Food supplements with senna, caution danger

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Food supplements with senna, caution danger

In the slimming section, products rely on the laxative effects of senna. But it can lead to serious digestive problems…

Depending on the doses ingested, senna-based food supplements can be very aggressive for the intestine. This is the painful experience of one of our readers: after drinking a large cup of tea sold as a slimming product and containing senna, she woke up with terrible stomach cramps. ” Then I had diarrhea and stomach pains until the next evening “.

At the origin of such effects, there are probably hydroxyanthracenic derivatives (HAD), active substances present naturally in certain plants (leaves and fruits of senna, leaves of Aloe, root of rhubarb, etc.) and endowed with powerful laxative and purgative properties.

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A highly regulated medicinal plant

In a 2018 report, the National Academy of Pharmacy warned about the use of this plant in food supplements. ” It is a medicinal plant with a marked pharmacological action and traditionally used as a drug of the class of stimulant laxatives. [irritants, NDLR] explains Sylvie Michel, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy Paris Descartes and member of this academy. Its prolonged use is known to cause addiction and, in the long term, damage to the inner lining of the intestine. »

Not to mention the risk of heart rhythm disorders… This is why the quality and use of these plants, when sold as medicine, are strictly regulated (no more than 30 mg of active substance per day, use limited to seven days, etc.). ” The problem lies in their sale in the form of food supplements, which in this case is much less supervised », stresses Pierre Champy, professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Paris Saclay.

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A quantity of active substances often unknown

The free sale of these products is however authorized by the European Union. Provided that their labeling advises against their use for children under 12, pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as prolonged use. ” However, the quantity of active substances is free, and often, we do not know it! “, points out the researcher.

In addition, the boxes often contain a large quantity of capsules, encouraging consumers to ingest them for several weeks. And the professor points out that the consumption of senna or other laxative plants called ” stimulants for weight loss purposes is aberrant and dangerous “. Words that couldn’t be any clearer…

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Adverse effects to report

In the event of adverse effects (headaches, dizziness, itching, etc.) following the consumption of food supplements, individuals can make a declaration online on the ANSES website (National Health Security Agency food, environment and work).

In case of strong presumption and high severity, the latter can seize the public authorities to have the incriminated products checked or even withdrawn.

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