Dieters use herbal supplements as a natural way to facilitate weight loss. A new weight loss herb may not be safe, even when you see it sold in a store you trust. Before trying new supplements inform yourself by doing your own investigative homework, not just blindly believing the weight loss claims written on the labels. Search for the name of the herb and then “site:.gov” for scientific studies. Beware of the claims made on new weight loss herbs as they may not have been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
New Dietary Ingredients: Any weight loss herb marketed in the United States after Oct. 15, 1994, is considered a new dietary ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits to not having an authoritative list of the dietary ingredients available before that date and relies on manufacturers to make this determination.
Required Premarket Information: A manufacturer or distributor of a new weight loss herb must submit premarket safety information and data to the FDA at least 75 days before it goes on sale. This data must include citations to published articles the manufacturer used to determine the new weight loss herb is reasonable accepted to be safe as recommended by the label, explains information from the FDA.
Public Access to Premarket Information: Would you like to read the scientific information regarding the safety of a new weight loss herb? The FDA does not disclose this information for 90 days after the information is officially received from the manufacturer. This means a new dietary herb may appear on the market for 15 days before you have access to this information. The FDA does not disclose trade secrets or other data deemed confidential to the public.
Claims: Complete your own investigative homework before you believe claims made on the labels of new weight loss herbs. Permissible claims relate to health, nutrients and function according to information provided by the Office of Dietary Supplements, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These claims must be accompanied by the statement, “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
What Happened to Ephedra?: Ephedra-a shrub-like evergreen plant-was once a new weight loss herb, but was banned from use in dietary supplements in 2004. While it was available over the counter to consumers, this dietary supplement caused over 900 consumer reports of possible ephedra toxicity, warns the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Victims suffered serious adverse events including 37 cases of stroke, heart attack and sudden death.
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration: The Regulation of Dietary Supplements–A Review of Consumer Safeguards
The Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplements–Background Information
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ephedra
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: New Dietary Ingredients in Dietary Supplements – Background for Industry
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Using Dietary Supplements Wisely