The wild, unregulated world of health supplements | Allen and Allen

The wild, unregulated world of health supplements

Much of the health supplement industry is built upon false promises. Whether it’s to promote a life-changing effect on your health or a groundbreaking new ingredient, some health supplement companies have duped consumers for decades.  

What are some issues within the supplement industry?

Countless products have flooded the markets claiming to contain a cutting-edge ingredient that will transform one’s health, only to discover that the product contains very little or even none of said ingredients. Companies that use this marketing tactic often employ cheap filler ingredients to cut costs and increase their profit margins.  

Sometimes pre-workout supplements are laced with amphetamines to boost performance, which can – and has led to death. Sometimes vitamins are laced with anabolic steroids.   

Are anabolic steroids bad?  If so, how?

Anabolic steroids may be given by prescription from a doctor for certain medical conditions, but this substance is commonly misused as a performance drug, which can lead to complications.  

a man on steroids lifting weights

Misuse of anabolic steroids might lead to negative mental effects, such as: 

  • Paranoia (extreme, unreasonable)  
  • Jealousy 
  • Extreme irritability and aggression (“roid rage”) 
  • Delusional thoughts (false beliefs or ideas) 
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Mania 

What are some physical side effects of anabolic steroid misuse? 

  • Swelling in the body – especially in the hands and feet 
  • Kidney problems or failure 
  • Liver damage and tumors 
  • Enlarged heart 
  • High blood pressure 
  • People who inject steroids increase their risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. 
  • Severe acne
  • Changes in blood cholesterol, all of which increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young people 
  • Increased risk of blood clots 

steroids, handcuffs, mallet, weights

Several other effects are gender-specific and age-specific: 

In men: 

  • Decreased sperm count 
  • Baldness 
  • Development of breasts 
  • Increased risk for prostate cancer 
  • Shrinking testicles

In women: 

  • Growth of facial hair or excess body hair 
  • Decreased breast size 
  • Male-pattern baldness 
  • Changes in or stop in the menstrual cycle 
  • Enlarged clitoris 
  • Deepened voice 

In teens: 

  • Stunted growth 
  • Stunted height  

Consumers should always exercise caution when browsing for supplements. In the best-case scenario, the product and its actual ingredients are harmless, and the only thing hurt in this transaction is the customer’s wallet. In the worst of cases, the product contains dangerous ingredients that could harm consumers.  

muscular woman running across bridge

Aren’t health supplements regulated by the FDA?

One might assume that since supplements are made for human consumption, they are regulated by the FDA. However, the FDA regulates food and drugs. Supplements qualify as neither.   

In fact, the FDA has very little authority over what goes on in the supplement industry, which is unregulated. Furthermore, the FDA can only inspect a supplement company’s manufacturing process if they have reasonable evidence indicating that its products are harming people, meaning that people need to be harmed before the FDA can take action. 

 Supplement manufacturers aren’t even required to prove that their products are safe for human consumption. They are only required to ensure that the supplement bottles contain the ingredients listed on the label. Even more troubling, a report from the FDA estimates that only 70% of supplement companies do that.   

This lack of regulation can and has led to inconsistencies throughout the supplement industry. In many cases the lack of regulation has only led to harmless mislabeling with ingredients that aren’t dangerous. While this is unfortunate for consumers because it essentially wastes their money, it won’t cause them any physical harm. Things become dangerous when companies slip in ingredients with potentially serious side effects, which produce negative hormonal and vital organ side effects – even death.  

Types of health supplements to watch out for

  • Energy-boosting supplements such as pre-workout products   
  • Hormone-boosting supplements such as claimed “natural” testosterone boosters, or sexual enhancement supplements   
  • Weight loss or fat-burning supplements   

While these supplements aren’t always harmful, consumers should be cautious because, they have a history of contamination with dangerous substances. In many of these products, manufacturers have intentionally included a potent but also potentially harmful ingredient so that the customers would feel a powerful effect from usage. In the long term, these additives can cause serious damage.   

woman reading label on health supplements

Notable cases of harmful health supplement contamination

  • “Craze” pre-workout supplement contained an illicit designer drug very similar to methamphetamine.  
  • Health Life Chemistry Vitamin B supplement “B-50” contained two different anabolic steroids. The FDA received 29 reports of problems such as muscle pain and abnormal liver, cholesterol, and thyroid tests.   
  • A GNC in Oregon knowingly sold “all natural” fat burner supplements containing an amphetamine-like stimulant.   
  • Rainbow diet pills and powders contained anti-depressants, thyroid hormones, and other pharmaceuticals.  
  • Several honey-based supplements such as “Royal Honey for Him” and “X Rated Honey for Men” were shown to contain tadalafil and sildenafil, the active ingredients in Cialis and Viagra. These products claimed to be all-natural alternatives.   

What should I do if I was harmed by a supplement containing illicit ingredients?

 If you or a loved one has been harmed after using a supplement containing illicit ingredients, whether it’s long-term damage or an immediate negative reaction, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages.   

Call the product liability attorneys Allen & Allen today at 866-388-1307 for a free consultation. They are dedicated to protecting you and ensuring that your unique case receives the attention and care it deserves.