatives are found in processed meats like bacon, lunch meat, and hot dogs. They're some of the worst offenders, and they're believed to cause colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. Protect your health by always choosing fresh, organic meats.

9. Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow

The artificial colors blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. Always seek out foods with the fewest artificial chemicals, especially when shopping for your kids. Look for color-free medications and natural food products that don't contain artificial colors like these.

10. MSG

Monosodium glutamate is a processed "flavor enhancer." While glutamates are present in some natural foods, such as meat and cheese, the ones exploited by the processed-foods industry are separated from their host proteins through hydrolysis. The jury is still out on how harmful MSG may be, but high levels of free glutamates have been shown to seriously screw with brain chemistry. Don't fall prey to chemical flavor enhancing. Just play it safe and flavor your food naturally.

Information taken from https://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/043011_top-ten-toxic-ingredients-in-processed-food_01.html

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"GMOs are not natural and could never happen naturally," says Jennifer Teems, MS, RD, LD, a Piedmont clinical dietitian. "But it's important to remember that foods and products today are held to much higher standards than ever before in history." 

How do GMOs affect the body?

According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), there are no human clinical trials of GMO foods, but those done with animals indicate serious health risks linked to GMOs. These include:

Another concern is that because these foods are engineered to withstand herbicides, more of the toxic substances are sprayed on the plants, which ultimately increases the trace amounts of herbicides found in foods.

"Food is so complex that it’s hard to study it and determine the ramifications of GMOs," says Teems. "I tell my patients not to fixate on avoiding GMOs, because that’s nearly impossible. Instead, concentrate on eating a heart-healthy diet that is high in fruits and veggies, and low in added sugar and processed foods.”

Which foods have GMOs?

The most common genetically modified crops in the U.S. are:

  • Canola

  • Corn

  • Cotton

  • Papaya

  • Soy

  • Sugar beets

  • Yellow squash

  • Zucchini

Products derived from these foods, including oils, all contain traces of GMOs. The 10 most popular foods that contain GMOs are:

  1. Carbonated soft drinks (high fructose corn syrup made from sugar beets)

  2. Milk (cows are fed genetically modified soy products)

  3. Meat (farm animals are raised with genetically modified feed containing soy products)

  4. Tofu (GMO soy beans)

  5. Vegetable and canola oils (rapeseed - canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower)

  6. Cereals (corn and soy products and non-cane sugars)

  7. Sweetened juices (corn- and sugar beet-based sweeteners)

  8. Baby formula (GMO corn, sugar beets and soy)

  9. Frozen foods (starch is added from GM corn, fats and oils from GM plants, citric acid made from GM microorganisms)

  10. Canned soups (corn-based thickeners and flavoring enhancements)

How to avoid GMOs

Food manufacturers are not required to label if their food is genetically modified, but GMO labeling advocates continue to raise concerns surrounding this issue. Until laws change, there is some hope for steering clear of GMOs if you wish to do so. The following guidelines may help you keep the GMOs in your diet to a minimum:

  1. Buy food that is labeled 100 percent organic. It has no GMOs.

  2. Choose whole foods that you can prepare yourself instead of processed or prepackaged foods.

  3. Look for "non-GMO" or "GMO-free" labels.

  4. Purchase grass-fed beef.

  5. Shop at local farmers markets. These are much less likely to carry genetically-altered foods.

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Herbs that can be dangerous

St. John's Wort

This popular supplement is often taken for depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. But it can cause side effects like headache, nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth. And it may make you more likely to get sunburned. It also can cause problems if you take certain drugs -- from heart medicines to antidepressants, and even birth control pills. And it can make some chemotherapy less effective.  

 

Kava

This is supposed to help with anxiety and insomnia. But it may cause liver damage, like hepatitis. So you shouldn't take it if you have liver or kidney problems. Kava also can be dangerous if you drink alcohol or take other drugs that make you sleepy.

Ginkgo

People often take this to try to improve their memory. Some believe ginkgo biloba also helps with circulation, mental function, and altitude sickness, among other health conditions. But it can thin your blood and cause bleeding. That's especially risky if you take blood-thinning drugs.

Arnica

Some people believe rubbing oil from this plant on their skin helps ease pain from bruising, as well as from swelling and aches. Others take the supplement to try to help with constipation. But eating the herb can raise your blood pressure and cause a fast heartbeat and shortness of breath. It can even damage your liver, or bring on a coma or death.

Ginger

People take this to try to ease nausea brought on by surgery, chemotherapy, or motion sickness. And sometimes it's used to treat arthritis or other joint pain. But ginger may cause problems with blood clotting, heart rhythms, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor before taking this if you are on blood thinners or have diabetes.

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