Dietary supplements are supposed to do exactly what their name suggests: give you a boost of vitamins or minerals that you may be deficient in. multivitamin that you bought at the pharmacy. Supplements are common, and according to Harvard Health, over-the-counter dietary supplements are a “big deal“, generating more than $30 billion each year in the United States, with a large portion of consumers being older adults.
But despite their popularity, some health professionals question whether the supplements really offer any health benefits. Worse still, some varieties of supplements could actually be unsafe to consume, as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned. Read on to find out which products are under fire and why you may need to contact your doctor if you’ve taken them.
READ THIS: If you see these 2 words on a supplement bottle, don’t take it, experts warn.
Not all supplements are created equal, and some have been shown to do more harm than good, especially when overused. For example, vitamin A is a crucial component of your body, keeping your immune and reproductive systems functioning properly, and also helping your hair stay healthy. For those who are losing hair, vitamin A can be used to stimulate growth, but taking too much can have the opposite effect in the form of hair loss. Vitamin A toxicity can also occur if you take too much, leading to more serious health complications. Experts therefore advise consulting your doctor to see if you really need supplementation.
But vitamin A is a fairly common and generally safe supplement. Now the FDA is warning about another type of supplement, which may contain hidden and harmful ingredients.
On July 12, the FDA issued warnings to four companies after it discovered they were illegally sell honey products which could threaten the health of consumers.
According to the warning announcement, letters were sent to Thirtsyrun LLC, MKS Enterprise LLC, Shopaax.com and 1am USA Incorporated dba Pleasure Products USA because their products contained active drug ingredients but did not list them on the label. label. The products in question are sold to enhance sexual performance, but were marketed as foods, such as honey, and made “unauthorized claims” about treating disease and improving health, the FDA said.
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FDA testing found the over-the-counter products contained active drug ingredients found in Cialis, known generically as tadalafil, and Viagra, also known as sildenafil, both FDA-approved and used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. The inclusion of these drugs violates federal law, according to the FDA, because Cialis and Viagra are intended to be used under medical supervision. When taken with other prescription medications that contain nitrates, these ingredients can interact negatively and lead to dangerously low blood pressure. Nitrates are often taken by people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, the agency said.
“Contaminated honey products like these are dangerous because consumers are likely unaware of the risks associated with the hidden ingredients of prescription drugs in these products and how they can interact with other drugs and supplements they can take”, Judy McMeekinPharmD, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement.
According to the announcement, some products in the warning letters are “unapproved new drugs” because they claim to treat different diseases, which should be diagnosed or treated by medical professionals. Other products have been marketed as supplements, but the FDA notes that Cialis and Viagra do not fall under the category of dietary supplements.
If you take or plan to take any of these over-the-counter products, the FDA advises you to tell your doctor because they may interact with other medications and supplements you take. If you have taken these sexual enhancement products before and think you have become ill from them, stop using the product immediately and contact your doctor. Healthcare providers and consumers are also encouraged to report adverse reactions to the FDA. via MedWatch or the Security Report Portal.
The four companies have 15 days to respond to the FDA, and failure to resolve the issue will result in legal action. It’s not the first time the agency has addressed the issue, warning customers earlier this year about other honey-based sexual enhancement products containing hidden medicinal ingredients.
The FDA is urging consumers to beware of products containing hidden medicinal ingredients sold online, especially on Amazon, eBay and Walmart, as well as in stores.
“Products marketed with unidentified ingredients can be dangerous and, in some cases, fatal to consumers. We encourage consumers to remain vigilant when shopping online or in stores to avoid purchasing products that put their health-threatening, and instead seek effective, FDA-approved treatments,” McMeekin said.