When supplements are not controlled
With over 7,400 employees, 3.2 million independent distributors globally and turnover as much as $3.825 billion record by a single company, multi level marketing corporations have built enterprises thriving on the production, marketing and sales of herbal remedies and supplements across the world.
Whilst the sale and distribution of herbal remedies and supplements have received global acceptance, the uncontrolled sale and use of some of these products by none medically inclined persons is dangerous to your health.
Unarguably some of these products have been proven to be beneficial to health, but it might interest you to know that there has been uncountable records of death or severe damage of body organs owing to either uncontrolled use or constituents used in production of some herbals products.
In Nigeria, most pharmacy stores make a lot of their profit from sales of herbal remedies and supplements. Whilst a few of them comply with professional ethics, the majority of pharmacy stores convince customers to purchase these products without proper examination or consideration of their state of health.
In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned supplements containing ephedrine. Some weight loss products included herbs containing ephedrine. Ephedrine suppresses appetite and acts as a nasal decongestant and can also increase the heart rate.
Nigerians or other Africans who may think that these products are safe because they are imported from the United States or other western nation should have a rethink. Even in the U.S, these products are not adequately regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Based on an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was reported that “Even when the agency [FDA] identifies an unsafe product, it lacks authority to mandate its removal from the market because it must meet the very high legal requirement to demonstrate a ‘significant or unreasonable’ risk.
If it took the FDA over 10years (after several death) to get rid of a particular supplement containing ephedrine from the market, then you must take precautions. Read the story
On May 10, 2008, it was reported that a suit was filed on behalf of a woman who developed lead-related liver complaints that she claimed were a reaction to a combination of herbal and supplementary products supplied by a herbal company. The suit was filed by the co-founder of the Dietary Supplement Safety Committee “lawyer Christopher Grell”.
Later that same year in June, a website was launched to offer a chance of redress to persons who may have been harmed by the herbal company’s products; consequently the suit was expanded to include distributors of the products to the victim.
Earlier in 2004 in Israel, four persons using the same herbal product were confirmed to have liver related problems. Hence, the Israel’s Health Minister commenced an investigation into the use of the products
The products were sent to three labs, a private U.S. laboratory, Bio-Medical Research Design LTD (B.R.D) and to Israel’s Forensic research laboratory. The finding by the Israeli Ministry of Health indicated a causative relationship which suggested the temporal association between exposure to the products and the development of liver injury.
When the products were discontinued, normalcy appeared to be restored to the liver function. And when the products were continued, there was a reoccurrence of liver injury symptoms in the three patients who resumed using the products after recovery.
Hospitals in Israel, Spain, Switzerland, Iceland, Argentina and the United States each reported cases of liver damage in some of their patients.
Overzealous intake and unsupervised dieting or use of these supplements was possible reasons given by a twelve member panel of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) after reviewing cases involving the use of the same herbal products in Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, France, Italy, Iceland and Portugal in January 2009.
Although the panel said “the analysis of these cases and information regarding their circumstances have not allowed us to establish a causal relationship” between liver anomalies and dietary supplements, the panel attributed the cases to metabolic changes from overzealous and unsupervised dieting.
The autonomy given to herbal supplements seem to be a major threat and reason why they may be harmful to health. Presently in Nigeria and some other parts of the world it is a source of income. Persons who know nothing about healthcare or the impact of these drugs on your health will successfully convince uninformed prospects of all its benefits.
It is advisable to take a clue from the advice given by the Israeli Ministry of health to citizens with compromised liver function on the need to avoid that particular dietary supplement.
Depending on your heath condition, not all dietary supplements may be good for your health. Hence, it is best and safer to consult your care provider before choosing supplements.