Dangerous ingredients contained by dietary supplements are legally available on the market and people consume it on a daily basis. What does the FDA has to say about it?
Certain dietary supplements on the market contain substances that are toxic for the human body. It has been discovered that some of this type of supplements contain a substance that is similar to amphetamine which has never been tested on the human body.
The dangerous substance goes by the name of BMPEA and can be found in supplements that contain Acacia rigidula extracts. What is even more concerning is the fact that this substance can be obtained only synthetically and it is not listed on the package because its effects are not known.
A research that has been published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis stated that the Food and Drug Administration was aware that these supplements contained BMPEA, ever since 2013, but hasn’t done anything to prevent consumers from using it or to remove it from the market.
The inaction of the FDA is highly critiqued by the study, which stated that it should have warned people about it and should take immediate action to remove this toxic substance from the dietary supplements. Doctors should be cautious and pay attention to patients who come in with symptoms caused by weigh loss supplements, as they might be caused by BMPEA, explained the study.
According to medical researchers, the FDA has no excuse for allowing this substance to be freely consumed. Its effects are still unknown and are believed to be dangerous, Pieter Cohen believes, assistant professor from Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the research. He added that none of the weight loss supplements found on the market are legal and none have shown to actually help people lose weight.
An FDA representative admitted that in 2013 the institution has published a study that talked about the presence of BMPEA in supplements containing Acacia rigidula. But their study of the situation hasn’t concluded that BMPEA would be harmful for humans at the time the research was written. The agency concluded by saying that serious actions will be taken to keep consumers safe.
BMPEA is a substance that hasn’t been tested on humans, but tests on cats and dogs conducted years ago, proved that it can highly increase blood pressure.
An interesting fact pointed out in the study was that ever since the FDA has released the study about the BMPEA, supplements containing Acacia rigidula seem to have multiplied and in just three years sales went up from 42.9% to 52.4%.
The research has raised concerns at a global level, and it appears that Health Canada has prohibited supplement containing BMPEA to be sold while the European Union has taken these supplements from the market until further studies will come with relevant evidence on safety.
Dietary Supplements Issues
Supplement pills have been a controversial subject for many years. BMPEA hasn’t been the only ingredient in the supplements creating panic for the last year.
An investigation which took place in February, discovered several herbal supplements sold in stores that didn’t contain the slightest trace of the plants that were advertised on the packages.
Another research which has been published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis showed 12 weight loss and brain improvement supplements that contained a chemical called DMBA, which is related to DMAA, a toxic substance banned by the FDA.
What is even more worrying is the fact that the field of nutritional supplements is on a very high demand and it has become one of the fastest growing businesses on the planet. According to The Nutritional Business Journal, this branch had an annual income of $32 billion in 2012 and by 2021 it is expected for that amount to double.
Practically, this industry has covered every area of health needs and has transformed supplements into “natural cures” that can improve our condition. They can come in many forms from minerals, vitamins, herb extracts, enzymes and so on.
What exactly is the criteria that determines a chemical product is a dietary supplement? According to the definition given by the Congress, published in 1994 in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, a dietary supplement is a product ingested orally which contains ingredients that are meant to serve as a diet supplement.
It is the responsibility of the manufacturers to provide safe products and any benefits they claim their products might have must be scientifically proven first, to show they are not trying to mislead the public. The label must also contain a table called “Supplement Facts” where there have to be written all the ingredients inside the product.
Even if many of the supplements containing Acacia rigidula will remain available for sale, consumers are advised to avoid or stop using them as they might be leading to severe health problems.