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Be Careful: Some Imported Dietary Supplements and Nonprescription Drug Products May Harm You

If you are using or considering purchasing imported dietary supplements, be warned. Just because a product claims to be natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe.

You may see these products advertised in ethnic newspapers, magazines, online, infomercials on radio and TV stations or in ethnic stores, flea markets, and swap meets. Truth is, the law does not require companies who make dietary supplements to get FDA approval before marketing their products.

Just because a product claims to be natural, that does not mean that it’s free of hidden drug ingredients. Furthermore, these products may also be contaminated or contain potentially harmful chemicals or drug ingredients not listed on the label.

imported dietary supplementsFor example, many imported dietary supplements that claim to help people lose weight contain hidden and dangerous prescription drug ingredients such as sibutramine. Sibutramine was in Meridia, a formerly FDA-approved drug that was removed from the market in October 2010 because clinical data indicated it posed an increased risk of heart problems and strokes.

Also, just because an ingredient is contained in an FDA-approved drug product does not mean it is safe in the dosages or amounts used in these nonprescription products, according to Coody. Scammers who sell such products seek out ethnic populations who are overweight or have serious conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or heart disease. They target consumers looking for easy—and sometimes less expensive—solutions to difficult problems. Using these products could mean delayed treatment for serious diseases.

Phrases like, “proven results,” “money-back guarantee”, or “scientific breakthrough” are potential warning signs that a product could do much more harm than good.

Watch out for claims like these, which are often used to sell imported dietary supplements and other non-prescription health products. You can’t always trust what you read on the label or package.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your health. But before you buy and begin using any type of supplement, be sure to check with your doctor or other health care professional. You can also check FDA’s website for the latest information on product and ingredient claims. Research everything that you can so that you avoid putting your health at risk.

Imported Dietary Supplements

Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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