Supplements To Avoid

Written by Dr. Steve Chaney on . Posted in Drugs and Health, Fitness and Health, Supplements and Health

What You Don’t Know Could Kill You

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

There are a few bad apples in every barrel, and the supplement industry is no different, especially when it comes to sports nutrition, weight loss products and supplements to avoid. In previous health tips from the professor I have exposed some of the more dangerous sports nutrition and sports nutritionweight loss products on the market at the time. For example, I have reported on the dangers of weight loss and sports nutrition products containing the amphetamine-like compounds DMAA  and DEPA .

The DMAA story was a real scandal.  Not only did sports nutrition products containing DMAA kill people, but the FDA actually had to raid the warehouses of a major nutrition retailer to force them to stop selling it.

You might ask why would supplement manufacturers even make products like that? The bottom line is that some companies are far more interested in their profit margin than they are in the safety of their customers. Amphetamine-like ingredients burn off calories and give athletes an artificial energy boost. Those results sell products.

The fact that those same ingedients also kill people is of little concern to unscrupulous manufactures. In fact, as soon as one amphetamine-like ingredient is banned, they just reformulate by adding another amphetamine-like ingredient to their product.

Sports Supplements To Avoid

The unscrupous manufacturers are at it again. A recent paper by a group of scientists in the United States and the Netherlands (Cohen et al., Drug Testing and Analysis, 2014: DOI 10.1002/dta.1735) reported that DMBA, another amphetamine-like ingredient that is a close analog of DMAA, was found in at least 12 products marketed to improve athletic performance, increase weight loss and enhance brain function.

dmba supplements to avoidDMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine) is a synthetic compound that has never been tested for safety in humans, something that the FDA is supposed to require for every new dietary ingredient added to a supplement. Because DMBA is chemically similar to DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine), the scientists conducting the study suspected that manufacturers may have started adding it to their products.

The scientists surveyed the listed ingredients on all supplements distributed in the United States for any ingredient name that might be a synonym for DMBA. They identified 14 supplements that fit that criteria and analyzed them for the presence of DMBA. 12 tested positive for DMBA.

The supplements they identified that contained DMBA were Contraband, Redline White Heat, Evol, MD2 Meltdown, Oxyphen XR AMP’D, OxyTHERM Pro, Oxyfit Extreme, Synetherm, AMPitropin, Decimate Amplified, AMPilean, and Frenzy – but they warned that there could be many more out there that they didn’t identify.

The authors of the study stressed that DMBA is a synthetic pharmaceutical ingredient, has the potential to cause the same health risks as DMAA, and has never been tested in humans. They stated: “Given the potential risks of untested pharmacologic stimulants, we strongly recommend that manufacturers immediately recall all DMBA in dietary supplements…The FDA and other regulatory bodies should, without delay, warn consumers about the presence of DMBA in [certain] dietary supplements.”

The Council for Responsible Nutrition, an industry group, sent a letter to the FDA on September 12th urging regulatory action…noting that it has a similar chemical structure to the banned ingredient [DMAA] and that none of those selling it have filed required “new dietary ingredient” paperwork with the FDA to substantiate its safety.” The FDA has yet to respond.

This story is all too familiar. The unscrupulous manufacturers won’t remove unsafe ingredients until they are forced to, and the FDA is far too slow to act. Often the FDA doesn’t act until the product actually kills people, as was the case for products containing DMAA.

Label Deception

label deceptionIf you are like me, you are probably outraged that manufacturers would even consider selling products like these. But the story only gets worse. None of the labels actually list DMBA as an ingredient. That’s probably because DMBA looks enough like DMAA that intelligent consumers might be scared off.

Instead, they list the ingredient as AMP citrate. They can do that because they are using AMP to stand for 4-amino-2-methylpentane. But that is not the common usage for AMP.

To any biochemist, and probably most high school biology students, AMP stands for 5’-adenosylmonophosphate – a normal and harmless cellular metabolite. Citrate is also a normal cellular metabolite.

In short, the manufacturers are purposely masquerading a synthetic and potentially dangerous stimulant under a pseudonym that looks like naturally occurring cellular metabolites. That is shameful!

Lack of Quality Control

But wait, it gets even worse. The scientists analyzed 14 products that had AMP citrate on the label and the amount of DMBA ranged from 0 to 120 mg.  Apparently these manufacturers have no quality control process either. That is a huge concern because this ingredient has never been tested for safety in humans. We have no idea how much it takes to harm people!

