Are Your Diet Supplements Safe? The FDA Finds Many Supplements to Contain Controlled or Undocumented Ingredients

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Some of the natural diet supplements that we take to help control our weight or to lose weight have been deemed unsafe by the FDA. The list is surprisingly long and the ingredients that these “safe” supplements contain may shock you.

The FDA tested many diet supplements that are considered natural and safe. Results of this testing revealed that many supplements considered safe actually contain undisclosed chemicals. Some of these chemicals are controlled or regulated substances by the FDA.


Sibutramine is classified by the FDA as a Class IV controlled substance. It is the same drug found in the prescription drug Meridia. Physicians prescribe Meridia for the treatment of obesity. It is not available in an OTC form. Meridia is only available by prescription.

The FDA study found that some of the products tested contained 3 times the recommended daily dosage of Sibutramine. This can have serious health consequences. In addition to causing a potentially fatal reaction with another prescription drug, ingesting Sibutramine in high dosages can lead to high blood pressure, tachycardia, irregular heart beat and seizures.

Some of the products that tested positive by the FDA for Sibutramine are:

Slim Fast, Sana Plus, Trim 2 Plus, 2 Day Diet Slim Advance and BioEmagrecim.


Rimonabant is a drug that is not approved for use in the US. It is found in the drug Zimulti, which is not available in the US. In Europe, it is known as Acomplia. Rimonabant was brought before the FDA for approval in 2007 and was denied approval. The reason for denial was the increased risk of neurological and psychiatric episodes including suicidal thoughts, anxiety, loss of sleep, aggression, depression and seizures among tested patients. In Europe, Rimonabant has been linked to 5 deaths and over 700 adverse reactions over the past 2 years. The Europeans Medicines Agency is recommending the removal of Acomplia from their approved drug list.

Phyto Shape was the only product that tested positive for Rimonabant by FDA.


Until 1999, Phenolphthalein was used in laxatives. Then the FDA declared it as “not generally recognized as safe and effective”. Studies have shown Phenolphthalein to be a potential carcinogen and genotoxin. It has the potential to cause damage and mutations to DNA.

Zhen de Shou, Royal Slimming Formula, Imelda Perfect Slim and 8 Factor Diet all tested positive for Phenolphthalein.

FDA Regulations

The FDA regulates dietary supplements through the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Although regulations on dietary supplements is minimal, products that contain regulated drugs such as Sibutramine or those that contain substances that are not supplements have to be submitted to the FDA for approval. In addition the DSHEA requires that all supplements contain accurate and truthful labeling.

Some of the products tested will be subject to recalls. Starcaps Dietary Supplement Capsules were recalled in December 2008 due to the fact that they contained an unlisted ingredient Bumentanide, a drug available in the US by prescription only.

Many of the supplements listed above were manufactured in China. The list is much longer than what I have listed here in this article. For complete FDA information and to see if there are any recalls on the supplements you use, visit the FDA’s website at

Consumers can stay safe by knowing what they purchase. Only purchase from a company that you know. When in doubt check the FDA website for possible recalls of other products from the company. Anything that promises super fast, easy weight loss is probably not worth the money. Any product that is not available in stores and only sold on the internet should be suspect. If you know who you are dealing with, the chances of getting safe and effective products is greatly improved.