New Study Finds Tainted Supplements

Pills on a silver tray
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A new study published in early October revealed unapproved and sometimes dangerous drugs in 746 dietary supplements, almost all of them marketed for weight loss, muscle growth or sexual enhancement.1

Supplement Contaminations

About 80 percent of supplements were contaminated by one pharmaceutical that should not have been in the product. Twenty percent contained at least two such drugs, and two of the supplements contained six unapproved drugs. Despite these contaminants, fewer than half the products were recalled.2 In the United States, more than 50% of adults consume dietary supplements, fueling a $35 billion industry.3,4 As the dietary supplement industry continues to grow in the United States, it is essential to further address this significant public health issue.

What Does This Mean for You?

The presence of pharmaceutically active ingredients in dietary supplements makes them unapproved drugs and represents an important public health concern. The study found indications that a large percentage of products continue to be sold and are potentially dangerous even after FDA warnings. This is alarming, especially considering that the FDA is only able to test a portion of products available on the market. Taking a combination of herbal supplements or using supplements together with prescribed medications could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results.

Supplement Safety Tips

  • If you’re currently taking prescription medications and thinking about starting an herbal supplement, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first about possible drug interactions.
  • Stick to brands that have been tested by independent sources
    • Check ConsumerLab.com or U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP)

Do you have any questions regarding your supplements or medications?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2706496
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/diet-weight-loss-and-sex-supplements-are-tainted-with-unapproved-drugs/2018/10/12/b3e93bfc-cd7c-11e8-a360-85875bac0b1f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.398811a1e823
  3. Bailey RL, Gahche  JJ, Lentino  CV,  et al.  Dietary supplement use in the United States, 2003-2006.  J Nutr. 2011;141(2):261-266. doi:10.3945/jn.110.133025
  4. US Food and Drug Administration. Constituent updates—FDA creates the Office of Dietary Supplement programs and announces new nutrition office leadership. http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20171114120120/https://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm478303.htm. Published December 21, 2015. Accessed June 2017.

Raspberry Ketones – The Miracle Diet Pill?

Promises of miraculous fat burning capabilities have turned raspberry ketones into a multi-million dollar product. This compound found in red raspberries has been traditionally used by the perfume and manufactured food industries to produce a berry-like scent.

Health care providers have turned a curious eye to this “miracle drug” and found two studies in mice and one small study in humans to support its medical use. The human study evaluated the use of topical raspberry ketone cream on hair growth and skin elasticity.  There are no human studies evaluating the use of this supplement as a weight loss aid.

Raspberry ketone supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so manufacturers are not required to produce clinical studies that prove its safety and efficacy, rather, they can make claims about its effectiveness without having the actual data to prove its merit.

Physicians and pharmacists utilize medications that have gone through large, placebo-controlled, blinded studies that provide scientific proof that a medication is both safe and effective.  Applying this model to raspberry ketones, we have no proof (i.e. large placebo-controlled, blinded human studies) that tells us whether or not this supplement actually results in weight loss.

The prescription for weight loss remains the same, a reasonable diet with fruits and vegetables and 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least 5 days per week.  Until data becomes available, diet and exercise trumps raspberry ketones.

If you have questions, call the Tria Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742.