Patients warned to think twice about consuming these supplements

Products contain 'wildly inaccurate' levels of banned ingredient that can affect heart

Patients are being urged to avoid supplements containing a botanical-based product that could have profound effects on the heart.

US researchers tested 24 products, mainly weight-loss or sports supplements, labelled as containing higenamine, an ingredient banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because of its beta-agonist effects.

The amount of higenamine, also known as norcoclaurine and demethylcoclaurine, varied from trace amounts up to 62mg per serving, with the daily dose reaching up to 110mg per day, the analysis revealed.

"When it comes to higenamine, we don't yet know for certain what effect high dosages will have in the human body, but a series of preliminary studies suggest that it might have profound effects on the heart and other organs,” said co-author Dr Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

An internet search reveals a number of the products