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The Dangers of Herbal Diet Pills and Side Effects of Herbal Pills


dangers of diet herbal pills for weight lossThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all manufacturers of herbal products to not make false or misleading claims about their products. Manufacturers must have evidence backing up all claims but they are not required to submit that evidence to the FDA. Consumers must research and determine the safety and effectiveness of herbal products.

A doctor or pharmacist is a good source of information when researching health risks and potential side effects of herbal medicines. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplements are also good resources to find information on herbal products.

Herbal Diet Pills are not for Everyone


Some herbal ingredients can interact with prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Speaking with a doctor or pharmacist is recommended to ensure interactions are avoided.

Pregnant or breast – feeding moms are not advised to take any herbal supplements. The safety of herbal ingredients has not been established for fetuses or infants.

Some herbal ingredients may cause complications during surgery procedures. They have been known to reduce how effective anesthesia is, causing bleeding or raise blood pressure. Anyone who is taking or was taking herbal supplements should advise his doctor prior to any surgery procedures.

Adults over the age of 65 are not advised to take herbal supplements due to metabolism changes. Safety for anyone under the age of 18 has not been established and this age group does not have a safe dosage recommendation.

Herbal Diet Pills Can Cause Electrolyte and Vitamin Imbalance


Many herbal diet pills contain laxatives and diuretics. These agents can lead to dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes. Using laxatives or diuretics can lead to vitamin deficiencies. Another ingredient used for weight loss purpose is Ipecac Syrup, a syrup meant to induce vomiting. Ipecac Syrup is not a safe method of weight control and has potential to be fatal.

Herbal diet pills containing laxatives and/or diuretics often have a side effect of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from laxatives and/or diuretics include: stomach cramping, constipation, bloating, mood swings and fatigue. Withdrawing from laxatives may require medical assistance in some cases. Diuretics rid the body of water and often lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Hospitalization may occur after using diuretics along with short and long – term fluid retention.

Liver Damage and Failure Can Result from Certain Herbal Diet Pills


Andrea DeCruz, a 28–year–old actress, nearly lost her life after taking a herbal diet pill called “Slim 10”. Time Magazine reported that DeCruz took the herbal diet pill for two months before being near death. The herbal diet pill destroyed her live and she now takes immunosuppressants to ensure her new liver is not rejected.

There have been many reports of women losing their lives from taking herbal diet pills. In 1997, the U.S. banned an ingredient called “fenfluramine”. This ingredient was often found in herbal diet pills as well as variations of the ingredient. The ingredient was still found widely on store shelves in Asia despite government warnings and measures were taken to reduce chances of export into North America.

Herbal Diet Pills May Cause Death

As Time Magazine reported, death from herbal diet pills did occur in the early 2000s. From 2000 to 2001 a total of seven women were reported to have died from taking herbal diet pills. In the U.S. 80 deaths have been reported as a result of taking ephedrine, a stimulant used in herbal diet pills.

Despite government warnings, people are still intent on taking herbal diet pills to lose weight quickly. Only consumer education will assist consumers in making wise choices and avoiding lethal side effects. Consumers are encouraged to read the ingredients and research their warnings before trying a diet pill of any form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

References:

Mayo Clinic. Herbal Supplements: "What to know before you buy" (accessed September 29, 2010)

Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders. "Diet Pills, Laxatives and Dangerous Methods" (accessed September 29, 2010)

Time. "Asia’s Killer Diet Pills" (accessed September 29, 2010)

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