Consumer Reports' 'Dirty Dozen': 12 Risky Supplements

Consumer Reports lists the products that may do more harm than good.

ByABC News
August 2, 2010, 7:19 PM

Aug. 3, 2010— -- Last year, Americans spent nearly $27 billion on dietary supplements -- but critics say some of them could be risky.

On "Good Morning America," ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser discussed the "dirty dozen" supplement ingredients list released by Consumer Reports.

While the products on the list may not be the top sellers in the category, they are both popular and readily available on health store aisles.

To learn whether you may be taking one or more of these "dirty dozen" products, have a look at CR's list below. And if you have any questions about the supplements you may be taking, remember to talk openly and honestly with your doctor. Your health may be at stake.

1. Aconite

Other names: aconiti tuber, aconitum, radix aconiti

Purported uses: Inflammation, joint pain, wounds, gout

Possible risks: Toxicity, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, respiratory system paralysis, heart rhythm disorders, death

2. Bitter Orange

Other names: aurantii fructus, citrus aurantium, zhi shi

Purported uses: Weight loss, nasal congestion, allergies

Possible risks: Fainting, heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, stroke, death

3. Chaparral

Other names: creosote bush, larrea divaricata, larreastat

Purported uses: Colds, weight loss, infections, inflammation, cancer, detoxification

Possible risks: Liver damage, kidney problems

4. Colloidal Silver

Other names: ionic silver, native silver, silver in suspending agent

Purported uses: Fungal and other infections, Lyme disease, rosacea, psoriasis, food poisoning, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS

Possible risks: Bluish skin, mucous membrane discoloration, neurological problems, kidney damage

5. Coltsfoot

Other names: coughwort, farfarae folium leaf, foalswort

Purported uses: Cough, sore throat, laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma

Possible risks: Liver damage, cancer