Dietary supplements linked with severe health events in children, young adults
08 June, 2019, 19:25 | Author: Sherman Richardson
New research shows that dietary supplements, while a popular choice for people looking to build up muscle, lose weight, or get an energy boost, can be very risky - especially for children, teenagers, and young adults.
Flora Or, a researcher with Harvard Chan School's Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders said, "FDA takes numerous actions on dietary supplements to protect public health".
Many consumers take dietary supplements to lose weight, gain muscle, or get an extra boost of energy, but researchers say many of these products can lead to hospitalization or death if taken by young people.
The study's authors suggest that two things might have gone wrong in these cases: Either the supplements contained risky ingredients that weren't listed on the package, or they may have been consumed in combination with other types of medications, which could cause a harmful interaction.
They published their findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Wednesday, June 5. They calculated the relative risk of severe medical events (including death, disability, life-threatening events, hospitalization, emergency room visit, and required intervention to prevent permanent disability) associated with dietary supplements in patients aged between zero and 25 years.
They found that there were 977 single-supplement-related adverse event reports for the target age group.
Supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were associated with nearly three times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins.
According to researcher S. Bryn Austin, reputable doctors don't prescribe these types of supplements. Meanwhile, those that claim to aid in colon cleanse and sexual function were linked to two times higher risk of severe medical outcomes compared to regular vitamins.
Other studies have linked weight-loss and muscle-building supplements with stroke, testicular cancer, liver damage, and even death. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have already banned supplements containing vinpocetine, while others have approved the synthetic substance for prescription use only; yet, the drug has mostly flown under the radar of the FDA.
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