Definition Essay- Brett Lang

Everybody wants to feel and look good with their shape and body. People go on large diets, workout for hours, and take different supplements to get a better looking body that they prefer, and feel looks good to them. When you walk into GNC and you see tons of dietary supplements that say, Huge weight loss, best weight loss supplement out there, lose weight in eight weeks on our product, and etcetera. They all sound completely wonderful and just what you need, but with further research you find these “amazing” supplements actually cause terrible health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, seizures, death, and more. This gets you to wondering how these products get out on the market like that and causes you to ponder to yourself, what is a dietary supplement? A dietary supplement to me seems to be an herbal based product made to help one with a healthy benefit, which is followed along by a bunch of loose and seemingly dangerous regulations that causes it to be a danger to the user, but Congress defines it a little differently. According to Congress under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, it says a dietary supplement is and I quote “a product (other than tobacco) that is intended to supplement the diet;contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; and other substances) or their constituents;is intended to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid; and is labeled on the front panel as being a dietary supplement,”(“Dietary Supplements”). Now according to all this information this is what makes a dietary supplement a dietary supplement, so how does an Ephedra based product, Ephedra being banned by the FDA for use because of its highly catastrophic side effects and cause of death, such as Metabolife356 meet these requirements?

Metabolife 356 was a very popular Ephedra based product. The ingredients of the product is as follows: Vitamin E (as di-alpha tocopheryl acetate) (6 i.u.), Magnesium (as Magnesium Chelate) (75 mg), Zinc (as Zinc Chelate) (5 mg), Chromium (as Chromium Piccolinate) (75 mcg), and a proprietary blend (728 mg total) of the following: Guarana (seed), Ephedra (Ma Huang) extract (ephedrine group alkaloids) (aerial part), Bee Pollen, Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) (root), Ginger (root), Lecithin, Bovine Complex, Damiana (leaf), Sarsaparilla (root), Goldenseal (aerial part), Nettle (leaf), Gotu Kola (aerial part), Spirulina, Royal Jelly. Other ingredients: Citric acid, glycine, caffeine, croscarmellose sodium, protein hydrolysate, silica, modified cellulose, magnesium stearate, dextrin, dextrose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, sodium citrate, ascorbic acid (“Metabolife 356”). Taking a look at each component lets see how it meets the requirements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

A dietary supplement is intended to supplement the diet, and this product claims to do exactly that and help with weight loss. Having vitamins in a dietary supplement is essential and we know it has at least one with Vitamin E. Along with Vitamins, minerals are just as important to be included in the product, which the Metabolife has with zinc being included in its ingredients. The main banned component of the Metabolife 356 completes the criteria for a herb or botanical component. Ephedra being a herb coming from the plant also named Ephedra is what makes this requirement met(“What is Ephedrine?”). The plant is a shrub located in desert region areas such as Asia, which they extract and create into the Ephedra component found in the Metabolife356(“What is Ephedrine?”). After that you must have an amino acid component in the mix of a dietary supplement. One of the amino acid compounds found in this product is glycine which completes the requirement of at least one amino acid being included in the dietary supplement. Based on the qualifications for ingredients the Metabolife 356 has met all the needed requirements set. When looking at the website on the product it clearly states to take the product dosage and calls the product “caplets,” which checks off another restriction on what dietary supplements must be taken as (“Metabolife356”). The product is also clearly labeled as a dietary supplement too.

When going over all the qualifications the Metabolife 356 checks out in every single category perfectly. It has at least one of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs, such as our banned substance Ephedra, that it must require to be determined a dietary supplement. It meets the labeling and claims of supplementing the diet and being called a dietary supplement on the front of the container. It’s also clearly taken as one of the recommended ways of dosage as a caplet and checks out there. It was so easy to mark off this product as a clear dietary supplement based on the qualifications of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act that were presented. A very dangerous Ephedra product that caused many terrible heart problems, high blood pressures, seizures, and even caused deaths to people is easily classified as a dietary supplement when checking out the ingredients and labels.

The product was so easily checked out to definitely be a dietary supplement in every way and form from ingredients, to labeling, and claims. It puts a real question mark to the regulations and requirements that are set up on supplements as to how they are manufactured, regulated, and determined a good dietary supplement. If people could easily have made products such as the Metabolife 356 with the Ephedra component being included, that had caused death to some users, then why wouldn’t someone be able to put a worse and more dangerous herb or other component in the mix. The classifications of a dietary supplement is very weak and set around many rules with loop holes in them. A dietary supplement may be what it is as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act defines it as, which the Ephedra product Metabolife 356 meets, but A dietary supplement is also a very poorly regulated, quite frightening, and dangerous health risk to any user that does not know what they are really paying for in the end.

Works Cited

“Dietary Supplements.” Background Information: — Health Professional Fact Sheet. Office of Dietary Supplements National Institute of Health, 24 July 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <;.

“Ephedra.” 2011. Web. 05 Apr. 2012. <;.

“Metabolife 356.”, 2005-2009. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <,2386.htm&gt;.

“What Is Ephedrine?” Ephedrine (Ephedra) Legal Advice: Speak to Lawyers Handling Injuries Associated Ephedra. Ephedrine Legal Advice. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <;.

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8 Responses to Definition Essay- Brett Lang

  1. davidbdale says:

    Brett, I don’t know if you’re looking for early feedback in advance of tomorrow’s deadline, but as I read your essay now, I want to point out the sort of thing you should try very hard to avoid turning up in your post for a grade.

