Doctor examines risk of relaxation drinks

Published On: Jun 19 2012 01:54:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 20 2012 11:59:54 AM EDT

Looking for a way to chill out, some are turning to over-the-counter beverages promoting relaxation and better sleep, but some of the ingredients could be problematic for some people.

WESTON, Fla. -

In our fast-paced, high-energy world, many people find it hard to relax.

"This is a common complaint I hear, and everyone is trying to find a way to tune out the noise of the day," said Dr. Dahlia McCoy with the Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston.

Some are turning to over-the-counter relaxation drinks.

"These drinks are not considered FDA approved," said McCoy.

And, McCoy is concerned about some of the ingredients  

Drinks that contain valerian and kava kava may pose a risk of liver damage.

"You need to be concerned or worried if you have liver problems because if you mix it with other things it can cause liver toxicity or failure," said McCoy.

Some beverages contain melatonin, a hormone made by the body that helps control sleep cycles.

"While this may be safe in small doses, for short periods of time, some studies have shown that excess melatonin can lead to breast development in men," said McCoy.

Chamomile can pose a problem for people with certain allergies.

"This is related to the daisy flower and the mum, so people with allergies to these plants could have a severe allergic reaction to taking products with chamomile," said McCoy.

Last but not least, some beverages have high sugar content.

"This really won't help you relax, and it also can be a problem for people with diabetes and metabolic disorders who need to be careful about their sugar intake," said McCoy.

Many of the products with active ingredients have warnings about how much is safe to drink in a certain time frame, but McCoy said consumers need to be even more proactive.

"Always talk to your doctor about supplements you're taking, and these drinks should be included in that," she said.


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