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Greg Webb
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Dietary Supplements Are Potentially Dangerous

14 comments

CNN blogged on an article by Consumer Reports (CR) that explains the potential dangers of so-called “natural” supplements. The CR article listed twelve supplements as dangerous or potentially dangerous and sited case studies that included adverse effects ranging from liver failure to respiratory problems. One supplement even causes the skin to permanently turn bluish. Visit www.consumerreports.com for more information from that magazine.

The supplements to avoid include: “aconite, bitter orange, chaparral, colloidal silver, coltsfoot, country mallow, germanium, greater celandine, kava, lobelia, yohimbe”. While CR provided a chart of these ingredients with the possible adverse effects, CNN stated that the “FDA…hasn’t been able to determine what scientific basis Consumer Reports is using for their warning”.

Another reported issue with supplements that the CR article includes, and the CNN blog emphasizes, is the possibility of supplements marked as “natural” including prescription drugs. CR mentions that sexual enhancement supplements could contain the same drugs used in Viagra and that bodybuilding aids possibly contain steroids. CNN quotes “Dr. Pieter Cohen, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School” who explains that “[s]ome supplements contain ‘multiple [prescription] drugs in the same pill’ and some supplements contain adulterated versions of existing drugs. For example, a manufacturer could take the formula for an approved erectile dysfunction drug and add or subtract a few hydrogen or oxygen atoms – thus making the drug undetectable, but also basically creating a new drug which has not been tested or approved by anyone. ‘It’s beyond irresponsible,’ said Cohen.”

Aside from the initial shock that products assumed to be naturally beneficial to one’s health could be so dangerous, one may also wonder why such products exist? CNN explained that since 1994, the FDA has been limited in its ability to regulate dietary supplement manufacturers because of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). This Act allows a supplement manufacturer to determine whether or not a supplement is safe. Prior to the Act, supplements were under the same regulations as other foods under the FDA.

Unfortunately, the FDA cannot do anything to change the current policies, as this can only be accomplished by Congress. CNN’s blog suggested that there are “powerful forces” who desire the laid-back framework to remain in place. Presumably these powerful forces have a lot of money, and lobby our legislature effectively. Hopefully as knowledge of the potential dangers spread, consumers will push for a change in the system. Until then, visit US Pharmacopia’s website: www.usp.org/USPVerified/dietarySupplements/. It is unfortunate, and perhaps unsafe, that manufacturers can gain an almost assumed degree of safety from the public when the word "natural" is placed in front of its product. The moral of the media attention to this issue is that one cannot assume a product is safe just because it is advertised or marketed as "natural", or even "organic".

14 Comments

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  1. up arrow

    I am so tired of this garbage report.

    I’ve been making, using and studying Ionic Silver (generically most often and incorrectly referred to as Colloidal Silver) for over 10 years with amazing results and no adverse side effects even when taking other medications at the same time.

    Silver chloride is the substance responsible for the reports of Argyria.

    Neither Colloidal or Ionic Silver are responsible for this condition.

    Safety Information Related to Nanoscalar-Oligodynamic Silver Ions

    http://www.natural-immunogenics.com/pdf/SS-White%20Technical%20Paper%20002-SafetyInformation-01-23-033.pdf

    Abstract:

    3. e-Medicine Journal, November 2, 2001; Number 11

    a. “Argyria results from prolonged contact to or ingestion of silver salts.

    It produces a gray to gray-black staining of skin and mucous membranes produced by silver deposition. Silver may be deposited in the skin either from industrial exposure or as a result of medications containing silver salts.”

    Neither Colloidal or Ionic Silver contain any salts if made properly.

    “The magazine says it can be a killer at high doses.”

    Well, so can water, so drink water with caution, “Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe.”

    Reference: Associated Press updated 1/13/2007 10:24:31 PM ET

    “SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A woman who competed in a radio station’s contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom died of water intoxication, the coroner’s office said Saturday.”

    “Jennifer Strange, 28, was found dead Friday in her suburban Rancho Cordova home”.

    Get a grip!

