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Hidden Dangers in Dietary Supplements

This post takes a look at recent reports on the hidden dangers that may be lurking in certain dietary supplements that could have a negative affect on health in a number of ways.

According to Consumer Reports, many dietary supplements that bring the promise of weight loss or enhanced athletic abilities contain ingredients that potentially could cause health issues such as heart problems, cancer as well as liver and kidney damage.

Congressional Investigation

A Congressional investigation into dietary herbal supplements that claim often unsubstantiated health benefits has found trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and others in almost all of the products they tested. While heavy metal contaminant levels were below established limits, investigators did discover troubling levels of pesticide residue present in 16 out of 40 supplements tested.

The president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (trade group representing the industry that produces dietary supplement), Steve Mister, said this news should not be a cause for concern amongst consumers. It was unsurprising that trace amounts of heavy metals were found in herbal supplements as they are routinely present in soil and the plants that the supplements are derived from.

One Third Considered Safe

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database of the Therapeutic Research Center contains more than 54,000 dietary supplements, but only around a third of them are considered to be safe as well as effective as supported by scientifically derived evidence.

Some of those include Proactol, Decatrim, Alli and Clinislim among others.

The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. lacks sufficient power to regulate these supplements adequately. What is more, the agency is rarely seen to use its limited powers to do so. The 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act does not permit the FDA to regulate health supplements in the same way that it does with prescription medications.

FDA Seeks More Authority

While the overseeing of health and dieting supplements has improved considerably in recent years, the FDA needs more authority and the necessary tools to ensure that all health and dietary supplements are as effective and safe as they are widely perceived to be by the consumers who take them. More work needs to be done in this area.

The bottom line is to be aware of the potential dangers of taking any kind of supplement that is marketed as an aid to weight reduction and always consult with your doctor before using them.


Posted on Thu, 05 Aug 2010 in News | 2 Comments

2 thoughts on "Hidden Dangers in Dietary Supplements"

Milionis says:

Once more a very good written post from you. Keep it up!

Harry says:

I have always been wary of taking supplements for weight loss and now I know why. I think the best way to lose weight is to do it the natural way through getting plenty of exercise in the fresh air and eating a balanced, healthy diet. Thanks for the update and bringing this information to me.