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The hidden dangers associated with dietary supplements

In recent years, a record number of dietary supplements have hit the American marketplace. Promises related to decreasing weight or increasing sexual prowess are common as these teas, tablets and powders are sold to and consumed by millions of individuals across the United States throughout states like Missouri.

There are, however, several cases in which such so-called “safe” dietary supplements have been recalled. The problem, many safety advocates argue, often stems from lax and ineffective regulation and oversight of such dietary supplements. In fact, while the regulation and approval of such products typically falls to the Food and Drug Administration, supplements are often categorized as food rather than actual drugs. As such, the regulatory rules and regulations are much less stringent.

As a result, many so-called supplements contain ingredients that are potentially dangerous. Take for example a product called Pai You Guo. Marketed prior to 2009 as a safe and effective “weight-loss tea”, the product was recalled after it was found to contain cancer-causing agents as well as an appetite suppressant which had been linked to causing increased blood pressure and heart rate.

While thankfully Pai You Guo was recalled prior to any deaths or serious injuries occurring, there are likely thousands of dietary supplements on the market that pose similar health risks. In fact, an estimated 65,000 such supplements have flooded the U.S. market, many of which were approved with little to no oversight or testing.

Individuals who have suffered adverse health effects as a result of taking a dietary supplement should immediately seek medical attention. People often wrongly believe that such supplements are safe because they are marketed as all natural and sold without a prescription. The immediate and lingering impact on an individual’s overall health and wellbeing may warrant taking legal action.

Source: North County Public Radio, “Recalls Of Dietary Supplements Highlight Mystery Ingredients,” Audrey Carlsen, April 23, 2013

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