Everyone wants to lose weight at some point in our lives. The age-old question is how much effort do you want to put into it. Diet books tell you how to cut calories in your meals while also giving up some comfort foods. There is only so much you can do with lettuce. Exercise helps but requires lots of energy and effort. If you have a family, it becomes even harder. Weight loss systems and fads create point systems to help you figure out what you can and can’t eat. These solutions are only temporary and require constant maintenance. They are not one and done.
Lastly is the holy grail of weight loss. The dream of every person who has a few pounds to lose. The magic weight loss pill. Pharmaceutical companies attempting to find the holy grail have left a trail of disaster. I am sure their intentions are good but those dreams of being showered with money from the rooftops were just that, dreams. The old adage of “buyer beware” is extremely important when dealing with banned weight loss supplement(#weightlosssupplement) that were once touted as the end all of exercise. In its path are injured patients, courtrooms full of lawsuits and rich lawyers. Let’s discuss some of the failures.
A lot of treatments can be found in nature when used properly. Take for example the 5000-year-old, ancient Chinese herb called Ma Huang, commonly known as ephedra. Ephedra was used in medicine to treat asthma, allergies and hay fever. Scientists have identified compounds in the plant that can help treat human ailments. The most common compounds were ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. First we begin with ephedrine which is a medication and stimulant. It is often used to prevent low blood pressure during spinal anesthesia. If pseudoephedrine sounds familiar it’s because it is very familiar in the over the counter section. It may be used as a nasal and sinus decongestants, a stimulant or as an alertness medication. Some common names are: Actifed, Benadryl Plus, Claritin D, Sudafed and Theraflu to name a few.
Both of these compounds stimulate the brain, increase your heart rate, increase blood pressure by constricting blood vessels and make it easier to breathe by expanding bronchial tubes. These compounds also cause an increase in metabolism based on the fact that they increase body heat. Somewhere along the line, ephedra became associated with weight loss and even athletes believed that it could improve athletic performance. Once the supplement business got in, the side effects exploded. The less sever side effects included skin reactions, irritability, nervousness, dizziness, trembling, insomnia, headaches, dehydration, extreme perspiration and vomiting. The more serious side effects included irregular heartbeat, seizures, heart attacks, strokes and in some cases death. Hence it became a banned weight loss supplement.
Consider the fact that really obese people will go to any lengths to try to lose weight. The problem most doctors saw was not the lack of exercise but rather an inability to control your appetite. Enter sibutramine which were also known under the brand names Reductil, Meridia, Siredia, and Sibutrex. Sibutramine is an oral appetite suppressant which was meant for weight loss as a kind of last resort. The thought process worked that if you feel fuller longer, you won’t eat as much and hence lose weight. What no one considered was the damage done by this medication.
The main findings from use was the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with its use. When using this drug, some mild side effects included dry mouth, nausea, aftertaste, upset stomach, constipation, trouble sleeping, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and joint or muscle pain. The more serious side effects include seizures, chest pain, edema, abnormal vision, bruising or bleeding, fever, jaundice and high blood pressure. The kicker was that in some cases, there were reports of increased appetite while under this medication. It came to a point where the drug was pulled in markets and countries due to the health dangers. That’s why it is on this article of banned weight loss supplement.
In the 1990’s a new banned weight loss supplement took to the human population nicknamed Fen-Phen. This was a combination drug of fenfluramine and phentermine which are both appetite suppressant. If one wasn’t enough to control your appetite, then two should do the trick. It all started when fenfluramine was marketed and wasn’t popular since the weight loss was temporary. Then the combined it with phentermine and placed marketing dollars behind it and Fen-Phen was born.
It didn’t take long before the damage had begun. Patients were dying due to heart valve problems and pulmonary hypertension. Doctors that were supervising the use of Fen-Phen began ordering echocardiogram which are sonar images of the heart. They began discovering distortions in the heart valves of patients even though they had no symptoms. As the cases mounted, the regulators placed black box warnings on the drug and the lawyers went to town. At one point, over 50000 cases against the manufacturer were filed for damages. The warning signs were there for the banned weight loss supplements but were ignored.
Another banned weight loss supplement that hurts you is a synthetic one. It is called methylhexanamine or in scientific terms as 1,3-dimethlamylamine (DMAA). This compound was originally designed by the pharmaceutical industry as a nasal decongestants. the drug works by narrowing (constricting)the blood vessels and arteries. Unfortunately, this action can elevate blood pressure and may lead to shortness of breath, tightening in the chest and to heart attacks. Based on the inability to control the side effects, the drug was pulled off the market in 2013.
This isn’t the end of the story since the dietary supplement world has used this compound since 2006 as a stimulant or an energy boosting supplement. The argument was made that these compounds are natural and found in geraniums. The safety issues have been around for a long time and there have been deaths associated with DMAA containing supplements. DMAA has been banned by many sports authorities and governmental agencies although supplements containing DMAA can be bought at your local GNC. These are some of the compounds that you should be warned about. There are plenty more especially in the world of dietary supplements. Everyone is using your desire to lose weight as an opportunity to make a buck.
Have you had any negative effects from a weight loss or dietary supplement?