Study finds experimental stimulants hidden in many OTC supplements

Brittany A. Roston - Apr 3, 2021, 6:15am CDT
Study finds experimental stimulants hidden in many OTC supplements

A new study from NSF International warns that many readily available supplements marketed for sports enhancement and weight loss contain experimental stimulants that haven’t been tested in humans. The ‘hidden pharmaceutical cocktail,’ as the organization calls it, was identified in 17 OTC supplements sold in the US.

The newly published study involved researchers from NSF International, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Sciensano in Belgium.

The researchers warn that supplements sold for sports and weight loss may contain unapproved, untested, and experimental stimulants that put the user’s health at risk. The study found that some of the tested supplements contained up to four experimental stimulants in a single product — despite the fact that they’ve never been tested in humans and their safety profile remains unclear.

In particular, the researchers warn to avoid supplements listing ‘deterenol’ as an ingredient and to seek medical attention if you feel unwell after taking a supplement. Doctors are encouraged to send supplements for testing to determine whether an ingredient may be the potential cause of their patient’s issue.

One of the study’s co-authors Dr. Pieter Cohen said:

We’re urging clinicians to remain alert to the possibility that patients may be inadvertently exposed to experimental stimulants when consuming weight loss and sports supplements. We’re talking about active pharmaceutical stimulants that have not been approved by the U.S. FDA for oral use as either prescription medications or dietary supplements. These ingredients have no place in dietary supplements.


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