It's unclear how much HCG is contained in the homeopathic products -- some suggest only trace amounts -- or whether the products truly contain HCG at all, even if labeled as such, said Elizabeth Miller, acting director of the Division of Non Prescription Products and Health Fraud at the FDA. Advertisements claim dramatic weight loss results of the HCG Diet, asserting that the diet program, which combines a 500-calorie diet while taking an HCG product, can produce fast results.
But there are no studies that show taking any product containing HCG as part of a low calorie diet has additional weight loss benefits, Miller said.
Women need to consume on average 1600 to 2400 calories a day and men need to consume 2000 to 3000 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight. The FDA says a very low calorie diet can cause gall stone formation, electrolyte imbalances, and even heart arrhythmia, regardless of whether the hormone is also taken. Arbuckle said he stands by his program because he says he is a testament to the weight loss success. But Arbuckle says that after being issued the FDA warning letter, he can't quite say that HCG was the source of his weight loss success.
Arbuckle declined to say how much HCG is contained in the drops and what changes will be made to the drops.
Calls made by ABC News to the other companies that were issued warning letters were not immediately returned. It's not clear how many people are on the diet or buy these products, but Miller and Cleland said heavy marketing for these regimens on the Internet indicates there's a large consumer market out there. Although studies show that people don't lose any additional amount of weight by adding HCG injections to their low calorie diet than with the low calorie diet alone, Emma said the difference is in how the weight is lost. Still, the FDA said that regardless of the homeopathic labeling of HCG products, HCG is not an appropriate treatment for weight loss.
Most Americans don't know it but a lot of supposedly "natural" weight loss supplements being sold right here in the US are not natural at all. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use Fat Zero, a product promoted and sold for weight loss on various websites and in some retail stores.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use Paiyouji Plus, a product promoted and sold for weight loss on various websites and in some retail stores.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use Fruit & Plant Slimming, a product promoted and sold for weight loss on various websites and in some retail stores. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use Royal Dragon Herbal Tonic Balls, a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and in some retail stores. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use Extreme Body Slim, a product promoted and sold for weight loss on various websites and in some retail stores. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use “Nights to Remember,” a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and in some retail stores.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use “Bullet Proof,” a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and in some retail stores.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use “Vicerex,” a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and in some retail stores. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use “Sex Plus,” a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and in some retail stores. The world of weight loss products probably has more scams or dishonest promotions than any other field due to the desperation of so many looking for an easy path to weight loss. The FTC has a good and extensive overview called: “Deception in Weight-Loss Advertising” that is available for free download.
Companies that sell diet products based on the hormone HCG (sold at major retailers like Walmart and the major drugstores), have been told by the FDA and FTC that they are selling illegal homeopathic weight loss drugs that have not been approved and claims for weight loss are unsubstantiated.The product makers say that they should be used with a 500 calorie diet which is not healthy. The hormone is FDA-approved only as a prescription injection drug to treat some cases of infertility and for select male hormone imbalances. Still, so-called homeopathic versions of the hormone -- found as oral drops, sprays, and pellets -- are marketed by many companies as a weight loss supplement. Oral consumption of only trace amounts of HCG does not absorb into the body and does not work the same way as injections, she said. That digestion process inactivates the hormone and therefore has no effect on the body, according to The Endocrine Society.
Side effects of injection HCG include blood clots, decreased sperm production, and potential long-term risk of breast cancer in women.
Many of these products contain hidden and totally illegal drugs that are either supposed to be available only by prescription or, in some cases, are banned or experimental.
What's worse, because these products are "flying under the radar" they are subject to absolutely no regulation or quality control and that means that the dosages of of these hidden drugs may be far higher than safe and that there may be toxic chemical contaminants mixed in.
The only ones that have been researched and shown results have been Fen Phen (which was declared dangerous and taken off the market). The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is well aware of the problem and is doing an admirable job of trying to catch and ban these products before they harm or kill people.
Unfortunately, and by the FDA's own admission, they cannot check every supplement brand on the market and so, inevitably, these toxic pills, capsules and shakes end up being consumed by Americans who have no idea how dangerous they may be. The FDA has reported a number of deaths from contaminated weight loss products in the US.Where are the Contaminated Products Coming From?Nearly all of these dangerous supplements are made overseas in nations that either lack regulation or where the existing regulations are simply not enforced. Unfortunately the US's biggest trading partner, China, appears to be among the prime culprits.Why Are These Supplements Being Deliberately Contaminated With Drugs?Because of money. The main drug found added to contaminated weight loss products is called sibutramine and it does indeed cause weight loss. In other words, these supplements are being deliberately contaminated in order to make their manufacturers in China wealthy.If the Added Drugs Are the Same as Legitimate Prescription Drugs, What's the Problem?First, not all of the added drugs are legitimate.
Some come by boat in cargo containers, some by air or even in cars crossing the US border from Mexico and Canada.How Can You Tell if a Supplement is Contaminated?Prescription drugs in the US have a "pedigree".
They have been inspected by the FDA at every step in their manufacture from raw ingredients all the way through pill-stamping, distribution to doctors and pharmacies and right onto every bottle of every prescription dispensed in the US.
You will always find several critical pieces of information: manufacturer, expiration date, NDC number and lot number. This information is part of the drug's pedigree and guarantees that it contains exactly what the label says.Not so for supplements.
Yes, supplements may have a manufacturer's name, expiration date and a lot number but there is no guarantee that this information means very much. Instead the law says that it is the job of the supplement manufacturer to guarantee safety.
The only time that the FDA can step in to ban a supplement is when there is clear evidence that it may be dangerous and that usually doesn't happen until somebody has already been harmed by it. What You Can do to Protect Yourself From Dangerous SupplementsThe simple solution is don't take any over-the-counter supplements for weight loss. Remember too that we are talking about supplements that are specifically advertised for weight loss, not ordinary vitamins and minerals. Generally vitamin and mineral supplements from large US manufacturers are safe and contain only what they say. You can see a number of examples below. The Story of "Healthy People" Brand Weight Loss SupplementsSeveral years ago a new weight loss supplement became very, very popular here in Albuquerque and in a number of cities in the southwest US. The name of this brand was "Healthy People" and the products were sold via "multi-level" marketing where satisfied "customers" could buy their ways into becoming distributors and then recruit other distributors from whom they in turn made a profit. I mean it really worked but when I took it I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. One of my customers had to go to the emergency room because her heart beat got irregular."She also described the sales operation as rather unsavory. It was kinda scary and to tell the truth I felt like a drug dealer."The Bubble BurstsBy February, 2012, the FDA had learned enough about Healthy People to decide to test it in their laboratories. The company that marketed Healthy People in the US claimed that they had no idea it contained sibutramine and lacking evidence, the FDA took no further action.
The "Healthy People" quickly released a new series of supplements that did NOT contain sibutramine but customers quickly realized they didn't have the same effects and quickly jumped ship. Today Healthy People still exists as a product line but as a shadow of its former dangerous self. Even today, in the summer of 2013, hardly a week goes by that I don't meet a patient who was swept-up in the healthy people fiasco. It is a cautionary tale indeed.A PARTIAL List of Tainted Weight Loss SupplementsPlease note that this list is NOT exhaustive.
Just because a weight loss supplement is not shown here does NOT mean that the supplement is safe.
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