Definition Essay Revised- Brett Lang

Killer Supplements

Dietary supplements kill, and you may not even know how, or be warned that the product is doing so too. 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. imagine a person walks into GNC looking for something to help them get thinner and lose weight. They 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 they need, but with further research the person finds these “amazing” supplements actually cause terrible health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, seizures, death, and more. This gets them to wondering how these products get out on the market like that and causes them to ponder, what is a dietary supplement?

A dietary supplement is 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 “a product (other than tobacco) that is intended to supplement the diet;contains one or more of each 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 these rules set by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, this is what you need to create a dietary supplement. The question that comes up now is 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 important component lets see how it meets the requirements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Was the Metabolife 356 even a supplement at all?

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 looking over the Metabolife product, the first solution you come upon is to eliminate the Ephedra herb, so that you don’t have the terrible side effects. Add a different herb what’s the big deal with this one if it kills? The thing is it also gives everything the user wants when they buy the product. They want the loss of weight and they want it fast. That’s exactly what the Ephedra does. It highly stimulants your body and gets you going and helps burn off the fat much faster, along with giving you a huge dose of energy to use to help burn off the fat. Mixing it with the Caffeine component in the Metabolife 356 causes an even higher boost of energy along with a very dangerous health risk to the user. The combination gives too much high stimulation on your body and heart. Ephedra gives all the benefits that the user bought the product for, while killing them internally at the same time. Without the ephedra the Metabolife 356 is nothing. The ephedra makes and breaks the product into what it is, but it’s the regulations and loose qualifications that really created the dangers in this product to be out there.

It was easily shown how this dangerous life risking product became an easy to buy supplement on the shelf for anyone to purchase. This is caused by the terrible qualifications of a dietary supplement. The rules are quite easy to follow and there are no restrictions to the ingredients you can add. Where is the part that says you can’t have people’s hands as part of the ingredients in your product, or any dangerous component. Besides the Ephedra that was recently banned, I don’t see any where it says what you can’t put into a dietary supplement. There are no rules for testing for safety before the product is put on the market, or providing evidence that it does what it states. It just says it needs to do what the label says, but the manufacturer doesn’t have to show prove. That’s very contradicting because how does the user knows it does what it says without evidence? Easy answer, they don’t and they never will until it is tested. The testing for safety is done after sale, and complaints of the product. It can cause large complications and possible dangers to the user. The possibilities for the dietary supplement to cause any number of outcomes harmful or helpful is endless. they have no real tight rules or restrictions. Once you meet the very basic ingredients and claims you can do whatever to the product and sell millions of the supplement before it’s even questioned what is in the product and how safe it is? It’s a very open-ended topic with such a broad way to go with the product, that the manufacturers have gone with the leash they’ve been given so far that it’s not really certain if the FDA has any control, sight, or idea that they could pull back on the dietary supplement industry and it even be there or stopped.

The  Metabolife356 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.”


“Metabolife 356.”

“What Is Ephedrine?”

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