Supplements for weight gain and energy can cause risk for youth

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A new study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found about hundreds of cases where children and young adults have been seriously harmed by supplements that promise to help with weight loss, energy or building muscle. The study has been published in the Journal of Adolescent health that looked at reports to Food and Drug Administration from January 2004 to April 2015.

The study had found that compared to vitamins, the supplements that carried nearly triple the risk of severe medical events in young people. Flora Or, the lead researcher said, “By ‘severe medical events,’ I mean emergency room visits, hospitalization, life-threatening events such as convulsion and loss of consciousness, disability and even death”. Or added that the study found 977 cases of adverse events including 40 percent, who were considered as severe. This could probably be the tip of the iceberg as most problems with the supplement are not reported.

It is very likely that the causes are either contaminants in the supplements or overdoses. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Study had in 2015 estimated that dietary supplements lead to 23,000 emergency room visits per year in the US. The Harvard University has recommended repeal or revision of federal law that keeps supplements from being more robustly regulated.

In the mean time the study author has recommended that individuals and parents must stay away from such supplements.

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