In anticipation of another hot Florida summer, many of us begin watching our weight with an eye towards fitting into swimsuits and changing our winter attire to more revealing summer clothing. Whereas some lucky folks seem to have no problem shedding additional pounds, for others losing weight is a struggle. In response to the demand for a quick solution, a variety of weight loss supplements have flooded the market, claiming to suppress the appetite while speeding up the metabolism in order to burn fat. Unfortunately, not all of these products are safe, and taking the wrong product or the wrong dosage can result in serious personal injury. If you or someone you care about is using over the counter supplements to lose weight, you need to be aware of the potentially severe and even deadly side effects that can result.
Health Risks Associated With Weight Loss Supplements
According to a 2015 New England Journal of Medicine study on weight loss supplements, over-the-counter dietary aids are responsible for over 23,000 hospital emergency room department visits each year. Among the symptoms most commonly presented are chest pains, heart palpitations, and abnormally fast heart rates, all of which can be indicators of serious and potentially life threatening conditions. While some ingredients in dietary aids, such as Aloe Vera, green tea extract, chromium, and L-carnitine, have not be proven to be dangerous when taken in small doses, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns against taking the mega doses often found in supplements. Consumers should be particularly careful of avoiding any supplement which contains the following:
- Ephedrine, which can lead to heart attack and stroke;
- BMPEA, which can lead to memory loss and mood disorders;
- DMBA and DMMA, which can lead to nervous system disorders and heart problems;
- Tiratricol, otherwise known as TRIAC, which can increase your risk of thyroid problems and stroke; and
- Guar gum, often found in fiber supplements, which can lead to dangerous blockages in the intestines and esophagus.
Tainted Diet Aids
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers to be aware that over-the-counter weight loss supplements do not fall under government regulation, and that just because a product is sold in the store or from a respected online retailer does not mean that it is safe. Consumers need to use to avoid products which may contain ingredients that are either banned from the FDA, or that contain hidden ingredients that can have dangerous interactions with other medicines and supplements you may be taking. An FDA list of tainted weight loss supplements is available online, and consumers are advised to avoid the following:
- Products that promise extreme rapid weight loss;
- Products marketed in a foreign language or that come from overseas;
- Products advertised as being similar to actual FDA approved drugs; and
- Products marketed through social media and mass emails.
We Can Assist You Immediately
If you or a loved one has suffered adverse effects from taking weight loss supplements and dietary aids, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we may be able to assist you in holding manufacturers and sellers of these products accountable for the injuries you have suffered. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we are available to help you today.