Nutritional supplements are a $26 billion-a-year industry, but there is no Food and Drug Administration oversight. It's up to watchdogs like Consumer Reports to keep the public informed.
Recently, the magazine consulted clinical research and case reports to come up with its list of "12 supplements you should avoid." Take our quiz based on the list.
1. Kava, a South American plant, has been used to treat anxiety. But it's been shown to cause liver damage. Which of these countries has not banned the use of kava?
b) United States
2. Country mallow, used to treat allergies and bronchitis and to promote weight loss, contains ephedrine, an amphetaminelike stimulant banned by the FDA in 2004. What are among the possible dangers of ingesting the supplement?
a) heart attack
b) kidney failure
c) neurological disorders
3. Coltsfoot, a plant used to treat sore throats and asthma that has been shown to cause cancer and liver damage, goes by many other names. Which is not one of the pseudonyms?
a) ass's foot
b) foal's foot
c) nag's foot
4. Aconite, popular in Hong Kong, has caused respiratory-system paralysis and death due to herbal poisoning. For which of these is the plant not purportedly useful?
a) weight loss
c) joint pain
5. The bark of yohimbe, an evergreen tree found in Zaire, can lead to heart problems and death. What is foremost among the herb's purported properties?
a) It's an aphrodisiac
b) It's a "natural" muscle builder
c) It's a hangover cure
ANSWERS: 1: b; 2: a; 3: c; 4: a; 5: c