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Beware of potential health risk related to supplements – Harvard Health – Harvard Health

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Do you know someone who is taking supplements in hopes of boosting their energy levels, gaining muscle, or losing weight? You may want to warn them about potential dangers. A study published online June 5, 2019, by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that products sold to boost energy, promote weight loss, or build muscle were linked to three times the number of severe medical events compared with vitamins. Researchers came to this conclusion after looking for supplement-related adverse events reported between January 2004 and April 2015 to the FDA. In total, they identified 977 cases of harm linked to supplements. Of those, 40% were severe medical events that resulted in death or hospitalization. While energy, weight loss, and muscle-building supplements appeared to be the riskiest, products sold to promote sexual function or to cleanse the colon were problematic as well. The FDA has found that some of these supplements contain dangerous substances or contaminants, such as pesticides, harmful chemicals, or heavy metals. Past studies have connected weight-loss and muscle-building supplements with serious, sometimes fatal, health problems, including liver damage, stroke, and testicular cancer.

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