    Safety Information Related to Nanoscalar-Oligodynamic Silver Ions

    http://www.natural-immunogenics.com/pdf/SS-White%20Technical%20Paper%20002-SafetyInformation-01-23-033.pdf

    Abstract:

    d. 2.2.1. Inhalation Exposure:

    2.2.1.1. Death – No studies were located regarding death in humans or animals after inhalation exposure to silver or silver compounds.

    2.2.1.2. Hematological Effects- Blood counts were reported to be normal in all individuals observed in the occupational study of silver- exposed workers conducted by Rosenman et al. (1979) with the exception of one individual with an elevated hemoglobin level.

    Hepatic Effects – A study that measured levels of several liver enzymes (alanine transferase, aspartate amino transferase, gamma glutamyl transferase, and alkaline phoshpatase) found no significant differences between workers exposed to silver and insoluble silver compounds and those with no history of silver exposure (Pifer et al. 1989).

    Renal Effects – Studies in animals have focused only on the deposition of silver in the kidney following oral exposure (Olcott 1947, 1948) and renal tests were not conducted.

    e. 2.2.2. Oral Exposure 2.2.2.1.

    Death – No studies located regarding death in humans following oral exposure to silver or silver compounds.

    2.2.2.2. Systemic Effects – No studies located regarding respiratory, gastrointestinal, hematological, musculoskeletal, hepatic, or renal effects in humans or animals after oral exposure to silver or silver compounds.

    Cardiovascular Effects – No studies were located regarding cardiovascular effects in humans following oral exposure to silver or silver compounds.

    e. 2.2.3. Dermal Exposure

    2.2.3.1. Death – No studies were located regarding death in humans following dermal exposure to silver or silver compounds.

    2.2.3.2. Systemic Effects – No studies were located regarding respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological, musculoskeletal, hepatic, renal, or ocular effects in humans or animals after dermal exposure to silver or silver compounds.

    Part 1 of 2

  2. Clint Blumer says:
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    I think that you should publish the complications and deaths that are caused by prescription medications and publish the complications and deaths caused by dietary supplements, then compare the difference.

  3. up arrow

    I see the administrator won’t post my part 2 of 2 possibly because of the link at the bottom so I’ll disguise it.

    I keep getting * Due to the content of your message, it has been sent to an adminstrator for approval before being posted on Injuryboard

    5. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/IRIS CASRN 7440-22-4 (It should be noted that the individuals tested in these case studies are members of a subpopulation of unhealthy adults.)

    10 ppm for Adult:

    a.) 7 teaspoons can be taken a day for 70 years in accordance with the reference dose.

    b.) 19 teaspoons can be taken a day for 70 years while remaining under the critical dose of 25 grams in a lifetime.

    According to the EPA Dietary Silver Intake (10 ppm) – (LOAEL) lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level

    a. Taking 38 tspn daily of SS for 35 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    b. Taking 76 tspn daily of SS for 17 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    c. Taking 170 tspn daily of SS for 8 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    d. Taking 304 tspn daily of SS for 4 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    e. Taking 608 tspn daily of SS for 2 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    f. Taking 200 Tbspn daily of SS for 2 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    g. Taking ¾ gallon daily of SS for 2 years falls below LOAEL threshold for an adult.

    Per the cited EPA “Reference Dosage” above and that the majority of Colloidal Silver sold or that is made at home is actually “Ionic Silver” that contains approx. 20% silver particles and 80% ions and at 5 to 20ppm (parts per million) and even “Colloidal Silver” contains approx. 80% silver particles and 20% ions and at 5 to 20ppm, one can clearly see that one’s bladder would most likely burst long before enough “silver” was consumed to have any adverse effects.

    Don’t be fooled by negative propaganda or misrepresentations.

