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Archive for April, 2015

If you take weight-loss supplements, do you know what is in them? The previous blog (4-12-15) gave pertinent information on unidentified ingredients and other problems with those weight-loss products. I cited information to check to assure safety. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings continue. Now they have flagged:

  • Black Mamba Hyperrush,
  • Diablos ECA Fire Caps,
  • Natural Max Slimming,
  • Lean Body Extreme,
  • Botanical Slimming.

Even as a qualified dietitian-nutritionist, it is impossible to keep abreast of current products. However, if you should see any of the above promoted or on store shelves, be wary.

The first four products included sibutramine (Meridia), a substance banned in 2010 and mentioned in the earlier blog. This drug is especially harmful to those with heart disease.

These same products also contained phenolphthalein, a laxative once found in X-Lax and other laxative products. The government banned this drug in the 1990s because of its carcinogenic properties. All laxatives with this substance were withdrawn from the market.

Botanical Slimming added in fluoxetine, a type of antidepressant.

Three of the above products contained generic Viagra. Does anyone not recognize this product? This drug can cause serious health problems when taken with prescription drugs, especially those having nitrates.

These are only a few of the many products that may cause problems. A healthy 21-year-old in England took a weight-loss supplement containing DNP(dinitrophenol). DNP is an organic chemical used in the industrial industry, especially in cleaning products. DNP speeds up the body’s metabolism and actually burns from within. The young woman sensed symptoms and drove herself to the hospital. Toxicology reports revealed the substance, and medical personal could only watch helplessly because nothing could counteract the chemical. In the past several decades, FDA  officials linked DNP to at least 62 deaths.

How tragic. A vibrant life lost because of no control on labeling of weight-loss supplements. A former medical officer for FDA went so far as to say that most everyone selling dietary supplements for weight-loss was a liar and charlatan who preyed on those who did not understand the pharmacology of obesity. Strong words for those unknown pills and potions we take into our bodies.

Don’t be a victim. It may seem weight-loss the old-fashioned way of diet and exercise is slow─and usually it is. But at least you will live to tell about it, and your health and well-being will improve at the same time. Beware!

 

 

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In the early 20th century, peddlers hawked their wares to those living in scattered households along country roads and often at community gatherings. Charlatans loaded wagons and backs of cars with elixirs of unknown ingredients. Most customers thought it made them feel better.Now more sophisticated companies promote numerous supplements under the guise of fast weight loss. Suddenly we decide we must lose ten pounds, and company X tells us we can do that by taking their no-fail pills and potions.

Many people believe the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guarantees the safety of these supplements. Not so. While all drugs and medications must be proven safe, supplements come under a different category. Dietary and herbal supplements don‘t need FDA approval, but when consumers suspect safety issues, the FDA must investigate and take necessary steps to remove products from the market. Fourteen states recently urged congress to investigate the herbal supplement industry to assure public safety.

The FDA has found numerous so-called “miracle” weight-loss products that make false claims on their labels.

  • Products may have hidden active ingredients found in drugs for specific diseases.
  • Manufacturers may use unsafe ingredients that the FDA removed from the market.
  • Manufacturers may use compounds that haven’t been adequately studied in humans to confirm safety and effectiveness.

The FDA has found supplements containing sibutramine, a  prescription drug marketed as the weight-loss product Meridia. The FDA removed it from the market in October 2010 because it caused heart problems and strokes. A number of products have contained triamterene, a powerful diuretic which can cause serious side effects when not monitored by a health professional.

While some manufacturers sell tainted products online and often heavily promote them on social media, unsafe supplements also show up on store shelves. If you are taking or considering taking any weight-loss supplement, heed  these warning signs to help decide a product’s legitimacy.

  • Promise of “quick fix” to lose weight.
  • Words used in advertising such as “guaranteed” or “scientific breakthrough.”
  • Products marketed in a foreign language or through mass emails.
  • Products marketed as “quick and effective” or “totally safe.”
  • Advertising relying on “testimonials” of unbelievable results.
  • Products with unrealistic or exaggerated claims.
  • Claims that sound too good to be true.

Keep in mind that labels may mislead. While food labels are reliable and governed by the FDA, supplement labels may leave out certain listed ingredients, add unlisted substances that could be harmful, or exaggerate the amounts of certain ingredients listed. Several deaths have resulted from these products. Just remember, don’t take anything unless you know it is completely safe. Try healthier means, like real food and exercise, to help you lose weight.

 

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