Sometimes, there is such a thing as a shortcut when it comes to getting, and staying, healthy. Seriously, it doesn't have to be all toil and trouble; small, smart tweaks can do great things for your body. But, newsflash: Popping a weight-loss supplement is not one of those tweaks! We've been over this before, but, like a hydra sprouting new, ugly heads, weight-loss supplements continue to appear online and on shelves in newer, scarier forms each year. Now, the Food and Drug Administration is getting involved, with a new warning against three dangerous supplements: LX1, Mezo, and Best Line Suplemento Alimenticio.
Recent testing by the FDA has proven that LX1 contains undisclosed dimethylamylamine, or DMAA, a synthetic drug that constricts blood vessels and stimulates the central nervous system. DMAA was originally manufactured in the 1940s as a nasal decongestant (constricting blood vessels can help reduce sinus swelling, helping users to breathe more easily). While the drug successfully alleviated cold symptoms, it also caused tremors, heightened blood pressure, and headaches. So, it was removed from the market — only to reappear later in terrifying weight-loss supplements. According to the FDA, since early 2008, DMAA has been linked to at least 86 reported cases of complications, including five deaths from cardiac arrest. We'll take an apple and a spin class instead, please.
Mezo and Best Line Suplemento Alimenticio, meanwhile, contain versions of sibutramine, a substance that was marketed as the drug Meridia until it was pulled from U.S. shelves in 2010. It works by blocking the activity of the neurotransmitters that typically tell your brain you're hungry. Unfortunately, it also induces headaches, nausea, constipation, and even heart attack and stroke. Yikes. What makes the recent batch of weight-loss pills especially pernicious is that they're often advertised as "natural" or "herbal" while in reality they contain dangerous pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. Visit the FDA's website for more information on tainted weight-loss products — or just steer clear of these shortcuts to the hospital altogether.