Why Are Dietary Supplements Really Dangerous?

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Why Are Dietary Supplements Really Dangerous?
Why Are Dietary Supplements Really Dangerous?

Video: Why Are Dietary Supplements Really Dangerous?

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Video: FDA raises concerns about potentially harmful dietary supplements 2023, February
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Why are dietary supplements really dangerous?

There are many legends about biologically active food additives. Copper news dealt with one of them and tells what dietary supplements are really dangerous about.

Why are dietary supplements really dangerous?
Why are dietary supplements really dangerous?

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There are many legends about biologically active food additives. Copper news dealt with one of them and tells what dietary supplements are really dangerous about.

Bioactive food additives occupy a significant place in the Russian market of paramedical goods and services. This is due to the price - dietary supplements are often cheaper than drugs and the tendency to choose "natural" rather than "chemistry". At the same time, the consumer does not understand that dietary supplements are not "harmless herb", but a "pig in a poke".

No food, no medicine

According to Rospotrebnadzor, more than 20 thousand types of dietary supplements are registered in the Russian Federation. Although legally these are just food products designed to replenish the content of missing microelements in the body and do not have medicinal properties, on the Russian market most dietary supplements are positioned precisely as drugs. And a significant part of them, for greater persuasiveness, have names very similar to those of drugs.

At the same time, the Ministry of Health has nothing to do with the regulation of dietary supplements, they do not carry out mandatory clinical trials for drugs, but only a mandatory "Declaration of Conformity" is provided - confirmation of the quality of the additive directly by the manufacturer. And this opens up a wide scope for abuse: according to the scientific editor of the journal "Russian Pharmacies", toxicologist Alexey Vodovozov, the dietary supplement market is poorly regulated, with a large number of counterfeits and fakes and dubious raw materials inside the "correct" additives.

Rospotrebnadzor regularly warns about the unsafeness of certain dietary supplements. In November 2019, a number of pharmacies were fined for selling dietary supplements to improve potency, containing undeclared drugs. We are talking about active active ingredients (vardenafil, tadalafil), which are part of drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. "Saima", manufactured by LLC "Bioengineering company" Jin Yuan Than ", China, were sold in Moscow and Tula. "Vuka Vuka", produced by LLC "Vitamer", Vladimir region, Petushki - in Krasnodar, Elista and Sverdlovsk region.

Four years ago, a similar problem became the basis for a criminal case: in the composition of similar "food additives", chemicals that were not declared during state registration, which are part of prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction, were found. In some samples, the dosage was even higher than in drugs.

International problem

The use of dietary supplements leads to scandals all over the world. For example, a few years ago in the United States, a person died while taking the product SolgarABCDophilus® Powder. According to the advertisement, it is a probiotic that was supposed to support microflora, including in premature babies. However, in the dietary supplement, the mold Rhizopus Oryzae was found, which causes a rare disease of mucomycosis. In Russia, SolgarABCDophilus® Powder did not go through the registration procedure, but it could easily be bought through online stores and from “networkers”.

All over the world are trying to treat with the help of dietary supplements. “This is a very convenient product - not a medical one, it does not require any special permits,” explains Alexey Vodovozov. “Meanwhile, it can be passed off as a medical one, opposed to“chemical”drugs and telling wonderful tales about how dietary supplements“gently and naturally”regulate metabolism, suppress diseases even before they start.”

As a result, in the USA alone, about 23 thousand people are hospitalized due to side effects of dietary supplements. At the same time, the symptoms are suspiciously similar to side effects or symptoms of an overdose by the very same pharmaceutical substances that toxicologists "bribed by the world BigPharma" regularly find in dietary supplements, Vodovozov notes. According to him, prescription drugs with a bunch of side effects are often found in dietary supplements, and in dosages that are unpredictable and unknown to the buyer. An impressive list of proven counterfeits is available on the FDA website.

“Approximately 20% of all cases of toxic liver damage in the United States are a consequence of taking dietary supplements,” continues Vodovozov. - Here is a document where the Attorney General of New York State asks four major manufacturers of dietary supplements for detailed information about the production and quality control practices. The reason for this appeal was a sudden check in four stores in the state, which sold "natural, herbal, non-chemical" supplements. The results, the document notes, "were shocking to many consumers and raised troubling legal questions." The analysis showed the following: in the supplement it was not possible to find the plants declared on the label, but others were found, including those from the list of prohibited ones and at the same time, of course, not declared on the label."

Bypassing registration

Another type of falsification is associated with the fact that some manufacturers position drugs as dietary supplements, originally conceived as medicinal and therefore containing active pharmaceutical substances. It is long, expensive, and often impossible to register them as medicines because of the poor quality of these surrogates. Rospotrebnadzor also recognizes this problem. According to the head of the department Anna Popova, experts too often identify the content of active substances in the composition of dietary supplements and the discrepancy between the actual composition and the list indicated on the package.

Most often, supplements, especially those sold at the pharmacy, become a means of self-medication. However, dietary supplements are often prescribed by doctors: instead of or under the guise of drugs.

Even the "correct" dietary supplements are unsafe

However, not all doctors trust even "proven" dietary supplements. Moreover, people with health problems are "treated" by them. Healthy people are not interested. According to the associate professor of the Department of Faculty Therapy of the First Moscow State Medical University THEM. Sechenov Anton Rodionov, the main argument against the use of dietary supplements by his patients is that no one is able to predict the interactions between the drugs needed by the patient and most dietary supplements. Especially if they are made from unique natural raw materials - some herbs may contain active substances.“The combination of such raw materials with drugs that affect blood clotting, pressure and other indicators is completely unpredictable, and both weakening of the effect and its enhancement are possible. For example, taking an anticoagulant to prevent thrombosis and a “harmless” herb can cause severe bleeding, which will be caused by the multiple increase in the effect of the anticoagulant drug caused by the extract of unknown hay. So, either dietary supplements or treatment,”says Rodonov.

Olga Demicheva, an endocrinologist at the WikiMed clinic, a member of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, is even more categorical about the problem: “We have no right to prescribe a drug with unconfirmed efficacy and safety to a patient.”

The problem of dietary supplements is not even that they are bad or do not work, but that these products have not been sufficiently researched, believes Pavel Brand, a neurologist, medical director of the Semeynaya network of clinics. “This is a very difficult question, and there is no single answer to it. I know many very good doctors who prescribe dietary supplements. And again, the additive to the additive is different. Theoretically, vitamin D, various trace elements, Omega-3 (polyunsaturated fatty acids) are also biologically active food additives. In general, in medicine, it is not enough that you can only paint it in black or white. And this is, rather, a gray area of ​​medicine. If modern randomized trials were conducted for dietary supplements, then we could judge them unequivocally. Now they are increasingly acting at their own peril and risk."

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