Severe Health Issues with Dietary Supplements in Youth

Dietary Supplements

Consuming Dietary Supplements has become in fashion these days. The US Food and Drug Administration have given countless warnings about supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building or sport performance, sexual function, and energy. We know these products are extensively marketed to and used by young people by getting influenced from each other. Lead author Flora Or, a researcher with Harvard Chan School’s Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders explained about the consequences of these supplements on the health of youth.

The Study was Published online on June 5, 2019 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The researchers went through “Adverse Event Reporting System” on the food and dietary supplements database between January 2004 and April 2015 in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They investigated the relative risk for severe medical events such as death, disability, and hospitalization in individuals aged 0 and 25 years that were linked with the use of dietary supplements which was used for weight loss, muscle building, or energy compared to vitamins.

It was found by the researchers that there were 977 single-supplement-related adverse event reports for the target age group in the database. Of these, cases approximately 40% caught up with severe medical outcomes, including death and hospitalization. Supplements used for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were linked with almost three times the risk for severe medical outcomes as compared to the use of vitamins. Supplements used for sexual function and colon cleansing were more dangerous with approximately two times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins.

Senior author S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said that trustworthy physicians never recommend the use of the type of dietary supplements which was analyzed in this study. Many of these adulterated products have been found to be prescribed by the pharmaceuticals, banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals used for weight-loss and muscle-building supplements with stroke, testicular cancer, liver damage, and even death.

Though these things cannot be taken care by the doctors or physicians alone rather it can be brought into the notice of policymakers and retailers to take meaningful action to protect children and consumers of all ages.

In the entire study Yongjoo Kim of Harvard Chan School was also a co-author and was funded by the Ellen Feldberg Gordon Fund for Eating Disorders Prevention Research and the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders.


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