Health Care

Dietary supplements linked to many severe medical outcomes

Dietary supplements linked to many severe medical outcomes”

An ingredient found in dietary supplements targeted at increasing cognitive performance, weight loss, and increased energy may cause miscarriage or other harmful effects to a fetus, the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) announced earlier this week. She is a researcher with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders, in Boston. Compared with vitamins, supplements sold for muscle building, energy, and weight loss were associated with a almost threefold increased risk for severe medical events (risk ratios, 2.7, 2.6, and 2.6, respectively). Also, supplements that claim to improve sexual function and colon cleanse were two times more risky than vitamins.

Senior author S. Bryn Austin, professor in the department of social and behavioral sciences, said it is long overdue for lawmakers and retailers to act and protect consumers who are at risk from these unsafe dietary supplements.

The researchers analyzed the risk for severe medical events linked to the consumption of dietary supplements compared to vitamins among individuals between ages 0 and 25 years. "So what are the consequences for their health?"

The study authors used adverse event reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System on food and dietary supplements database spanning January 2004 and April 2015. About 40% of them were categorized as severe problems, resulting in 166 hospitalizations and 22 deaths.

Researchers found that there were 977 single-supplement-related adverse event reports for the target age group. Of those, approximately 40% involved severe medical outcomes, including death and hospitalisation.Supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were associated with nearly three times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins.

Still, vinpocetine is found in hundreds of brands of supplements sold in the US, said Dr. Pieter Cohen, a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts, and senior author of the 2015 study.

Not just for general health, people, even children are taking supplements for weight loss, muscle development or just for energy boost.

They published their findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Wednesday, June 5. The supplements, authors said, were found to include heavy metals, pesticides and other risky chemicals.

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