Harvard doc: Dietary supplements could be deadly

A Harvard Medical School doctor says athletes and others who consume dietary supplements may be playing “American roulette” with their health. Pieter Cohen writes in his article in the New England Journal of Medicine that the Food and Drug Administration has identified 140 products that include ingredients that may cause heart attacks, strokes, liver damage, kidney failure and other health problems. “Instead of pulling the trigger of a revolver at our head, we’re swallowing unknown substances that could have life- threatening effects,” Cohen told Bloomberg News. “Selecting a dietary supplement is our version of spinning the cylinder of the revolver.” Cohen takes aim at the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the law that requires the FDA to prove a supplement is dangerous before it can be pulled from the market. “DSHEA presents serious obstacles to the FDA’s ability to detect and eliminate contaminated supplements,” Cohen writes in the NEJM. “A wide range of dietary supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic plant material, heavy metals, or bacteria. Of particular concern are the dozens of dietary supplements that are contaminated with prescription medications, controlled substances, experimental compounds, or drugs rejected by the FDA because of safety concerns. These potentially hazardous ingredients have been detected in products marketed for patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, or insomnia but are most frequently found in products that promise sexual enhancement, optimal athletic performance, and weight loss.”
Source : Daily News  


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