Boston: Taking dietary supplements for weight loss, muscle building, and energy is associated with almost three times increased risk for severe medical events in children and young adults, compared to vitamins, a study warns.
Flora Or, a researcher with Harvard Chan School's Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders said, "FDA takes numerous actions on dietary supplements to protect public health". Also, supplements that claim to improve sexual function and colon cleanse were two times more unsafe than vitamins.
Senior author S. Bryn Austin, ScD, a professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, questioned why action has not been taken sooner to prevent adolescents from taking these supplements. They calculated the relative risk of severe medical events (including death, disability, life-threatening events, hospitalization, emergency room visit, and required intervention to prevent permanent disability) associated with dietary supplements in patients aged between zero and 25 years.
In a 2015 study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, researchers found that doses of vinpocetine varied widely in dietary supplements sold in the United States, from about 0.3 milligrams to 32 mg of vinpocetine. Of the number, 40 percent involved severe medical outcomes, including hospitalization and death. "So what are the consequences for their health?"
Specifically, dietary supplements that promise weight loss, muscle building, or energy were associated with nearly three times the risk of severe medical outcomes compared to regular vitamins.
S. Bryn Austin, a senior author of the study, points to numerous substances used in these supplements as problematic. Supplements sold for sexual function and colon cleanse were associated with approximately two times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins.
Previous studies have also linked dietary supplements that aid in weight loss and building muscle to stroke, cancer, liver damage, and health. The researcher says many of these products contain prescription pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, and banned substances that make them a hazard, especially for young people.