Supplements Can Harm Your Health

New research warns that a number of weight loss and workout supplements contain — without accurately listing — potentially harmful doses of a substance that has been ruled as unsafe.

Recently, scientists looked into whether a range of supplements used as weight loss or workout aids may actually be harmful to those who take them.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ban all athletes from taking any drugs or supplements that include higenamine, a beta-2 agonist that may have toxic effects on the heart.

Yet despite the fact that higenamine is banned by the WADA, and that it might be harmful to people’s cardiovascular health. Many dietary supplements still contain it as a substance that naturally occurs in certain plants, such as aconite.

The researchers including John Travis, a senior research scientist at NSF International in Ann Arbor, MI — have revealed not only that higenamine is a widely used supplement ingredient, but also that companies that produce such supplements do not properly list the dosage at which this ingredient is used.

‘Concerning levels’ of harmful substance

The researchers analyzed 24 supplements for weight loss or preworkout that listed higenamine — also known as norcoclaurine and demethylcoclaurine — and noticed that they featured widely varying and unreliable amounts of this substance.

The 24 products tested in the study were: Adrenal Pump, Apidren, Beta-Stim, Burn-HC, Defcon1 Second Strike, Diablo, DyNO, Gnar Pump, Higenamine, High Definition, HyperMax, iBurn2, Liporidex Max, Liporidex PLUS, LipoRUSH DS2, N.O. Vate, OxyShred, Prostun-Advanced Thermogenic, Pyroxamine, Razor8, Ritual Pre-Workout Supplement, Stim Shot, ThermoVate, and Uplift.

Worryingly, of all the supplements that the researchers looked at, only five products mentioned an exact quantity of higenamine. However, when the supplements were tested, Travis and his colleagues found that the listed quantities were incorrect.

Actual quantities of higenamine across the range of products included anything from trace amounts to 62 milligrams per serving. However, based on the label instructions, users may actually take up to 110 milligrams of the substance per day, which may harm their health in unpredictable ways.

According to  published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2015, about 23,005 emergency department visits in the United States are related to supplement intake.

 

The study concludes that, to better protect consumers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should now finalize their guidelines on supplement ingredients. It also warns doctors that the higenamine quantities in many dietary supplements may impact cardiovascular health.

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