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Diet Supplements & Their Dangers

May 1, 2003 |

You know that carrying around those extra pounds is not healthy, but it's hard to lose weight. Whether it's the fear of death, or just the vanity of looking great, many of you turn to dietary supplements to help you lose weight.

News 4 Arkansas received quite a response to our look at weight loss supplements last week, mostly from viewers who wanted to review the entire list of ingredients that can cause adverse affects.

Doctors attribute the deaths of almost 300,000 Americans each year to obesity.

Baltimore Orioles Pitcher Steve Belcher was taking Xenadrine before he died from heat stroke earlier this year. The medical examiner later sited ephedrine as a contributing factor in his death.

Kelly Conklin, with Cytodyne Technologies however, says "the number of alleged adverse events relating to the product, as compared to the number of users, is very small. The vast majority of users experience weight loss and improved quality of life. As with any consumer product, there are some people who should not use ephedra."

Conklin went on, saying "the criticism regarding ephedra is misplaced and reactionary. Over 50 published clinical studies support the conclusion that ephedra is safe and effective when used as directed."

The warning label on the bottle does say the product should not be used, if you are pregnant, or are being treated for high blood pressure, heart disease, renal disease, hyperthyroidism, spasms, psychiatric disease, migraines, or asthma.

In order to avoid ephedrine, many people turn to ephedra free products, but there's concern in what may be in those products.

Here's that list of ingredients to avoid, from Dr. Bill Gurley at UAMS:

Ephedrine, Bitter Orange, Guarana, Ma Huang, Sida Cordifolia, Citrus Aurantium, Kola Nut, Synephryne and Green Tea.

You've heard this phrase a thousand times before, but once again, it's important enough to repeat:

Before you take any supplement, you should ask your doctor if it's right for you.

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