Being thin has always been in. Various means of achieving the end of thin have come and gone over the years but the desired goal of donning a slender model-esque figure is still just as coveted as ever. As a result of this quest to shed pounds rapidly, media inundates us with hundreds of “quick fix” methods, i.e., miracle pills, fast acting supplements and radical diets alternative to a healthy diet and daily exercise. In hilariously cheesy infomercials, we see overweight frumpy individuals transforming into fitness models with perfectly chiseled physiques, all because of the latest pill or supplement said infomercial is advertising. What these advertisements fail to mention is that majority of these supplements are not regulated by the FDA and could thus potentially cause extremely harmful and sometimes even fatal side effects. So we essentially have companies who are capitalizing on a society that is literally dying to be thin. Scientists and researchers say that if a pill or supplement causes you to lose weight, majority of the time it is not healthy for you. This is true because one should not lose more than 1-2 pounds per week; popular weight loss aids boast that taking them can help one lose up to 10 pounds in a week. Furthermore, there is no better prescription for weight loss than a healthy lifestyle including a well balanced diet and exercise. Take a look at some of the most dangerous drugs and supplements on the market.
When Fen Phen was introduced in the early 1990’s, it flew off the shelves almost immediately. The popular drug got its name from the two substances that it is comprised of, Fenfluramine and Phentermine. Fenfluramine, an appetite suppressant, was marketed in the 1970’s but later received poor reviews because it only yielded temporary results. Phentermine, also an appetite suppressant, is an amphetamine that was believed to be free of harmful side effects. When these two were combined, Fen Phen was born and was marketed as a magic bullet for weight loss. The problem: it’s a magic bullet for a lot of other things that are much less desirable. For example, valvular heart disease and pulmonary hypertension or increased pressure of the pulmonary arteries which can eventually lead to heart failure. After receiving numerous reports of complications from people who had been taking the drug, most notably a young woman who died in February 1997 just one month after taking it, the FDA banned the drug in September 1997, bringing it’s $300 million in sales to a screeching halt. The drug’s deadly side effects cost it’s manufacturer nearly $22 billion in damages.
4. Dinitrophenol (DNP)
In the early 1930’s, it was used in explosives and as a chemical pesticide. Years later, it was discovered to display a highly sought after side effect: weight loss. A much more problematic side effect is that it causes the human body to overheat, thus causing heavy sweating, skin lesions, shortness of breath and surprisingly, cataracts. People who have taken the drug have also stated that their lips would bleed while they were using it. By 1939, the drug was banned by the FDA. According to researchers who have studied the deadly chemical, it speeds up the metabolism all the while ‘cooking’ it’s users from the inside out. Not only does it burn fat, it burns everything in it’s path when taken for weight loss. Said to have caused more than 60 deaths, it is still sold online and consumed mainly by bodybuilders and athletes. In 2012, a 23 year old medical student named Sarah Houston was found dead after taking the drug which she purchased from an online trader. Although the FDA cannot regulate the sell of DNP online, it has expressed that it is troublesome that the product can be found and purchased easily. So if you are interested, be sure to get your bottle of DNP today! All for the bargain price of YOUR LIFE!
Ephedrine is the active ingredient in the herb called ephedra. It was originally used in ancient Chinese medicine for the treatment of asthma and other breathing problems, ephedrine is currently used as a stimulant and an appetite suppressant. It is found in numerous weight loss drugs and supplements in combinations with various other substances that can often be harmful and in some cases, even fatal. Physicians warn that ephedrine should not be combined with caffeine or other types of stimulants. Researchers also say that it should not be used as a dietary or weight loss supplement because of it’s side effects which include: heightened risk of stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, nausea, tremor, anxiety, dry mouth and insomnia to name a few. In 2005 the FDA placed a ban on ephedrine alkaloids that were marketed as weight loss drugs or supplements. Widely known for its use by athletes as a performance enhancing drug, the substance was also banned by the NCAA, MLB, NFL and the PGA Tour.
This drug is not legal for human consumption in the U.S., however if you are crafty enough, you can find a way to get your hands on some. Also known as Clen, the substance is often used to treat horses with breathing problems as a result of respiratory infections or asthma. In some countries, it is prescribed for humans suffering from breathing problems as well. It has been marketed under the names Spiropent and Ventipulmin. Before it was banned by the International Olympic Committee, it was used by bodybuilders and athletes as a performance enhancing drug. Side effects of Clenbuterol include: chest pain, cardiac arrhythmia (and a host of other heart problems), diarrhea, hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid, nausea, nervousness, muscle tremors, headaches and dangerously high or low blood pressure. In the past decade, there have been several incidences of food poisoning in other countries as a result of animals who were fed Clen to keep them lean. Said countries have since taken measures to ensure that animals used for food are not given the drug.
Also known by it’s generic name, sibutramine, and sold under the names Reductil and Sibutrex, this appetite suppressant was voluntarily withdrawn from the market after it was suggested to do so by the FDA in 2010. Other countries such as Canada, Australia, India and New Zealand have followed suit and removed sibutramine from the market. Studies show that Meridia can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Other side effects include: headaches, dry mouth, nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, insomnia, restlessness, confusion, depression, suicidal thoughts and some cases sudden death. Although the substance has been banned, dozens of supplements have been found to contain undisclosed amounts of sibutramine. In 2008, the FDA issued a warning naming more than 20 of said supplements. One year later, the FDA recalled another batch of more than 30 herbal supplements that were believed to contain sibutramine.