Study Finds Dangerous Substances In Supplements

Study Finds Dangerous Substances In Supplements

About 20 percent of the warnings identified products containing more than one unapproved ingredient, the investigators found.

Around 45 per cent of the dodgy products were marketed for sexual enhancement, while around 41 per cent targeted weightloss, and 12 per cent claimed to bolster muscle-building. Further, poison control centers evidently received over 1,000 reports of adverse reactions to dietary supplements over a span of three years.

An estimated 50 percent of Americans consume some type of dietary supplement, sustaining a $35 billion industry.

The greatest number of products found to contain hidden ingredients were reported in 2009, when two large recalls together named 99 products.

The team based their research on an analysis of an FDA database that identifies "tainted" supplements; meaning that the product contains ingredients that are not listed on the label.

The most common drugs found in supplements were sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) for sex supplements, sibutramine (a banned weight-loss drug) for weight-loss supplements, and synthetic steroids or steroid-like ingredients for muscle-building supplements, the researchers said.

A different study found earlier that dietary supplement use was associated with 23 000 emergency department visits and 2000 hospitalizations in the United States each year.

Researchers from the California Department of Public Health found that, from 2007 to 2016, 776 products marketed as dietary supplements contained hidden ingredients that are unsafe or unstudied. Therefore, they do not have to adhere to the strict rules or be subject to regulatory oversight like pharmaceuticals.

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Almost 800 dietary supplements sold over the counter from 2007 through 2016 contained unapproved drug ingredients, a new analysis of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data found.

Nearly 800 tainted warnings were issued during the review period for supplements manufactured by 147 different companies, though some involved multiple warnings about the same supplement, the study authors said. Numerous adulterated muscle building products contained undeclared anabolic steroids, which, when abused, can lead to mental problems in the short term and kidney problems, liver damage and heart problems in the long term.

"Only 360 of 746 (48 per cent) were recalled, leaving the majority of adulterated supplements, more than 350 products, available for sale", Cohen said. Officials with the FDA are cracking down on e-cigarette companies and warning that some products could be removed from the market, The Hill reported. The database contains supplements that the FDA has purchased, tested and found to be adulterated.

Cohen said any meaningful solution will require a change in the laws that govern the way the FDA monitors supplements.

FDA spokeswoman Lindsay Haake wrote in an email that "the FDA recognizes the seriousness of this problem and continues to act within its resources and authorities to address this problem as best it can".

"The agency's failure to aggressively use all available tools to remove pharmaceutically adulterated supplements from commerce leaves consumers' health at risk", Dr. Pieter Cohen, a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study.

Experts are calling on the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to take urgent action to remove the affected products from the market.

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