Banned ingredients in dietary supplements

Weight-loss and workout supplements can be found in just about any drug store these days. You could be under the impression that supplements are inherently safer than prescription medications. Not necessarily.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that lenient Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of supplements has enabled some cunning manufacturers to sneak banned ingredients into their supplements.

In the study, researchers examined the make-up of six different workout and weight-loss supplements. Findings indicated that each supplement contained stimulants that had previously been banned by the FDA. Some of these stimulants have been known to cause high blood pressure, shortness of breath and cardiac issues.

While there was no sign of prohibited ingredients anywhere on these supplements’ labels, each product listed either 2-aminoisoheptane (an ingredient previous unused in the supplement industry) or Aconitum kusnezoffii (a plant extract). It appears that supplement manufacturers have used such vague or innocuous terms as a back-door method of injecting illegal, potentially dangerous stimulants into supplements.

The health risks of supplements

You might think it’s safer to take supplements than medications. However, thousands of people visit the emergency room each year because of supplement use, according to the CDC. FDA regulations of supplements are less strict, compared to medication regulation. Supplement manufacturers are essentially allowed to follow an “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” policy: They can put a new supplement on the market without any regulation. If it is later found to be unsafe, the FDA will assess it.

What should you do?

Consider consulting your doctor before you begin taking any new supplement. Certified supplements also provide an extra layer of certainty with regard to contents. If you’ve suffered a medical condition as a result of taking supplements, consult a personal injury lawyer to understand your options.

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