Dietary Substances for Weight Loss, Muscle Building Linked to Adverse Medical Effects


Pharmacists should be aware when counseling patients of a recent study that found some supplements may lead to adverse health care events. Dietary supplements for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were linked to nearly 3 times as many severe medical outcomes in young people than vitamins, according to a study published in the Journal of Academic Health.  



More than 977 supplement-related events were reported over an 11-year period in individuals aged up to 25 years. Serious medical outcomes, such as hospitalization and death, occurred in approximately 40% of reported incidents, according to the study. Investigators found that supplements sold for colon cleanses and sexual function were 2 times as likely to cause a serious medical issue than vitamins were.



Investigators used the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System on the food and dietary supplements database to analyze adverse event reports between January 2004 and April 2015. They then compared the supplements marketed for weight loss, muscle building, and energy. 



“How can we let the manufacturers of these products and the retailers who profit from them play Russian roulette with America’s youth?” senior author Bryn Austin said in a press release. “It is well passed time for policymakers and retailers to take meaningful action to protect children and consumers of all ages.” 



The FDA has issued warnings about the supplements studied and none were recommended by reputable physicians. According to the study, many of the substances were found to contain prescription pharmaceuticals, banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides, and other dangerous chemical substances. 





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