The dietary supplement you’re taking could be tainted with prescription medications and dangerous hidden ingredients, according to a new study

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Many over-the-counter dietary supplement products – particularly those used for sexual enhancement and weight loss – are tainted with undisclosed pharmaceutical ingredients. That is the key finding of my recently published review in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

My assessment of the Food and Drug Administration’s Health Fraud Product Database turned up 1,068 unique dietary supplement products marketed between 2007 to 2021 that contained active ingredients found in prescription drugs or deemed too dangerous to be used in people. Among the tainted dietary supplements that my

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Supplements That Can Be Deadly When Combined With Prescription Drugs

Everyday supplements, such as calcium, vitamin K, and potassium, can turn deadly when combined with prescription medications.

Vitamin D supplements

If you don’t think you’re getting enough vitamin D, you may want to try supplements.

Science Photo Library/Getty Images


Vitamins are essential for maintaining optimal body functions, from regulating heartbeats to healing wounds.

In general, people can get most of the vitamins they need from eating a well-balanced diet, but doctors might suggest or prescribe supplements in severely deficient patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that Americans are particularly deficient in vitamin B6, iron,


vitamin D

, and vitamin

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