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How safe are weight loss and enhancement products?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Weight loss and enhancement products, commonly known as supplements, line shelves in nearly every grocery store in the nation. Despite their prevalence and how easy it is to find them, a negligence attorney in Chicago understands that these products may be extremely unsafe for consumers.

Not FDA-approved

According to a Consumer Update by the FDA, the law does not require these substances to be approved by the FDA prior to marketing and selling. It is solely the seller’s responsibility to ensure that the product is safe and that their claims are accurate. Only after suspicion arises does the FDA step in and conduct an investigation. If danger is found during the inspection, then the product is often recalled and taken off the market.

Consumer Reports states that over 400 products have been recalled since 2008 because they were spiked with other dangerous substances that were not disclosed on labels. This includes 40 products marketed for weight loss, 70 claiming sexual enhancement benefits and 80 products for body building.

FDA warnings

The FDA advises consumers to be extremely vigilant in avoiding products that may be dangerous. Any supplements that claim the following on their packaging are likely tainted with dangerous chemicals or prescription drugs:

  • Similar effects to prescription drugs
  • Rapid results or long-lasting effects, especially for male-enhancement products
  • Legal anabolic steroid alternative
  • Warning that performance enhancing drug tests may test positive

Additional things to look out for include marketing for a product that is only in a foreign language and those marketed through mass emails.

The FDA has received a large number of reports in which supplement users were affected by serious, life threatening conditions. These conditions include liver injury, stroke, heart palpitations, kidney failure and death.

Staying safe while using weight loss and enhancement products

Those who would like to use supplements for their health can do so safely with the help of a physician. The FDA suggests that interested individuals should always check with a healthcare worker or dietician to see what nutrients they may require in addition to their regular diets. With that knowledge, patients can better understand their true supplement needs.

After finding a supplement, consumers should research the product’s claims and consider how exaggerated or unrealistic those claims are.  A negligence attorney in Chicago understands that if a claim seems too good to be true, it likely is. A doctor can help his or her patients distinguish between reliable and questionable claims and information so patients can know what is safe and what is potentially dangerous. Consumers should never take any supplement unless they first discuss the potential effects and drug interactions with their doctor.

Supplements can cause unknowing individuals dangerous medical problems. Those who have been injured by their use of supplements should contact a negligence attorney in Chicago. With an attorney’s help, victims may find success in receiving compensation for their injuries.

Categories: Product Liability