    Your second sentence says: “People . . . go on take different supplements to get a better look body that they prefer, and feels looks good to them.” You probably don’t see the problems as you read them back while composing, but you owe it to yourself to have somebody else read them for you before I do.

    The “better look body” and the “feels looks good to them” should never make it to the blog. And that’s just the second sentence.

    I’d like to give you some time to get a reader on this, and I’ll follow whatever schedule you recommend if you’re seeing this comment. I owe you serious consideration since you posted early, but I don’t want to waste my comments on typos and accidental errors. I’d be much happier making substantial critiques you can use to improve the depth and persuasiveness of your arguments.

    I will be back either way with additional notes. You can revise first, or respond any way you wish.

  2. langer278 says:

    I checked it out and fixed all the typo problems and terrible grammar I had in the essay. I forgot to read over it and didn’t even notice the mistakes til just reading over it. I’m pretty sure I got all the mistakes out now though and fixed it up.

  3. langer278 says:

    I would also appreciate additional feedback on my paper.

  4. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Brett. I appreciate the time you took to make grammar changes. This is much better. I could offer you a second round of improvments, but I’ll wait for you to ask for that level of interference if you want it. The notes may be moot anyway if your rewrite changes the essay as much as it should.

    Your basic technique here is to compare the facts of a particular supplement with the legal definition of the characteristics of a nutritional supplement. Your methodology is clear and easy to follow. When you finish, you have two paragraphs worth of space left and not much left to say. I can help with that. Stick around for a few minutes.

    P1. Please eliminate 2nd person in all academic papers. We readers get touchy when you tell us how we feel and what we think when we stroll the aisles of a GNC. And you may be wrong, which makes us annoyed AND argumentative. Leave us out of it. Here, several solutions are possible. Leave people out of it altogether, or make the shopper someone else. “Strolling the aisles of a GNC, a reasonable shopper is assaulted by promises of bigger muscles,” for instance, “but she’s never told that the capsules that will build bulk will also give her bone cancer.” That sort of thing. OK?

    P1. Leave yourself out of it too. Your “it seems to be, to me” sentence confuses what you think a supplement is with what it should be with what it can sometimes dangerously be. Without you and your impressions in there, it can be much clearer.

    P1. How does a dangerous supplement meet the requirements, you ask? Easy. The definition doesn’t require the supplement to be safe. Here’s where your definition investigation fails to capitalize on the important questions available to you, Brett. Your essay spends all its time on whether or not Metabolife meets physical requirements, but no time questioning the quality of the requirements themselves. It makes gestures in the right direction, but you don’t make the most of your opportunity. There’s easily two paragraphs of material avaialble to you here: Does the definition require testing? Does the definition require proof of effectiveness? Does the definition require safety? Does the definition require that benefits be noticeable? No, no, no, no. A supplement could meet the definition if it delivered insignificant but measurable benefits to one person while killing others. Maybe. You’re in charge of the details and the research. How bad could a supplement be and still meet the qualifications?

  5. davidbdale says:

    P1. Your quotation marks are a clear indication that you’re quoting. There’s no need to say: And I quote.

    P1. I struck some very unnecessary words.

    P1. The “everybody wants to look good” sort of opening isn’t a terrible strategy, Brett, if your reader is really interested in fitness or supplements or looking good, but for my money, it’s not much of a hook. Tell me what’s on your mind much earlier.

    What title would make you flip to this article: “Metabolife Meets Definition of Nutritional Supplement,” or “Deadly Supplements Hide Behind Labels”?

    Since you haven’t provided your essay with a title, I’d recommend the second. First sentences should provoke interest the same way. “Dietary supplements are not required to prove that they provide specific health benefits, even if they have been proved to kill the people who use them.” I will read the second sentence of an essay that starts that way.

  6. davidbdale says:

    P2. It’s fun to read the whole Metabolife label, but do more with it. The requirements to be a supplement are met by the very first ingredient, aren’t they?

    Boiled down, the legal definition is really easy to meet: “A caplet (for example) that supplements the diet with at least one nutritional ingredient (such as a vitamin) and is labeled as a supplement.” So, clearly, if Metabolife is available as a caplet, contains Vitamin E, and is labeled as a supplement, it’s a supplement. The rest of the ingredients list is unnecessary. What’s interesting about the definition requirements is that they’re SO VERY EASY to meet. What’s dangerous about them is that meeting them exempts the products from safety testing, I think. Is that right? It’s critically important.

  7. davidbdale says:

    P3. Once you determine that Metabolife is a supplement on the basis of Vitamin E alone, the fun of the rest of the ingredients is to ask why they’re part of the mix. Presumably, supplement customers believe the ingredients have benefits, but they aren’t necessary to establish that Metabolife is a supplement. If all the other ingredients are actually beneficial (and especially if they don’t kill people), eliminating ephedra from the list shouldn’t hurt sales. Unless . . . was ephedra the hot sought-after ingredient that everybody wanted for bulk, or weight loss, or energy? I’m just asking questions now; I have no idea what’s true. You could tell us, though, whether ephedra was essential to the BUYERS’ definition of what made a good supplement.

  8. davidbdale says:

    P4, P5. I hope you’ll be able to revise thoroughly enough that P4 is completely eliminated, Brett, replaced by some of the “what the definition DOESN’T require material.” You raise good questions in P5 which could also benefit from this sort of investigation and will strenghten it by preparing readers better to ask the question, “Did the dangerous ephedra hide behind the safety of the nutritional supplement label?”

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