Chris Herrera was 15 when he started taking diet pills with green tea extract to burn fat and shed pounds. The dietary supplement worked. Herrera lost 56 pounds, but he wasn’t looking very healthy. When his mother noticed the whites of his eyes turning yellow, she sent him to the doctor. Medical tests revealed his liver was failing. His doctor blamed his diet pills.
Logan Stiner was burning the candle at both ends, working on projects for his high school finals. He popped a powdered caffeine supplement hoping for the burst of energy that one gets from high-energy drinks, but the supplement doused him with toxic amounts of caffeine, and ultimately killed him.
Tens of thousands of Americans are sent to the emergency department every year because of bad reactions to dietary supplements, according to a study jointly authored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
More than 23,000 ER visits each year are blamed on herbal supplements, nutritional products, vitamins and minerals, according to the study. Nearly 10 percent – or 2,154 – resulted in hospitalization due to harmful adverse reactions. Another study conducted by Consumer Reports showed that dangerous dietary supplement side effects include organ damage, cardiac arrest and cancer.
Unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplement manufacturers are not required to prove safety or efficacy for dietary supplements. Many manufacturers illegally tout supplements for the treatment or prevention of disease, and some promote supplements with hidden drug ingredients that can be harmful to consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively working to stop these ingredients from being sold in the U.S., but because dietary supplement regulations are relatively lax, the agency can only do so much. Thus, consumers are advised to use caution when purchasing dietary supplements, especially ones that promote weight loss, sexual enhancement or athletic performance/body building.
Source: CBS 12