The Food and Drug Administration issued two warnings earlier this week about several weight loss supplements having substances contained within them, some dangerous or banned, adding on to a long list compiled by the FDA since 2009. The list found supplements which can be brought in stores and online, currently stretching to 72, including several popular supplements.
Phenolphthalein was found in Magic Slim, Dr. Ming’s, Lipo-x, Diet Master, Super Slim, and Perfect Slim 5X. A warning was made about the former on Jan. 21, one of many on a long list of supplements with this substance. Phenolphthalein is considered to cause genetic damage and is a possible carcinogen. Smaller side effects include skin rash and irritation of the kidneys. It is also a strong laxative that can last up to four days.
Phenytoin was found in the weight loss supplements of 3X Slimming Power and Extrim Plus. The substance is used for epilepsy to control and prevent seizures by affecting the brain’s electrical activity. Irregular heartbeat and arrhythmias can also sometimes be controlled by phenytoin. Side effects of this substance include an inability to control body and eye movements, dizziness, loss of coordination, slurred speech, nausea and vomiting.
In addition, it was found that SlimExtra Herbal, along with Slimeasy Herbal, SlimExtra Herbal, Dream Body Slimming Capsule, and Asset Extreme Capsules contained Meridia, the brand name for sibutramine which the FDA, in 2010, banned for being unsafe. There are various risks of this substance, including spiked pulse rate and blood pressure which can potentially lead to heart attacks or a stroke. Individuals with cardiovascular disease or with high blood pressure who are considering weight loss should especially consider avoiding these dangerous supplements as they are at high risk for experiencing the effects. Sibutramine is found in all but four weight loss supplements on the list.
Another dangerous substance known as cetlistat was found in Herbal Xenicol and Wellslim Plus+. The effects of this substance is considered “unpleasant,” it includes gas, diarrhea and sometimes lack of control of defecation. This is due to it containing an enzyme that breaks down fat. Though it is part of a weight loss supplement, cetlistat can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and it is still undergoing clinical trials.
Through FDA tests it is also revealed that rimonabant is an active ingredient in Phyto Shape. The substance is anti-obesity; however, it can cause suicide, severe depression, and sudden death. Rimonabant was approved in Europe, but removed in 2008 from the market, with sales of the drug being suspended in that same year. However, this is a substance that scientists believe can work without the side effects. A 2012 study revealed that a variant to rimonabant was created, but much more study on it needs to be done.
The last substance found on the list is bumetanide in Starcaps. This substance is used for individuals with high blood pressure by helping to rid of extra water and salt through the urine. Some side effects, according to the FDA, include risk of low blood pressure and fainting. The risk is greater in consumers who are elderly or who have an impaired kidney function.
This list compiled by the FDA and provided in a link below is continually growing. It raises awareness to all those considering supplements for weight loss to be careful of what they consume as there are many substances out there that can be dangerous. The popular supplements mentioned especially should, at all costs, be avoided based on the FDA warnings.
By Kollin Lore