    If you want to see dangerous, look at these “approved” drugs here:

    www(dot)vaughns-1-pagers(dot)com/medicine/prescription-drug-side-effects(dot)htm

    Or search for – Prescription Drug Side Effects Summary

  4. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr. Blumer,

    Thank you for commenting. You made a valid point. But, most prescription drugs come with a host of warnings, including side-effects, etc. I am not a big defender of the pharmaceutical industry, but, prescription drug manufacturers do not normally tout the “natural” benefits of their products, implying the drug is “healthy” because it is “natural” or made from “natural” products (plants, herbs, roots, etc.). So, while it is likely that the vast majority of supplements are not harmful, there seem to be a handful, at a minimum, that have potentially harmful, or even deadly, side-effects. I think it is important to be very careful about what anyone takes, and not trust the packaging in which it is marketed.

    Greg Webb

  5. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr./Mrs. Silver Genie:

    May ask for whom you work? First, I would refer you to my comments to Mr. Blume above. I take some supplements as well, and I don’t think anyone could reasonably say that all supplements are bad. But, there are some that are bad for some people. Be careful and be forewarned is the moral of the story I think.

    Greg Webb

  6. Clint Blumer says:
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    Most people that are prescribed prescription medications may not understand what the medication is, nor understand the information that comes with the prescription. They do, however trust the doctor, or nurse practitioner, or physician assistant that orders the drug for them. Since people purchase dietary supplements under their own cognizance without the knowledge of that supplement, then they accept what consequences that may occur. Scientists and medical specialists all insist that citizens should be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, but none have offered how the information should be disseminated.

  7. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr. Burner,

    I think we agree with each other, for the most part. But, if the labeling or literature accompanying a supplement is incomplete, misleading, or even fraudulent, what should be done? Especially if it is advertised or marketed as “natural” and, seemingly, without risk, and a person is injured because of the supplement? Perhaps this is merely a hypothetical exercise or debate, but I suspect not. With the Consumers Report article, at lease folks have some information in order to make an informed decision.

    Greg Webb

  8. Clint Blumer says:
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    Mr. Webb,

    Personally, the solving of the problem is relatively simple. If people are not willing to be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, or educate themselves on the subject, then congress should pass a law to make it mandatory for manufacturers of dietary supplements to do the same thing that the pharmaceutical companies have done. Include literature along with the dietary supplement informing the public about the product.

  9. Clint Blumer says:
    up arrow

    Mr. Webb,

    Personally, the solving of the problem is relatively simple. If people are not willing to be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, or educate themselves on the subject, then congress should pass a law to make it mandatory for manufacturers of dietary supplements to do the same thing that the pharmaceutical companies have done. Include literature along with the dietary supplement informing the public about the product.

  10. Clint Blumer says:
    up arrow

    Mr. Webb,

    Personally, the solving of the problem is relatively simple. If people are not willing to be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, or educate themselves on the subject, then congress should pass a law to make it mandatory for manufacturers of dietary supplements to do the same thing that the pharmaceutical companies have done. Include literature along with the dietary supplement informing the public about the product.

  11. Clint Blumer says:
    up arrow

    Mr. Webb,

    Personally, the solving of the problem is relatively simple. If people are not willing to be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, or educate themselves on the subject, then congress should pass a law to make it mandatory for manufacturers of dietary supplements to do the same thing that the pharmaceutical companies have done. Include literature along with the dietary supplement informing the public about the product.

  12. Clint Blumer says:
    up arrow

    Mr. Webb,

    Personally, the solving of the problem is relatively simple. If people are not willing to be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, or educate themselves on the subject, then congress should pass a law to make it mandatory for manufacturers of dietary supplements to do the same thing that the pharmaceutical companies have done. Include literature along with the dietary supplement informing the public about the product.

  13. Clint Blumer says:
    up arrow

    Mr. Webb,

    Personally, the solving of the problem is relatively simple. If people are not willing to be educated on the subject of dietary supplements, or educate themselves on the subject, then congress should pass a law to make it mandatory for manufacturers of dietary supplements to do the same thing that the pharmaceutical companies have done. Include literature along with the dietary supplement informing the public about the product.

  14. Clint Blumer says:
    up arrow

    Sorry for the repeated comments. I did not intentionally cause that to happen.

    Clint Blumer 9/9/10