Study: Risky Stimulants Still in Many Supplements

(HealthDay News) — The U.S. Drug and Food Administration has repeatedly warned manufacturers that many dietary supplements contain dangerous, experimental stimulants. But according to a new report, 75 percent of supplements tested still contain the compounds.

“Consumers turn to supplements for safe, natural ways to increase energy, improve workouts or lose weight,” said study author Dr. Pieter Cohen, an associate professor with Harvard Medical School. “[But] what most consumers don’t know is that supplements can be sold as if they give you energy, help you lose weight or just about anything, as long as the supplement does not claim to cure or treat disease.”

Between 2013 and 2016, the FDA found that 12 different supplement brands contained one or more of the four unapproved stimulants. But despite public notice warnings from the agency, three-quarters of the supplements still contained at least one prohibited stimulant in 2017. And half contained two or more.

The finding raises fresh concerns about supplement safety and comes on the heels of another troubling analysis published just last week by the California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch.

That investigation revealed that the FDA had issued more than 700 warnings over the last decade about potentially hazardous ingredients found in supplements promoted as sexual, weight-loss and muscle growth aids.

In a letter published online Oct. 22 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Cohen and his colleagues point to an earlier study that suggests that FDA recalls, for one, are largely ineffective.

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