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Alerts

FDA advises consumers to stop using any supplement products labeled as OxyElite Pro or VERSA-1. Please see the following advisories: FDA -10/08/13, FDA - 10/11/13 and CDC - 10/08/13.

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Announcements

New article on reporting side effects of supplements
Just published in The New England Journal of Medicine: A recent article brings up dietary supplement issues you need to be aware of and discusses how dietary supplement side effects could be monitored better. A PDF of the April 3rd article is available free online.

3rd International Congress on Soldiers’ Physical Performance
August 18-21, 2014
The ICSPP delivers innovative scientific programming on soldiers’ physical performance with experts from around the world.

DMAA list updated for April 2014

Fueling Performance Photo Campaign
Share photos of how you fuel your performance and be featured on our Facebook page!

Dietary supplement module
Earn continuing education credits (if eligible) for this two-hour online module.

Operation LiveWell

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HPRC Blog

Welcome to the HPRC Blog. We've got lots of information here, from quick tips to in-depth posts about detailed human performance optimization topics.

HPRC Fitness Arena: Dietary Supplements

Help or hindrance? Market for melatonin-laced brownie snacks persists

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes and Lulla Pies are the names of melatonin-laced snacks that have been in the news lately as an anti-dote to the trend of energy/caffeinated powered beverages and products. But the research on whether they are safe, or that they actually work, has not been established.

Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes, and Lulla Pies are the names of melatonin-laced snacks that have been in the news lately as an antidote to the trend of energy/caffeinated powered beverages and products. But there is no research available on whether they are safe, or whether they actually work.

The New York Times reported on the sale of these products and others that are being sold online and in convenience stores and smoke shops. Some claim melatonin has a relaxing effect and can be used to alleviate jet lag or simply help induce sleep. But the Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved melatonin as a food additive or confirmed its safety when used as a sleep aid.

The HPRC began encountering stories of melatonin-laced brownie products back in March 2011, and we posted a Healthy Tip then that focused on the emergence of Lazy Cakes.

Do dietary supplements have a hidden health price?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
A recent study revealed that people who take dietary supplements tend to be less careful about diet and exercise. Supplements are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

The sale of dietary supplements is a $27 billion-plus industry, and it continues to grow each year. Roughly half of the U.S. population now uses supplements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. People take dietary supplements hoping they will improve their health and possibly reduce the risk of disease. But do supplements really improve a person’s health? We at HPRC pondered this question after reading a recent study published in Psychological Science.

The study looked at how people who take dietary supplements behave and whether they make healthier food choices than people who do not take supplements. One group was instructed to take a multivitamin, while the other group was instructed to take a placebo, but in actuality both groups actually received the placebo. It turned out that the group who thought they were taking a dietary supplement actually made less health-conscious choices, such as being less interested in exercise and choosing a buffet over an organic meal.

It seems as though the dietary supplements act like insurance for some individuals, as if their supplement of choice is a sort of a magic pill, as a result of which they don’t need to worry about food choices and daily exercise. But there are no magic pills, and it’s important to remember that dietary supplements aren’t meant to replace a healthy diet. According to the FDA, dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Eating a variety of foods daily is important for overall health.

Good sources of information on eating healthy are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid. While there is evidence that some dietary supplements can be beneficial—such as calcium and vitamin D for bone health, and folic acid for decreasing the risk of some birth defects—more research is needed on the effects of many other supplements. Due the assortment of active ingredients in dietary supplements, we need to be aware of their potential effects on our bodies.

Taking dietary supplements doesn’t automatically make a person healthy, and it doesn’t guarantee an individual will be free of health problems. The recent study mentioned above showed that taking supplements actually can lead people to make poor health decisions, so it’s a good idea to follow the simple principles of a healthy lifestyle: a varied, nutritious diet combined with daily exercise.

The FTC and fake acai “news” claims

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Watch out for apparent news websites, even those displaying recognizable logos, that make weight-loss claims for acai berry supplements. The FTC is targeting these deceptive practices.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking to bar deceptive claims made by websites posing as reputable news sites to entice consumers to buy acai berry weight-loss products. The FTC says these companies are not “news-gathering organizations” and their claims that acai berry supplements can cause rapid weight loss are unsupported. For more information, read the FTC release: “FTC Seeks to Halt 10 Operators of Fake News Sites from Making Claims About Acai Berry Weight Loss Products.”

FDA Press Release: FDA and FTC issue warning letter to companies selling fraudulent STD products

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The FDA and FTC have issued a warning to companies marketing unproven products to treat STDs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to several companies selling unproven products claiming to treat, cure, and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These products—such as Medavir, Herpaflor, Viruxo, C-Cure, and Never an Outbreak—violate federal law because the FDA has not evaluated them for safety and effectiveness. Some are marketed as dietary supplements, but the FDA considers them drugs since they are offered for the treatment of disease. More information is provided in the FDA Press Release.

