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Top 3 Adulterated Dietary Supplements (#foodsafety)(#biochemistry)(#health)(#ipumusings)

Top 3 Adulterated Dietary Supplements

Author: Manyata Gupta

Top 3 Adulterated Dietary Supplements (#foodsafety)(#biochemistry)(#health)(#ipumusings)


The adulteration of dietary supplements has been mentioned pretty frequently, but most health care specialists and consumers and are unfamiliar with the problem. In this article, we spotlight diverse examples of contamination-associated adulteration with the hope of increasing awareness among practitioners and the patients they teach and care for. Economically prompted adulteration is a critical trouble for many products, inclusive of nutritional dietary supplements. Increasingly, structural analogues and artificial intermediates and structural analogues of the pharmaceuticals and medicines that have been discontinued or withdrawn from the market due to unsatisfactory safety profiles are getting used as adulterants. Adulteration by the illegal addition of pharmaceutical substances or their analogues is of a primary challenge due to the fact that unscrupulous manufacturers can falsify these products to offer for brief consequences and to boom sales.

These diverse classes of synthetic drugs are most frequently described as being illegally added to dietary supplements advertised for weight loss, Body-building/athletic performance and sexual performance enhancement. Information regarding regulation and consumption is additionally presented. Finally, several conventional and advanced analytical techniques used to detect and identify different adulterants in dietary supplements and thus also in foods, with particular emphasis on food supplements, To identify products that are unsafe or adulterated (contain unapproved ingredients), the FDA relies on postmarket surveillance efforts including review of adverse event reports and consumer complaints, an inspection of dietary supplement firms, and screening of imported products. Serious adverse events reported with the utilization of dietary supplements include stroke, acute liver injury, renal failure, pulmonary embolisms, and death.

Weight-loss Supplements

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for several chronic diseases and are recognized by the World Health Organization as an increasing public health issue affecting many individuals, especially in Western developed countries. The loss of weight or the upkeep of a perfect weight is both commonly related to diet and exercise, often requiring significant changes in eating behaviour and lifestyle. Several supplements are currently being sold with alleged weight-loss promise. Since these products have plants or plant extracts in their composition, they're often advertised as containing “purely natural ingredients,” which is usually perceived by many consumers are harmless and safer products than pharmaceutical drugs.

Top 3 Adulterated Dietary Supplements (#foodsafety)(#biochemistry)(#health)(#ipumusings)

More importantly, recent studies have shown that weight-loss supplements are frequently found to be adulterated by the illicit addition of synthetic drugs. The drugs most generally associated with weight-loss supplements adulteration include anorexics (such as sibutramine, rimonabant, fenproporex, phentermine etc.) but also stimulants (ephedrine, norephedrine, and synephrine), anxiolytics (main benzodiazepines such as diazepam), antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline), diuretics (like furosemide), and laxatives (including phenolphthalein) Of these substances/adulterants, the most frequently used are anorexics derived from amphetamines with sibutramine being the most commonly detected in these supplements.


Body-building and Athletic performance enhancement supplements

Most athletes are very scrupulous with their body image and sometimes prefer to maintain certain restrictive diets, avoiding some foods to realize a desired physical constitution, which is considered by some athletes as a crucial factor for his or her performance improvement. Such diets are often very strict and sometimes unbalanced, therefore resulting in a nutritional failure of essential vitamins and minerals which will endanger both performance and health. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that a good larger usage rate occurs among athletes, although consumption prevalence varies with the sort of sport, gender, and level of competition.

Some athletes believe that taking supplements improves body appearance and physical performance, thus resorting to dietary supplements even if they're not needed. A wide range of stimulants, steroids, and other agents currently included on the prohibited list have been identified as adulterants in dietary supplements., the use of modified or “designer” steroids (such as prostanozol, methasterone, andostatrienedione) is of higher concern because so little is known about their pharmacology and possible side effects.

Sexual performance enhancement supplements

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 150 million men worldwide being characterized by the lack to make or maintain a penile erection during sexual intercourse. The treatments currently known for this problem encompasses the administration of PDE-5 inhibitors drugs. The side effects of PDE-5 inhibitors and possible interactions with other drugs are well documented. These drugs can cause headaches, flushing, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, and visual disorders, and since they were shown to potentiate the effects of nitrates and α-blockers, the use of PDE-5 inhibitors with such drugs should be avoided.

To enhance the overall performance of such products, unscrupulous producers can dope supplements with PDE-5 inhibitors Adulterated sexual enhancement supplements impose a completely excessive danger to consumers’ health as they are buying and consuming products that can cause adverse health effects, in particular in the case of individuals with cardiovascular diseases medicated with α-blockers or nitrates. As those individuals are advised not to take PDE-5 inhibitors, they will be tempted to undertake other alternatives advertised as being natural products and inadvertently put their lives in danger due to drug interactions caused by the adulterated supplements.


The active pharmaceutical substances recognized in dietary supplements are available at unspecified concentrations and haven't been identified as safe and effective, making them unapproved drugs by FDA. These products have the potential to cause severe adverse health effects due to accidental misuse, overuse, or interaction with other medications, underlying health conditions, or other drugs within an equivalent dietary supplement because the dietary supplement industry continues to grow within us, it's essential to further address this significant public health issue. Consumers aren't conscious of such possibilities and cases of drug interactions and deleterious health effects can occur. Thus, with the growing consumption of those products, with special emphasis on supplements, and market globalization, there's also an increased need for simpler control by authorities to recognize possible adulteration and, in such cases, take measures to safeguard public health. Therefore, the event of the latest and improved analytical methodologies for the detection and structural identification of adulterants from different pharmacological classes is critically important to guard public health and make sure the quality of dietary supplements.



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2. Adulteration of Dietary Supplements by the Illegal Addition of Synthetic Drugs: A Review (weblink)

3. Adulteration of Dietary Supplements with Drugs and Drug Analogs (pdf)

4.  The FDA and Adulterated Supplements—Dereliction of Duty (weblink)

5. Beta Analytic - 3 Types of Adulteration in Dietary Supplements and How to Detect Them (weblink)

6.  Dietary Supplements - An overview (weblink)

About the Author:

Manyata Gupta, a graduate student of University School of Chemical Technology, GGSIP University, Delhi. She is pursuing her degree in biochemical engineering. She wants to build her career in biopharma, dietary supplements and herbal medicines.

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