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"Miracle" Weight Loss Supplements Can Be Dangerous

"Miracle" Weight Loss Supplements Can Be Dangerous

According to U.S. News & World Report, Americans spend more than $60 billion each year on weight loss products. With so much money surrounding the industry, it’s no surprise that there are thousands of companies vying for a piece of the market. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers put consumer safety before profits. And because dietary supplements aren’t required to obtain FDA approval before hitting store shelves, dangerous products can make it to market.

Dangers Of Weight Loss Supplements

According to the FDA, it has recently removed several weight loss supplements from the market due to unsafe ingredients and contaminants. In 2015, the FDA pulled UltraZx weight loss supplement from store shelves after the agency discovered the product contained sibutramine, an ingredient found in prescription drug Meridia, which was recalled in 2010 after several individuals suffered strokes and heart problems. The FDA has also recalled weight loss supplements containing fluoxetine, which is the active ingredient in the prescription drug Prozac. In 2014 alone, the FDA recalled seven weight loss supplements.

FDA Rules Regarding Dietary Supplements

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, manufactures of dietary supplements are not required to obtain FDA approval before marketing and selling their products. Rather, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products are safe. Manufacturers are also responsible for any statements or claims they make regarding their products. The FDA only investigates safety concerns after a dietary supplement is available on the market. This is quite different from how prescription drugs are regulated. Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware of these important regulatory differences and wrongly assume that any dietary supplement available in the marketplace is safe.