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Dietary Supplements May Up Risk for Severe Medical Events

Increased risk seen in association with supplements sold for muscle building, energy, weight loss

WEDNESDAY, June 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Consumption of dietary supplements, specifically those sold for muscle building, energy, and weight loss, is associated with an increased risk for severe medical events among individuals aged 0 to 25 years, according to a study published online June 5 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Flora Or, Sc.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective observational study using adverse event reports between January 2004 and April 2015 from the food and dietary supplements database of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System. For individuals aged 0 to 25 years, the relative risks of dietary supplements relative to vitamins were quantified for severe medical events, which included death, disability, life-threatening events, hospitalization, emergency department visit, and/or required intervention to prevent permanent disability.

Over 11 years, the researchers identified 977 single supplement-related adverse event reports affecting individuals aged 0 to 25 years. Compared with vitamins, supplements sold for muscle building, energy, and weight loss were associated with a nearly threefold increased risk for severe medical events (risk ratios, 2.7, 2.6, and 2.6, respectively).

“As the dietary supplement industry continues to grow, efforts aiming at reducing access and consumption, implementing proactive enforcement of regulations, and providing clear warning at the point of purchase are paramount in preventing severe medical outcomes among children, adolescents, and young adults and consumers in general,” the authors write.

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