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Fake Diet Supplements
If it’s too good to be true, then you know by now it is, right? Sadly many Americans don’t. Federal regulators continue to warn consumers about tainted, dangerous products that are marketed as dietary supplements. These fraudulent products can cause serious injury or even death. Download this FDA article for background.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found nearly 300 fraudulent products—promoted mainly for weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding—that contain hidden or deceptively labeled ingredients, like:
- the active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs or their analogs (closely-related drugs)
- other compounds, such as novel synthetic steroids, that do not qualify as dietary ingredients
“These products are masquerading as dietary supplements—they may look like dietary supplements but they are not legal dietary supplements,” says Michael Levy, director of FDA’s Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance. “Some of these products contain hidden prescription ingredients at levels much higher than those found in an approved drug product and are dangerous.”
The FDA has received numerous reports of harm associated with the use of these products, including stroke, liver injury, kidney failure, heart palpitations, and death.
Generally, if you are using or considering using any product marketed as a dietary supplement, FDA suggests that you do the following:
- check with your health care professional or a registered dietician about any nutrients you may need in addition to your regular diet.
- ask your health care professional for help distinguishing between reliable and questionable information.
- ask yourself if it sounds too good to be true.
- be cautious if the claims for the product seem exaggerated or unrealistic.
- watch out for extreme claims—for example, “quick and effective,” “cure-all,” “can treat or cure diseases,” or “totally safe.”
- be skeptical about anecdotal information from personal “testimonials” about incredible benefits or results obtained from using a product.
And as always when taking any controlled substance, talk to a physician to be sure its a trusted product that won’t harm you.