Taking dietary supplements to lose weight, build muscle and energy is associated with an almost three times greater risk of serious medical events in children and young adults, compared to vitamins, warns a study.
“The Food and Drug Administration of the United States (FDA) has issued countless warnings about supplements sold for weight loss, bodybuilding or athletic performance, sexual function and energy, and we know that these products are widely marketed and used by young people, “said Flora O of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the United States.
The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, analyzed the reports of adverse events between January 2004 and April 2015 in the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System in the food and dietary supplement database.
Dietary Supplements Linked With Severe Health Events in Young People
An analysis of the records of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that, from January 2004 to April 2015, approximately 1,000 people aged 25 or younger had a health problem related to supplements dietetics About 40% of them were classified as serious problems, which resulted in 166 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. And those numbers may be just the “tip of the iceberg,” the authors write, since many problems are not reported.
Certain supplements seemed to be more dangerous than others. The researchers found that supplements that claim to help weight loss, muscle development and energy were almost three times more likely, and those that are marketed for sexual function or colon cleansing are about twice as likely to contribute to a health problem that vitamins.
Researchers analyzed the relative risk of serious medical events such as death, disability and hospitalization in individuals 0 and 25 years old related to the use of dietary supplements sold to lose weight, build muscle or energy compared to vitamins.
They found that there were 977 reports of adverse events related to single supplements for the target age group. Of these, approximately 40 percent involved serious medical outcomes, including death and hospitalization.
Supplements sold for weight loss, muscle development and energy were associated with almost three times the risk of serious medical outcomes compared to vitamins. Supplements sold for sexual function and colon cleansing were associated with approximately twice the risk of serious medical outcomes compared to vitamins.
S Bryn Austin, a professor at the THard School of Public Health at Harvard, noted that renowned doctors do not recommend the use of the type of dietary supplements discussed in this study. It has been found that many of these products are adulterated with prescription pharmaceuticals, banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.
Other studies have linked weight loss and muscle building supplements with stroke, testicular cancer, liver damage and even death.