The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has some pretty astounding news for us. Think about all those claims…helps you sleep, grows more hair, weight loss, better sex life and no more nasty colds. The general consensus is they might not be everything they claim, but they can’t hurt, right?
Let’s take a look at what might be in some of these wonder health supplements. “The Food and Drug Administration has identified hundreds of supplements tainted with pharmaceuticals-from antidepressants and erectile dysfunction remedies to weight loss drugs-since 2007”. And even more surprising, after the FDA tests proved the supplements contained unapproved or recalled medications, many products continued to be marketed and sold.
The FDA has purchased, tested and found 746 supplements that were pharmaceutically adulterated between 2007 and 2016. These adulterants include unapproved antidepressants, designer steroids, prescription erectile-dysfunction drug sildenafil and a prescription appetite suppressant even after its manufacturer withdrew it from the market after a study linked it to heightened risk of stroke and heart attack.
How can this happen? Under a 1994 law, the U.S. government reclassified supplements as food rather than food additives. The law exempts supplements from any of the premarket safety and effectiveness testing the FDA requires for drugs.
The supplements industry has exploded and attracted many bad actors. It is completely impossible for the agency to keep up with them. The real problems include an agency with too few resources and too little authority.
How can you be an educated buyer? There is no easy way. There is no “forbidden” list or other easy reference. The best we can say is this…most of the abuse is centered in three categories-sexual enhancement, body building and weight loss. Be especially concerned about these three groups.