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Herbs at a glance

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Visit the website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine for information on many of the herbs used as and in dietary supplements.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has produced a series of fact sheets on specific herbs and botanicals. Find information on common names, uses, potential side effects, and other information by choosing any of the 45 herbs or botanical fact sheets.

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FDA Press Release: Don’t use products marketed as antimicrobial dietary supplements

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The FDA is warning consumers not to buy or use products claiming to antimicrobial and marketed as dietary supplements.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to stop using dietary supplement products that claim to be antimicrobial (antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral) drugs. These products are falsely promoted to treat upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, and colds, and they look like antimicrobial products sold in Mexico.  More information, including product names, is provided in the FDA Press Release.

The FTC and fake acai “news” claims

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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.”

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Get 7-8 hours of sleep to perform daily tasks efficiently

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More than one-third of adults in the U.S. Don't get enough sleep, and getting less than 7 hours will impact even your everyday tasks.

According to a recent article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the National Sleep Foundation reported that more than one-third of adults in the United States are not sleeping enough, and inadequate sleep impairs daily tasks. Compared to those who reported sleeping 7-8 hours regularly, those who slept less than 7 hours reported significantly more trouble performing the daily tasks such as:

  • Ability to concentrate
  • Memory
  • Working on a hobby
  • Driving or taking public transport
  • Taking care of financial matters
  • Performing at work.

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’.”

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    Dietary supplements: Questions and answers

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    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.

    Beware of Fraudulent Weight-Loss "Dietary Supplements"

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    The FDA warns against weight-loss products which don't live up to their claims and can potentially cause serious harm.

    The FDA warns against weight-loss products which don't live up to their claims and can potentially cause serious harm. Dozens of products have been found being marketed as dietary supplements which contain hidden prescription drugs or compounds that have not been adequately studied in humans.

    For more information, click here [PDF].

    Beware of Fraudulent "Dietary Supplements"

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    Federal regulators continue to warn consumers about tainted, dangerous products that are marketed as dietary supplements.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found nearly 300 fraudulent products–promoted mainly for weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding–that contain hidden or deceptively labeled ingredients.

    Click here for more information [PDF].

    Family Matters: Military Youth Risk-Taking Behavior

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    In a study of military youth, risk-taking behavior was compared to national and state averages. How did they rank?

    In a study of military youth, risk-taking behavior was compared to national and state averages. The researchers found that risk-taking behaviors among military youth—specifically, sexual activity and substance abuse—were much lower than national and state averages. However, there were still reports of risk-taking behaviors among military youth, so the authors caution not to misinterpret this information—even military children still need guidance. For more information on risk-taking behaviors, visit the HPRC's Mind Tactics "Performance Degraders" section.

    Supplements may boost energy but strain troops' hearts

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    Military doctors are worried that certain energy supplements could lead to heart problems in U.S. troops.

    According to a recent  article in Stars and Stripes, Military doctors are worried that certain energy supplements could lead to heart problems in U.S. troops, particularly those serving in combat zones.

    Click below to access the article.

    Supplements may boost energy but strain troops' hearts

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