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FDA Issues New Warning About 9 Supplements With "Toxic" Ingredient

The harmful substance can lead to serious health effects, including death.

Cold and flu season doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon, and for many of us, staying on top of our health means taking daily vitamins or supplements. But now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid purchasing online dietary supplements containing tejocote root, as they could have been replaced with a "potentially fatal" substance.

Tejocota root is an organic supplement that can have a positive impact on your heart and bone health and can help boost your immunity thanks to the high amounts of vitamin C typically found in the natural ingredient. However, the substitute ingredient found in some of these supplements offers none of these health benefits. On the contrary, ingesting the "toxic" substance could land you in the hospital.

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According to the FDA, certain dietary supplements marketed as tejocote root—Crataegus mexicana—are actually Cascabela thevetia, an extremely poisonous plant native to Mexico and Central America that also goes by the name "yellow oleander."

The FDA's in-depth analysis found that of the nine tejocote root dietary supplements they sampled and tested, all contained yellow oleander. These toxic products were made available online by Amazon and Etsy, as well as other third-party vendors.

Because of yellow oleander's highly toxic properties, the FDA is urging customers to stop using and to discard the products immediately.

"Ingestion of yellow oleander can cause neurologic, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular adverse health effects that may be severe, or even fatal," per the FDA. "Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cardiac changes, dysrhythmia, and more."

If you believe that you have taken or are currently taking yellow oleander masked as tejocote root, the FDA recommends speaking with your doctor immediately—especially if you've been experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms.

"Even if these products have not been used recently, consumers should still inform their health care provider about which product they took, so that an appropriate evaluation may be conducted," the release reads.

The FDA notes that this is an open investigation and that they are in contact with third-party vendors to eliminate the distribution of these toxic products.

This isn't the first time the FDA has discovered yellow oleander hidden in supplements, however. In Sept. 2023, the OBC Group Corp issued a voluntary recall of its Nut Diet Max brand Nuez de la India seeds and capsule, which were targeted towards customers wanting to lose weight. One person was hospitalized as a result, and the weight loss supplement was pulled from shelves, per a Sept. 18 release.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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