Between 2009 and 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered recalls of more than 210 dietary supplements because they contained unapproved drug ingredients that are potentially harmful.
A research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2013 found that the biggest culprits were supplements marketed for sexual enhancement, muscle building and weight loss. The total number of recalls in the previous five years was only 27.
It’s not clear whether the rise in recalls has been due primarily to an increase in the number of adulterated supplements or to improved FDA enforcement, the researchers wrote. In any case, these recalls almost certainly represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Notably, in 2013, the FDA warned manufacturers and distributors that workout-boosting and ”fat-burning” products containing the stimulant dimethylamylamine (DMAA) are dangerous and illegal.
Also in 2013, the FDA cracked down on 15 companies selling dietary supplements or homeopathic products marketed to treat, cure, prevent or mitigate diabetes. The products made illegal claims such as “lowers blood sugar naturally,” “can replace medicine in the treatment of diabetes” and “for relief of diabetic foot pain.” Many of these products contained ingredients that are unproven and potentially unsafe. Others contain undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients in unknown quantities, which should be used only under medical supervision. Such bogus remedies may cause people to delay getting the treatment they really need. For more information from the FDA, go to http://tinyurl.com/ldp9q6c.