People who take illegal health supplements only take them for one of two reasons. Either because they buy into the idea of the benefits the supplement has to offer, or because they have no idea what they’re buying or where they’re buying from.

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The UAE has a strict policy on what supplements can be brought in to the country and has zero-tolerance for illegal health supplements and medications. With that being said, illegal health supplements do still exist, and it’s important to know what the dangers of health supplements are.

Health Supplements in The UAE

Illegal Health Supplements

Possession of even the smallest amounts of illegal medication or supplements will be confiscated and punishable to all expatriates and travellers coming to and from the UAE. The best way to know if a supplement is legal or illegal is to visit the Ministry of Health website to see if a certain medication is verified or not.

The same goes for prescription medicine of any type. Be sure to bring a prescription for all the medication you carry, including details of how much you’re bringing and the duration you will be taking it for. 

Possible Dangers if You Take Illegal Health Supplements

Illegal Health Supplements

Here are the possible risks and dangers you put yourself in when taking illegal health supplements.

  • Aggravate existing health complications – If you already have an existing health complication whether it be something milder such as the flu or gastro to more serious complications such as diabetes or cancer, taking the wrong supplements or illegal ones will worsen the condition, and that’s the last thing you need when ill.
  • Poisoning – Illegal health supplements put you at risk of poisoning. This can compromise your entire health system and make you sick as opposed to improving your health. Poisoning can also occur when you overdose too much on a certain ingredient.
  • Malnutrition – Especially when taking dietary supplements, malnutrition can open the doors for so many other illnesses and diseases. Taking supplements with certain dangerous ingredients can prevent you from eating well and consuming the important nutrients that you need.
  • Unhealthy weight gain or weight loss – Illegal supplements, especially for dietary or athletic performance purposes, can lead to unhealthy weight management. Some supplements can blow up your weight to unhealthy and unsustainable levels. Illegal health supplements can also put you grossly underweight due to malnutrition.
  • Weakened immune system – Certain ingredients can weaken and destroy all the cells in your body, making your body more susceptible to illnesses and diseases. A weakened immune system can also be the result of malnutrition or poisoning that is also caused by poor supplementation.
  • Difficult treatment process – Taking illegal or banned substances can be hard to treat. Especially if the supplement you are taking is from overseas and is not common in the country, doctors within the UAE may not have the facilities or resources to be able to treat its side effects. This can prove a big hassle to doctors as well as putting your health at adverse risk. 

Other side effects and risks of illegal supplements include:

  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hallucinations
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack and other circulatory problems
  • Drop-in blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination and impaired motor ability
  • Death

Do Your Research

Illegal Health Supplements

When shopping for supplements, there are so many different product brands, types, varieties, and sellers. At this stage, it’s all up to your judgment to pick the right ones and avoid the bad ones. Even though a supplement may be legal in another country, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to use it.

There’s a ban for a reason so you need to be cautious as you would with your health. Before purchasing or consuming a health supplement, make sure you research what’s in it, the product’s history, and whether the seller is legitimate. 

Consider a Healthier Lifestyle

Most people don’t need supplementation if they’re already doing all the right things in their daily lives. This includes eating well, staying physically active and getting sufficient rest.

Taking basic supplements such as protein supplements, fish oil and multivitamins should be enough if you are looking after your health well. Anything outside of that needs to be heavily considered. Moderating all your supplements is also key as you can overdose even on basic or common supplements.

Speak with Your Doctor, and You’ll be Fine

Illegal health supplements and its dangers can be avoided entirely if you speak to your doctor regarding what you’re trying to do with your health. Whether you’re supplementing for general health, athletic performance, or enhanced cognitive ability, always speak with your doctor to identify what exactly you’re trying to achieve and what supplements you can and can’t take based on your health condition.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.