What is vitamin B12?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Make sure you get enough vitamin B12 every day. It’s an essential nutrient that must be obtained from food; your body can’t make it.

Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins and is water-soluble. Our bodies do not store vitamin B12 so we must consume it daily. It is an important nutrient that helps make DNA, the genetic material in cells, and is essential for normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Good food choices for vitamin B12 are beef liver, clams, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and other dairy products. Read the Office of Dietary Supplement’s Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for additional information.

What are hidden sources of caffeine?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The labels on products often don’t mention caffeine content, so you have to know what ingredients contribute caffeine where you may not expect it.

We know about colas, coffee, tea, and chocolate, but caffeine can also be found in some over-the-counter drugs and herbal dietary supplement products. Energy drinks contain caffeine, and some also contain guarana, a plant with high amounts of caffeine. Yerba mate, green tea extract, and kola nuts are also sources of caffeine, and can be found in weight-loss and performance-enhancing dietary supplements. Be sure to read labels for hidden sources of caffeine.

Before taking your vitamins, do your research

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Dietary supplements may appear to be a healthier alternative to other medications, but they have their own risks and can interact with medications and one another. Proceed with caution.

The marketing and selling of dietary supplement products has become a 20-billion-plus industry. Consumers are bombarded with ads, and some people turn to them as “healthier” choices to prescription and over-the-counter medications. Consumers should seek products that have been properly manufactured and should be aware of potential interactions with medications. For other important tips, read the article “Prepared Patient: Vitamins & Supplements, Before You Dive In”.

Tainted dietary supplements: How do you know?

Dietary supplements do not require approval by the FDA, so how can you know if the supplement you are considering is tainted? Read on for warning signs and new actions by the FDA that can help.

Tainted dietary supplements most often occur among products typically marketed for weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding. They can have deceptive labeling as well as undeclared, harmful ingredients. The question is: How can consumers protect themselves from these products?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently taken some steps to help consumers look out for potentially harmful dietary supplement products.  Consumers and healthcare professionals can receive notifications from the FDA by subscribing to the RSS feed. The Commissioner of Food and Drugs also sent a letter to the dietary supplement industry reminding them of their responsibility to prevent the sale of tainted products in the United States. The FDA has also made it easier to report to the FDA about tainted products.

Some of these tainted dietary supplement products contain active ingredients of FDA-approved drugs or other compounds that are not classified as dietary ingredients. These products can have serious side effects, including death. The FDA has identified roughly 300 tainted products that are not legal dietary supplements and are warning consumers about the serious side effects of these products. Consumers should be cautious of:

  • Product ads that claim to “melt your fat away,” or claim that “diet and exercise [are] not required,” or products that use the words “guaranteed,” “scientific breakthrough,” or “totally safe.”
  • Products that use numerous testimonials about “results seen” from using the product.
  • Any product that is labeled or marketed in a foreign language. Consumers should not buy or consume these products.
  • Products that are marketed as herbal alternatives to FDA-approved drugs.
  • Products marketed and sold on the Internet.

    There have been some recent voluntary recalls due to FDA investigations of dietary supplement products. Some of these have included weight-loss products that contained the prescription drug ingredient sibutramine. Sexual enhancement products have also been recalled for containing the undeclared drug ingredients sulfosildenafil and tadalafil. Other products marketed as supplements have been identified as containing various prescription drug ingredients.

    It is important that consumers be aware that, under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, companies do not need FDA approval prior to marketing such products. Thus, generally speaking, the FDA does not approve dietary supplements.

    Consumers need to be savvy when they make product purchases, and when in doubt, check with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine if you need a dietary supplement product and to help determine what could be a tainted product. If it looks too good to be true, chances are it is.  For more information, read the “FDA’s Beware of Fraudulent ‘Dietary Supplements’.”

    Survey: Half of Americans use dietary supplements

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    Filed under: Dietary supplements
    CNN.com is reporting on a new government study which reports that more than half of American adults take at least one dietary supplement. But despite their popularity, many experts remain skeptical of their effects.

    CNN.com is reporting on a new government study which reports more than half of American adults take at least one dietary supplement. But despite their popularity, many experts remain skeptical of their effects.The study, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, found that more than 40 percent of Americans used supplements from 1988 to 1994, but by 2006 more than half were doing so. Multivitamins were found to be the most commonly used supplement.

     

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    Dietary supplements: Questions and answers

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) answers consumers' questions about dietary supplements and the regulations of dietary supplements.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has information for consumers regarding dietary supplements: Questions and answers, regulations, and safety alerts. Click here for their website.