The Diet pill industry is one of the largest in the world, earning $32 billion a year. And while it aims to help people lose weight, sometimes it doesn’t always have that effect. In fact, a lot of people have been having a difficult time with the pills making them ill.
Last year alone almost 20,000 people were admitted to the ER due to cardiovascular problems after taking diet pills or supplements, for either weight loss or energy enhancements. The federal government conducted the study, which took place to find out this number. Now they are calling out for tougher regulation of the products that are herbal.
What they found suggested that there is low regulation in the US, which is a health risk. The representatives of the industry are saying that it only showed that a tiny fraction had major injuries.
The study tracked visits to the emergency rooms around a large number of hospitals over ten years to see if a dietary supplement was implicated. A lot of people were there for experiencing severe allergic actions, heart trouble, nausea and vomiting. These were tied to taking herbal pills, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. About 2150 cases yearly were serious enough to require hospitalisation.
Dr. Andrew Geller of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said:
More than one quarter (28 percent) of emergency department visits for supplement-related adverse events in our study involved young adults between the ages of 20 and 34 years. Weight loss or energy products caused more than half these visits, commonly for cardiac symptoms.
Source: Morning Ticker
Prescription drugs were more likely to cause 30 times as many trips to the ER. The majority of these people were older adults.
The symptoms commonly associated with taking dietary supplements were chest pain, heart palpitations and irregular heart rhythms. Unfortunately, dietary supplements for weight loss don’t have to carry warning labels about the potential to cause cardiac side effects.
A law made in 1994 states that supplements are considered safe until proved otherwise, which is something a lot of health authorities don’t like. This means they don’t need to be FDA approved to be sold to consumers, something a lot of people probably aren’t aware of.
The problem is that supplements are only supposed to have natural or herbal remedies, no active ingredients at all. The FDA have been giving out warnings which suggest that these natural supplements often contain prescription drugs not listed on the label. This is extremely dangerous, especially is someone is allergic to a particular drug, they would be unaware of the danger they are putting themselves in.
With over 85,000 different pills, powders and elixirs on sale it is difficult to keep track of everything from the FDAs point of view.
However, Duffy Mackay, a spokesman for the Council for Responsible Nutrition said:
We have over 150 million Americans taking these products each yeah. This suggests that far less than one-tenth of 1 percent of supplement users will visit the emergency room.
This highlights that the supplements in general are relatively safe for consumers, but you need to know what to look out for.
Source: The New York Times
As stated earlier, not all supplements are safe and there are some that are worse than others. One such product, Fat Zero, is supposed to be an all natural product that is made of bee pollen, green tea and lotus seed. However, the FDA found that it contained sibutramine – a prescription diet pill that is banned in the US as it caused heart problems in those who took it.
Most recently country music singer Carrie Underwood has come out and said that in the past she has used dietary supplements to help her lose weight.
I was taking things with Ephedra in it. It wasn’t the best way. If I could go back and talk to myself I’d be like, ‘Here’s how you do it the right way.’
Source: E! Online
Since then she had gone on to lead a healthy vegan lifestyle and has taken up exercising to keep herself in good shape.
Ephedra is an herb and has been used for weight loss, enhancing athletic performance, allergies such as hay fever, nasal congestion and respiratory tract conditions. The FDA banned the sale of products containing the drug in 2003, however, that doesn’t stop people from selling it online. The Harvard School of Public Health found that ephedra has been linked to more than 800 dangerous side effects such as:
- Chest Pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
- High blood pressure
- Kidney stones
- Muscle disorders
- Loss of consciousness
- Death in extreme cases
- Seems to be worse when taken with caffeine
There was a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found that herbal supplements containing Ephedra were responsible for 62 percent of herb-related reports to poison-control centers. What makes this interesting is that ephedra products only make up 1 percent of the herbal supplement sales. This shows how dangerous it really is.
Dr. Jerrold Leikin, director of toxicology at North Shore University Health System in Evanston said:
I used to see patients with a lot of ephedra problems in the 1990s and early 2000s. I haven’t seen one literally in 10 years.
His statement shows that the ban on the supplement has really helped in stopping visits to poison control centers.
Beth Warren is a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Living a Real Life With Real Food and had her say on the subject at hand.
Even though it’s herbal, doesn’t mean it’s safe. They can sometimes be more dangerous because people assume that, since the pills are natural, they won’t have any ill effects.
Another drug that is dangerous which has been used in dietary supplements is 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), which has even led to death. It is a highly toxic industrial chemical that can result in the following symptoms it taken:
- Increased basal metabolic rate
- Loss of weight
A DNP overdose will cause fatal hyperthermia with the body temperature rising to as high as 44 degrees shortly before death. One such case took place in April when 21-year-old Eloise Aimee Parry took an accidental overdose and died. She began to feel unwell and drove herself to the hospital after taking 8 tablets, when the recommended dose is no more than one.
Commercially used as a pesticide, it should be a clear warning to stay away, but there are still people selling them online to young and vulnerable people. It is cases like this that make the FDA want to change the laws regarding dietary supplements.
What We Suggest
To avoid a disaster and causing yourself more trouble than what it is worth, we recommend researching whatever diet pill you are looking into until you are tired of scrolling through pages. It’s a good thing we’re here to tell you everything you need to know in one place. Also, remember to always talk to your doctor about any supplement you are going to take so they can inform you of any dangers.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.