Dietary supplements are meant to improve the health of the population. Instead dietary supplements have sent 23000 people including children to the emergency room according to study. The symptoms were so severe that 9% of the patients required hospitalization. The dietary supplements include herbal products, aphrodisiacs, vitamin supplements, minerals, and antioxidadants which are marketed for a wide range of indications with little or no testing to back up the claims.
Researchers with the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded that 23,000 emergency department visits can be ascribed to “adverse events” due to dietary supplements. These visits are attributed to a variety of symptoms which includes cardiovascular problems associated with weight loss supplements, high energy drinks in young adults and swallowing problems often related to micronutrients in older adults.
Though this number is small –just 5% -of the total ER visits, it is enough to cause alarm. The herbal and nutritional products remain largely unregulated. Surveys have revealed that 50% of the US adult population have used some kind of dietary supplement in the past month. As of now there are more than 55,000 products categorized as nutritional or herbal supplements in the market.
The most glaring and recent is the case of former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Lamar Odom who collapsed after taking Herbal Viagra pills aptly named Reload. The FDA had earlier issued a warning that it contained a hidden drug ingredient which can cause adverse reaction. Odom is on life support and in a comatose condition according to news report.