When Good Pills Go Bad


I really like buying nutritional supplements. In fact I find the entire naturopathic shopping process to be downright riveting! I'll be out drinking sparkling ginger mint juleps with friends, when a boo will casually tell me, “Pumpkin seed extract is changing my life! My magnesium levels are finally where they should be!” Magnesium? Oh God! What foods have magnesium? Am I already taking something with magnesium in it? Will my lack of focus on this element become my undoing? Eugh! Cue Irish exit! Commence emergency magnesium research!

Now, you may think at this point in your life that you are pretty good at Google-ing. Madam, I can assure you that you are no match for me. Did you skim that research paper by a university in southern Thailand about kelp extracts' promising results in hair growth? I did. Minimal side-effects seen in rats in a study from 1974. Send it to my veins! A pre-cursor to serotonin? Why stop at 5000mg?? If you can find me a blog post about a culture who has been consuming [INSERT PLANT HERE] for thousands of years and ended up with low blood pressure and luminous heads of hair, you have my attention!

But don't get me wrong, I'm not a pill head or anything. In fact, I've cut my routine down to around three supplements taken with any regularity, and I think they work! But if they don't, at least I get to feel proactive about my health. Which is all well and good, but this post is about when self-medicating blows up in your face (...or stomach).

So about seven years ago, an off-again-off-again girlfriend told me she was thinking about starting the Master Cleanse. If you aren't familiar, the premise of the Master Cleanse is that you stop eating food and start drinking lemon water (along with cayenne, maple syrup, salt water, and a laxative tea). Truly an evolution in human consumption and dietary thought! As a scientific person (I took AP Biology in high school), I deemed the entire premise unfit for Mick-sumption... But the cayenne part piqued my interest! Which quickly led to some Yahoo-ing (remember, this was seven years ago) and an eventual purchase of a large bottle of cayenne pepper pills. High five!

I'll just cut to the chase and tell you that if you are going to take cayenne pills, you need to eat first. But the good news is that if you are wondering what happens when you don't, I recorded my experience in my LiveJournal:

Just took some cayenne pills!

I feel healthier already!

Type type type type click type click

Click type type type click...(pause)

Hmmm, getting a little toasty in here!

Click click click type type type

I'm sweating. Jeez! I think I need to lie down.

Yikes! It tastes like burning.





Since this is the abridged version, I'll just tell you that those exclamation points went on for two more hours of burning pain.

I'm hopeful that relaying my experience here can save at least one person the trouble of melting their stomach. To put on my “ITG Dad' hat for a moment (I'm neither a father nor a hat-wearer), sometimes it really is best to talk to a medical professional about the diet you're trying, the oil you're pulling, or the pill you're swallowing. *nods head * *takes off hat *

With that out of the way, let's continue the tradition of non-healthcare professionals talking about medical issues on the internet *! Have you had a cayenne-tastrophe? A webMD inspired oil-lergic reaction? DO TELL! I'll be watching the comments all day!

*Consult your primary care physician before following any medical advice found below (or above). Additionally, if a commenter identifies themselves as a doctor, assume they are at best a Spin Doctor and at worst a 13-year-old.