Narrator: This is Science Today. With the rising popularity of alternative medicine, there's been a boom of dietary supplements on the market. Christine Haller, a toxicologist at the University of California, San Francisco says with this rise, there should also be an increased awareness of what you take.
Haller: Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA and they're not considered to be a food or drug. And therefore, people sort of have access to them indiscriminately and we are seeing some adverse affects being reported.
Narrator: In particular, Haller says ma haung, an herbal form of a stimulant called ephedrine which is used to enhance athletic performance, have caused adverse effects - the most serious being chest pains which indicate the possibility of a heart attack. Haller says most products do contain some sort of warning label.
Haller: But the problem is that a lot of the population being targeted for use of these products are adolescents and young adults who generally don't feel that they're at risk for any adverse effects an so they may not read the warning labels.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.