What dangers lurk in your diet supplements?

Posted 25 October 2018

PRETORIA NEWS / 24 October 2018 / Georgina Crouth

Between 1865 and 1906, the US experienced a “golden age” of quackery, which saw over 50000 patent medicines on the market.

Toothache was treated with cocaine (which also helped for brainpower, endurance and “throat troubles”); fussy babies were calmed with opiates; paleness ameliorated with “pink pills”, freckles were removed with mercury; and “women’s ailments” were relieved with a punchy mix of cannabis and chloroform.

Drugs were bought and sold like any other consumer goods. These often contained dangerous, addictive and misidentified ingredients.

There was no legal or ethical requirement to disclose the contents, nor to list warnings about misuse.

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Hundreds of Supplements Are Tainted With Hidden Pharmaceutical Drugs

Posted 15 October 2018

So it’s not the ‘herbs’ doing the work…


The labels promise miracles: Fast Weight Loss! Eliminates Hunger! Burns Calories!

Now new research highlights how hundreds of brands of dietary supplements deliver so much kick from a modest blend of vitamins and herbs. The answer is many labels leave out one important ingredient: a hidden payload of pharmaceutical drugs and experimental chemicals.

A new analysis of 10 years of FDA records reveals that from 2007 to 2016, almost 750 dietary supplements were found to be contaminated with secret doses of totally unregulated drugs, including prescription medicines, banned and unapproved chemicals, and designer steroids.

Over 20 percent of these offending products contained more than one unapproved drug ingredient, and numerous contained a cocktail of clandestine chemicals – in two cases, as many as six unlisted ingredients.

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Warning about weight loss products on the web

Posted 30 August 2016

Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has warned of the dangers of buying weight loss medicines online, particularly from unknown overseas websites.

The TGA’s Principal Medical Adviser, A/Professor Tim Greenaway, said today the TGA had received many reports about overseas based websites offering ‘herbal’ or ‘drug free’ weight loss products.

“Far from being ‘natural’, many of these products contain ingredients which may be harmful and are not disclosed on the product label,” Professor Greenaway said.

“In Australia, many weight loss products are considered medicines. Because of this they are regulated by the TGA and have to meet quality and safety standards but we have no control over medicines and supplements purchased from overseas by consumers on the web.”

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Warning on buying unregulated slimming preparations

Posted 11 April 2016

In terms of Regulation 48C published in November 2013, “complementary medicines falling in Category D and in the pharmacological classification 32.3 (Slimming preparations) and pharmacological classifications 7.1, 21.7 (Male sex hormones), pharmacological classification 21.8 (Female sex hormones) and pharmacological classification 21.9 (androgen-oestrogen combinations) claiming sexual stimulation and sexual dysfunction available for sale in the Republic on the date on which it comes into operation shall be subjected to registration within 24 months of the date of this publication.” That deadline therefore expired in November 2015. Those products for which a complete application for registration has not been submitted should now be removed from the market.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) has issued a warning which applies everywhere, not just in Australia.

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Pink Bikini, Shorts on The Beach Dietary Supplements by Lucy’s Weight Loss System: Recall – Undeclared Drug Ingredient

Posted 01 February 2016

Although this USA Food Drug Administration (FDA) recall is USA specific, it reminds us that adulteration of supplements with undeclared drugs is always a risk. These products were tainted with Sibutramine, Phenolphthalein, and/or Diclofenac.

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Dangerous diet pills not the answer to New Year’s resolutions

Posted 04 January 2016

This media release of the UK  Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), dated 31 December 2015, warns anyone looking to lose weight in the New Year to be aware of the dangers of buying diet pills online.

The press release continues:

During 2015 MHRA enforcement officers seized more than 240,000 doses of pills claiming to be for weight loss/slimming.

A number of the products seized were marketed as ‘all herbal’ or natural when, in fact, they were found to contain the synthetic medicine sibutramine. Sibutramine was withdrawn across Europe and the US in 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with its use.

Since 2005, MHRA officials have found hundreds of examples of medicines claiming to contain herbal ingredients but after analysis were found to be adulterated with pharmaceutical ingredients.

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Green Coffee weight loss scam

Posted 02 January 2015

GreenCoffee800Another big weight-loss scam to hit South Africa is Green Coffee, sold under a range of guises. One heavily promoted at a Cape Town Waterfront Pharmacy is Green Coffee 800

We have previously highlighted this scam in May 2014 and January 2014.

Firstly, there is zip, zero evidence that green coffee can result in weight loss-loss.

Secondly, although there are various versions of this ingredient, Green Coffee 800 may contain the substance called sibutramine, not only banned but very risky to your health. In 2012 the Danish Health and Medicines Authority warned consumers of the presence of this ingredient in Green Coffee 800.

Now the USA Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped in: “Lindsey Duncan and the companies he controlled have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceptively touted the supposed weight-loss benefits of green coffee bean extract through a … Read the rest

Recalled, drug-tainted supplements still available for purchase

Posted 22 October 2014

(Reuters Health)

“Long after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued recalls for dietary supplements tainted with banned drugs, more than half of the tainted supplements were still available for purchase, a new study found”.

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Phenolphthalein (banned) found in LeanGenie product

Posted 20 November 2012

Phenolphthalein (banned in South Africa for safety concerns) and sibutramine has been found in the LeanGenie product, JS Slim-weight-loss capsules, and in Lifestyle Tradelink’s Fruit & Vegetables-capsules.  

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“Dangerous substance hidden in Kangmei”

Posted 06 November 2012

Gevaarlike middel skuil in Kangmei (“Dangerous substance hidden in Kangmei”)

2012-11-04 21:19

Antoinette Pienaar 

Oorgewig mense wat die “kruie”-verslankingsmiddel Kangmei drink, kry dalk onwetend voorskrifmedisyne in wat gevaarlik is vir mense met hart- en ander gesondheidsprobleme. 

Dié Chinese middel word deur honderde agente en webwerwe verkoop as “100% natuurlik”, maar toetse wat Beeld en ’n Kaapse dokter daarop laat doen het, toon dit bevat sibutramien. 

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