New report suggests supplements contain unauthorized ingredients
If you are like a lot of people, you probably take some type of dietary supplement for health purposes. In fact, a 2017 report suggests nearly a third of Americans do so. Does this describe you?
If so, now might be a good time to think carefully about the pills and powders you put into your body. According to an extensive, 9-year investigation conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the supplements you take for weight loss, erectile dysfunction, and muscle building may be spiked with unapproved ingredients.
Steroids, Viagra and Prozac
As published in JAMA Reports, a whopping 80% of the drugs tested contained substances not listed on the label and another 20% had at least two.
You may be wondering what kind of substances? How about steroids, sildenafil (an ingredient in Viagra) and fluoxetine (found in the anti-depressant Prozac).
Taking any of these drugs without knowing can present serious health risks – more so when they are combined with other substances that are counter-indicated.
For example, taking an SSRI (anti-depressant) with alcohol has been shown to cause drowsiness and even blackouts. Additionally, withdrawal from certain drugs, such as steroids, can cause extreme mood swings.
Many people think over the counter supplements, like vitamins, are regulated by the FDA. The truth is most are not. That’s because they are considered “food items” and therefore not under the agency’s purview.
Translation? Many supplements go directly onto shelves from the manufacturer without careful governmental scrutiny. Even when someone makes a complaint about the potential harms of a supplement, the FDA has little power to yank the product from stores.
Amy Eichner, Special Advisor on Drug Reference & Supplements at the US Anti-Doping Agency, told Wired that people need to be aware of what is going on.
“It’s crucial for consumers to realize how little the FDA can actually do to remove tainted products from the market or to prevent unethical companies from selling their products,” she said.
Guy Counseling spoke to Michael Elder, a Chicago personal trainer about the report to get his impressions. “Most of my clients take some type of a supplement – be it a pill or powder. The findings from this investigation are certainly troubling, ” he said.