The Dangers of Fake Supplements for Your Long-Term Health

There are different definitions of healthy all across the nation. Some think that gluten-free is best, others think that organic foods is only way to go. Some argue for a paleo diet while others praise the value of ‘everything in moderation.” What most do have in common is the understanding that everyone just wants to be as healthy as possible. It is this popular desire that causes some companies to market ineffective products and fake supplements to consumers. This is where the danger begins.

Because the FDA cannot regulate the supplement industry, there is no check for these supplements and their claims, leaving it up the consumer to decide what is healthy and fits their goals. This would be fine if the advertising and marketing of these supplements was absolutely truthful. In recent news, the New York Attorney General Office tested  “24 different products” from major retailers in their area such as Walmart and Walgreens and found that “all but 5 contained DNA that was unrecognizable or from a different plant than was on the label.” These findings prompted the Attorney General’s Office to send cease and desist orders to the retailers concerning these products.

It is not just what is misrepresented on the bottle, it is what ingredients are omitted that can cause danger too. As one op-ed New York Times writer explains “the FDA estimates that approximately 50,000 adverse reaction to dietary supplements occur every year” because many supplements contain other ingredients that consumers might be allergic to. If it is not possible allergens causing adverse reaction, it could be dangerous chemicals such as “lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium.”

The most popular kind of supplement on today’s market are weight loss supplements. The FDA has seen reports of “increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, stroke, seizure and death” in connection to weight loss supplements. Even famous TV doctor and personality Dr. Oz was under Senatorial constraint after promoting “miracle” and “magical” weight loss supplements on his show, while knowing that these products did not do what they and he claimed they could.

Another supplement controversy is calcium replacement pills. Osteoporosis is a common condition for women and the elderly, so like obesity and weight loss supplements, calcium supplements are marketed to those that live in fear of calcium deficiency. However,  several studies have linked these calcium supplements to negative effects like “increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease.” Some studies have shown that taking a calcium supplement may not be as dangerous if it is combined with vitamin D, a vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. If not, calcium can be deposited in the arteries, leading to heart disease.

Heart disease is a condition that once began, is difficult to reverse. If you have been taking nutrition and dietary supplements for an extended period of time and are worried about your potential for heart attack or stroke, consult with your physician about having medical imaging procedures such as a Calcium Score Heart Scan to assess your cardiovascular health. If you are noticing adverse reactions while using these supplements, stop taking them immediately and call you doctor with your symptoms. In addition, be sure to do research on any supplement before you begin a regime.

If you’d like to schedule an MRI for your cardiovascular health, feel free to call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8AM- 6PM or fill out our online form.