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.
“Dietary Supplements.” Background Information: â Health Professional Fact Sheet. Office of Dietary Supplements National Institute of Health, 24 July 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/dietarysupplements/>.
“Ephedra.” StreetDrugs.org. 2011. Web. 05 Apr. 2012. <http://www.streetdrugs.org/html%20files/Ephedra.html>.
“Metabolife 356.” Netnutri.com. Netnutri.com, 2005-2009. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <http://www.netnutri.com/browse.cfm/4,2386.htm>.
“What Is Ephedrine?” Ephedrine (Ephedra) Legal Advice: Speak to Lawyers Handling Injuries Associated Ephedra. Ephedrine Legal Advice. Web. 05 Mar. 2012. <http://www.ephedrine-ephedra.com/pages/what_is_ephedrine_1234.html>.