Natural diet pills warning

February 15, 2009


Just because something says ‘natural’ on the packaging is no guarantee that it actually is – particularly if it is imported from a country with less stringent health regulations than our own. The easy availability of products on the Internet has made it even more important that you check the source of what you are buying.

Latest news from the USA has shown that popular weight loss products promoted heavily by sports people and TV personalities are seriously flawed and freely available without prescription from health stores or online. You would think if they are on sale in a health shop they would be ok, but the Food and Drug Administration says weight-loss capsules, called StarCaps, which are promoted as natural dietary supplements and contain papaya, could be hazardous to your health. That’s because they also contain a potent pharmaceutical drug called bumetanide, a strong diuretic. Using too much of this drug can lead to serious water and mineral loss because it decreases the amount of water retained in the body by increasing urination. This is a prescription drug which requires you to be monitored by your doctor for side effects which include severe thirst, dry mouth, mental confusion and muscle cramps/weakness. It can also mask steroid use, which is why it is on the list of substances banned by the National Football League, and why several players who had taken it failed a drug test when they tested positive for bumetanide. Why football players need diet pills is a bit of a mystery, as it’s hard to tell what size they are under all that padding, but presumably they had their reasons and several are now suing the health store chain that sold the supplement to them.

The FDA has found other similar ‘natural’ weight loss products – most of which are imported from China and Peru – and named Sliminate, Superslim and Slim Up among 69 tainted weight-loss supplements they have found so far. The problem is that many of these drugs do not fully declare their ingredients, which makes them illegal in the USA, but still available on the Internet. An additional complication can be if you are already taking prescription medication and some of these ingredients can interact with your drugs, and reported symptoms include high blood pressure, chest pains, palpitations or seizures. Because you don’t know exactly what they contain, they could have toxic interactions with your own medication and could make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose to diagnose patients.

As I have mentioned before, just because something is natural doesn’t mean you won’t be affected in an adverse way by it. The simplest things, like garlic for instance, can bring some people out in allergic reactions including sweating, increased blood pressure and faintness – and millions of people experience no effect at all. Garlic is in fact extremely good for the immune system, but there is no guarantee on how it will affect you personally. Losing weight is a good goal, but remember that natural weight loss usually involves eating less and exercising more, a cheaper – and safer – alternative to supplements all round.


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