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Dietary Supplement Ambiguity Leads to Adverse Health Problems

According to a recent consumer report, the dietary supplement industry generates approximately $27 billion every year. Therefore, it is safe to assume that a large portion of the consumer population has at least taken some form of dietary supplement. Unfortunately, the vast majority has done so without sufficient knowledge of the ingredients contained within the products they are ingesting. In part, this lack of information is due to consumer ignorance, but it is more so the product of ambiguous and even fraudulent manufacturing practices.

Unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dietary supplements may contain undisclosed and even dangerous ingredients. According to Kim Waller, director of Bavaria’s only Army Wellness Center, “The thing with dietary supplements is that they are not regulated by the FDA.” Furthermore, “supplements do not have to be tested or proven effective before being sold.” Of significant concern, is that some supplements are laced with varying quantities of approved prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients, according to the FDA’s website.

“These deceptive products can harm you,” according to the FDA’s website. “Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for bodybuilding. Remember, the FDA cannot test all products on the market that contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market.”

The use of supplements, particularly those of adulterated nature, may be responsible for the development of serious adverse health effects. Subsequently, dietary supplements have been blamed for a wide array of complications, ranging from persistent sexual dysfunction to death. When supplements are used in association with medications, the risk of drug-supplement interactions increases as well as the potential for dangerous side effects.

Interactions such as these were witnessed with ephedra use before it was banned in 2004. “After a careful review of the available evidence about the risks and benefits of ephedra in supplements, the FDA found that these supplements present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers,” according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.” According to the reviewed data, ephedra assisted with weight loss for s short period of time, however, these effects were negated by the potential for catastrophic complications. Subsequently, ephedra use may cause a significant increase in blood pressure, heart problems and stroke.

Further complicating the ambiguity of the dietary supplement industry are recent concerns surrounding the use of 1,3-dimethylamylamine, otherwise known as DMAA. As a popular ingredient in fitness supplement, DMAA has been temporarily removed from Army and Air Force Exchange Service shelves because its association with adverse events.

“Those who are overweight are more likely to use” supplements, Waller said. “You’re probably never going to get people to stop taking dietary supplements, but it seems like maybe there should be more information about the ingredients that are in them and how to take them safely.”

“Due to the long and tedious process of removing any product from the market, many potentially dangerous products remain for sale,” according to the HPRC website. “The Department of Defense is about to launch an educational campaign to inform war-fighters and their families about potential health risks and steps to take before using dietary supplements. This campaign, Operation Supplement Safety or OPSS, will focus on service members and their families.”

Do I Have a Dietary Supplement Lawsuit?

The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in dietary supplement lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has been injured after taking a dietary supplement, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-800-773-0849.

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