Energy Supplements You Should Avoid

Whether you want to improve your workout or stay focused during a long study session, energy supplements are a popular method for people looking for a boost during the day. However, many supplements come with side effects that can be harmful to certain individuals. Here's what you should know.

Energy supplements can come in many forms, including pills, capsules, gummies, and powders. They can be marketed for different purposes, like working out or getting through your afternoon slump, but all have the end goal of increasing your energy levels. The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to taking energy supplements is that few are approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (via Mic). This means they have not been tested by any source other than the company selling them.

This unregulated market means a lot of new products are pumped out into stores quickly. "A lot of these drugs are so new, the risk of serious complications isn't yet clear," Lisa Schwartz, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, told Women's Health. "They should be used only under a doctor's supervision."

Some ingredients are more harmful than others

Many people turn to caffeine for their energy boost, which has been shown to be safe when consumed in small doses (via Healthline). The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine at a time and do not exceed 400 mg per day. Energy supplements that contain more than 200 mg of caffeine in a single dose can cause anxiety, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure.

According to Consumer Reports, there are several ingredients found in some energy supplements that should always be avoided. One of these is methylsynephrine, which is also labeled as oxilofrine, p-hydroxyephedrine, oxyephedrine, and 4-HMP. This ingredient can cause abnormalities in your heart rate and even cardiac arrest. It should never be taken with other stimulants, as this can increase the risk of a negative side effect.

Some ingredients are thought to be mostly safe as long as they are taken in small quantities. One of these is guarana, which is an herb that contains caffeine and can cause the same side effects as caffeine when consumed in large doses (via WebMD). It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking any energy supplements.