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Consumer Reports Investigates Vitamins And Supplements: Ten Dangers That May Surprise You
Date:8/2/2012

YONKERS, N.Y., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a new report in its September issue and online at www.ConsumerReports.org, Consumer Reports identifies ten hazards that might surprise the large swath of American adults—more than 50 percent—who take vitamins, herbs, or other nutritional supplements.

"Patients sometimes assume that supplements are safe because they are 'all natural,' but not all supplements are truly natural. In fact, one of the greatest safety hazards to consumers involves supplements that have been spiked with prescription drugs or toxic metals," said Jose Luis Mosquera, M.D., medical adviser, Consumer Reports, and an internist who specializes in integrative health and medicine.

Consumer Reports identifies ten hazards distilled from interviews with experts, published research, and its own analysis of reports of serious adverse events submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.  Here are some of the hazards discussed in the report, plus advice for staying safe:   

1.  Supplements are not risk-free.  More than 6,300 reports describing an excess of 10,300   serious outcomes, including 115 deaths and more than 2,100 hospitalizations, 1,000 serious injuries or illnesses, 900 emergency-room visits, and some 4,000 other important medical events, streamed into the FDA from supplement companies, consumers, health-care providers, and others between 2007 and mid-April 2012.  CR notes that the reports by themselves don't prove that supplements caused the problems, but the raw numbers are cause for concern. Current laws make it difficult for the FDA to order a problem product off the market. In fact, to date, the FDA has banned only one ingredient, ephedrine alkaloids.

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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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