2 Supplement Ingredients We Should Avoid Taking

Unregulated Products Can Be Problematic

Supplements are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) making consumer purchase of these products somewhat of a gamble. There is really no guarantee of the quality or effectiveness of supplements. The FDA will examine complaints and selectively pull some supplements from the shelf but this remains a small percentage. 

Regardless of the lack of regulation of supplements, they continue to represent big business in the health and fitness industry. The trend for over the counter (OTC) supplements including fat burners continues to grow as a multi-billion dollar industry. The allure of rapid fat loss and extreme muscle development by taking these products has many of us believing false claims. 

Unfortunately, many of us are putting the ‘quick fix’ before our health and not paying attention to potential adverse effects from taking supplements. Just because a supplement can be purchased online or on store shelves doesn’t mean safe or good for you. Certain fat burners and supplements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requiring them to issue warnings to consumers not to purchase these products. They have discovered hidden drugs not listed on ingredient labels in some supplements advising we avoid ingesting them for health reasons. 

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is unable to analyze all supplements on the market, they did pull and lab test ®Xtreme Fat Burner Caps and confirm hidden ingredients phenolphthalein and sildenafil. These findings stimulated the FDA to issue a warning advising consumers not to purchase or use ®Xtreme Fat Burner capsules. This is just one example of supplement evaluation and unfortunately many remain unchecked and still being consumed. 

Phenolphthalein and sildenafil are ingredients with potential to cause adverse health effects. They certainly don’t belong in over the counter supplements like fat burners. If we opt to take supplements, it’s important to understand what we’re taking. Are they helpful or harmful? 

What is Phenolphthalein?

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Phenolphthalein is a mild acid chemical compound typically used for medical treatment or scientific studies. You may be surprised to know it has been a common ingredient in over the counter (OTC) laxatives. In fact, 1997 was a bad year for the makers of ®Ex-Lax and many of their products were pulled off store shelves because it contained phenolphthalein. 

Research indicates phenolphthalein has increased the risk of colon cancer in both mice and humans. Many drug manufacturers have replaced phenolphthalein with other acceptable laxative chemicals as a result of these findings. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “phenolphthalein is a chemical that is not an active ingredient in any approved drug in the United States.” The perplexing part is why a supplement company felt it necessary to add this hidden chemical with potential health risks to their fat burner.  

What is Sildenafil?

Sildenafil is the active ingredient found in the popular drug ®Viagra approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and available through prescription. The purpose of sildenafil is to enhance the vascular system in order to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

It works by dilating blood vessels improving blood flow increasing the ability for a man to sustain an erection. Research indicates men taking sildenafil can experience an erectogenic effect for almost 24 hours. Common side effects may include a headache and flushing according to studies. 

Because sildenafil is a prescribed drug with possible adverse health effects to individuals taking other medications or diagnosed with certain medical conditions, it certainly doesn’t belong in over the counter (OTC) supplements. Sildenafil should only be taken under the guidance of a physician. 

The company makers of ®Xtreme Fat Burner capsules failed to list sildenafil as one of the ingredients in their product. This is not only unethical but also doesn’t allow consumers to be informed of an ingredient with potential adverse side effects.  

A Word From Verywell

When supplement companies fail to disclose hidden ingredients, it doesn’t help those supplement manufacturers who are trying to represent a good product. There are certain supplements that have been well evaluated through clinical research as safe and effective. The best we can do as consumers are to always approach unregulated supplements with buyer beware and frequently check the FDA warning and medication fraud list. 

Sources:
Andrew R McCullough, MD, Four-Year Review of Sildenafil Citrate, Reviews in Urology, 2002

Patricia F. Coogan et al., Phenolphthalein Laxatives and Risk of Cancer, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2000

Robert A. Kloner et al., Effect of sildenafil in patients with erectile dysfunction taking antihypertensive therapy, American Journal of Hypertension, 2000

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Public Notification: Xtreme Fat Burner Capsules contain hidden drug ingredients, 2015

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Tainted Weight Loss Products List, Information for Consumers

 

 

 

 

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