Beware of dietary supplements that you consume

Henrietta Strickland
Июня 8, 2019

Be it weight loss, muscle building or a boost in energy, people today are heavily relying on dietary supplements. Or is a researcher with Harvard Chan School's Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders. Also, supplements that claim to improve sexual function and colon cleanse were two times more unsafe than vitamins.

S Bryn Austin, professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, noted that reputable physicians do not recommend the use of the type of dietary supplements analysed in this study. And according to a new retrospective, observational study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, teenagers and young adults are also at risk for complications-including hospitalization and death.

For the study, scientists gathered the data from food and dietary supplements database, which included adverse event reports between January 2004 and April 2015 in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System. It concluded that compared to vitamins, those supplements carried almost triple the risk of "severe medical events" in young people.

"By 'severe medical events, ' I mean emergency room visits, hospitalization, life-threatening events such as convulsion and loss of consciousness, disability and even death", lead researcher Flora Or said. "So what are the consequences for their health?"

Over 11 years, the researchers identified 977 single supplement-related adverse event reports affecting individuals aged 0 to 25 years.

After breaking those numbers down, the researchers say that dietary supplements designed for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were three times more risky than vitamins when it came to severe medical events.

S. Bryn Austin, a senior author of the study, points to numerous substances used in these supplements as problematic. Meanwhile, those that claim to aid in colon cleanse and sexual function were linked to two times higher risk of severe medical outcomes compared to regular vitamins. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have already banned supplements containing vinpocetine, while others have approved the synthetic substance for prescription use only; yet, the drug has mostly flown under the radar of the FDA. Austin and colleagues are calling for policymakers to take "meaningful action" to protect children and other consumers from the potential harm that might come from taking dietary supplements.

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