Over half of adults in the U.S. swallow a handful of vitamins as part of their daily routine. However, many may not know that some of these supplements don't fall under the regulatory eye of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Unfortunately, recent studies have revealed that this could be problematic for your health. In fact, many popular supplements may contain ingredients that are dangerous.
Dangers not on the labels
Although the FDA does not regulate the supplement industry, it does inspect a small sampling of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and botanicals that earn billions of dollars for manufacturers each year. You may be shocked to learn that many of those inspections revealed ingredients that the supplement labels did not list or that the FDA had banned. Some examples of the hidden ingredients include the following:
- Traces of sildenafil, sold under the brand name Viagra
- Sibutramine, a banned weight-loss drug believed to cause strokes and heart attacks
- Antidepressants, some of which the FDA banned
- Stimulants not approved by the FDA
The kinds of supplements against which FDA inspectors most often issue warnings about dangerous ingredients are those taken for sexual enhancement, muscle building and weight loss. However, if you use supplements for sleeplessness, osteoporosis, muscle or joint pain, or prostrate issues, you may also be at risk.
What are your options?
The problem with taking supplements that contain unlabeled or unapproved ingredients is that you are not able to make an informed choice. Without knowing exactly what the supplement includes, you may not know if you will have an allergic reaction, if you are at risk of overdosing, or if the ingredients will negatively interact with other medications you are taking. Every year, about 23,000 supplement users end up in the emergency room, and doctors admit over 2,000 for treatment.
In its report, the FDA suggested that the supplement manufacturers intentionally adulterate their products with banned drugs and other dangerous ingredients. This places you in grave danger. You may try to limit the risk by seeking supplements whose labels list only a single ingredient, but you cannot even trust that the manufacturers are truthful in their labeling.
If you suffer illness or injury after using a dangerous supplement, speak to a lawyer about your options for compensation. A skilled attorney can help you find justice after putting your trust in a negligent supplier.