The highest, and potentially most dangerous, levels of DMBA were found in:

• AMPilean, a fat burner from Lecheek Nutrition
• Frenzy, a pre-workout powder from Driven Sports
• MD2 Meltdown, a weight loss product from VPX Sports
• AMPitrophin, a brain enhancer sold by Lecheek Nutrition

What Can You Do?

Every time you read something like this, you might be tempted to avoid all sports nutrition and weight loss supplements. However, you should realize that unsafe products like these represent a very small part of the industry. You just need to be an informed consumer so that you are aware of supplements to avoid. For example:

  • Be skeptical of flamboyant claims. For example, some of the claims made by the products listed in this article are “The ultimate stimulant experience”, “Fat incinerator”, “Rapid energy surge”. When you see claims like that you should run the other direction.
  • Research your manufacturer. Only choose companies with a long track record of integrity and product quality.
  • Insist on published clinical studies showing that the product is both safe and effective.

The Bottom Line:

1) A recent report identified a number of sports nutrition and weight loss products containing the amphetamine-like ingredient DMBA. This is a synthetic compound that closely resembles DMAA, a stimulant that was recently banned by the FDA.

2) Because DMBA is potentially dangerous and has never been tested for safety in humans both the authors of this article and the Council for Responsible Nutrition have recommended that the FDA issue a recall of products containing this ingredient. To date the FDA has not acted.

3) You cannot identify products containing this dangerous ingredient by searching for DMBA on the label. That is because the manufacturers selling these products have chosen to use the harmless sounding pseudonym AMP citrate on their ingredient list rather than DMBA.

4) The amount of DMBA in products listing AMP citrate on their label ranged from 0 to 120 mg. That means you have no idea how much DMBA you are getting from the label. Even worse, because this ingredient has never been tested in humans we have no idea how much is safe.

5) Unscrupulous manufacturers who put untested and potentially dangerous ingredients in their supplements represent only a tiny fraction of the industry, but reports like this emphasize the importance of being an informed consumer. I recommend that you:

  • Use your common sense. Avoid supplements promising magic gains in energy, muscle mass or weight loss.
  • Research your manufacturer. Only choose companies with a long track record of integrity and product quality.
  • Insist on published clinical studies showing that the product is both safe and effective.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Latest Article

How to Choose the Right Pillow

Posted April 17, 2018 by Dr. Steve Chaney

Wake Up Each Morning Pain Free

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

 

how to choose the right pillow without headachesThe way you sleep is often a key to discovering the cause of headaches and more. If you wake up with neck pain, a headache, or you suffer from ringing in your ears, dizziness, or ear pain, there is a good possibility that it may be caused by the way you are sleeping. Your pillow may be the culprit.  But if you need to know how to choose the right pillow for you, it’s easy.   It just takes a little “investigation.”

 

How to Choose the Right Pillow if You Sleep On Your Side

Your head, neck, and spine need to always stay in a nice straight line, just as it is when you are standing up, but that takes a little thought and understanding of the way you sleep.  So, get comfy in your bed and then notice how your head is resting.

how to choose the right pillow to sleep painfreeIf you sleep on your side, your pillow needs to be just the right size, so your head doesn’t point down toward the mattress (your pillow is too soft) or up to the ceiling (your pillow is too thick). Either of these positions will make the muscles on the side of your neck stay in the contracted position for hours and pull your vertebrae in that direction, especially when you try to turn over to your other side.

Your SCM Muscle May Cause Serious Problems

You also need to notice if you turn your head a bit, especially if you are turning into your pillow or turning your head up toward away from your pillow. In either of these two cases you will be causing your sternocleidomastoid (SCM for short) to be held shortened for hours.

Your SCM originates on your collarbone and inserts into the bone behind your ear.  When it contracts you turn your head to the opposite side. However, if the muscle is tight (for example, when you’ve held your head turned toward one side for an extended period of time) and then you bring your head back so you are facing forward, the tight muscle will pull on the bone behind your ear and cause havoc.

The symptoms for a tight SCM are tinnitus (ringing in the ear), dizziness, loss of equilibrium, ear pain, headaches, pain in the eye and around the skull, pain at the top of the head, and even pain in the throat. Amazing! What’s even more amazing is that it’s rare that this muscle is considered when a medical professional is searching for the cause of your symptoms.

These are the things to know when considering how to choose the right pillow if you sleep on your side.

How To Choose The Right Pillow If You Sleep On Your Back

how to choose the right pillow for sleeping on your backIf you sleep on your back, your head should be on the mattress (not propped up with a pillow) and you should have a tiny support (like a folded washcloth) under your neck.  Or, you can have a wedge pillow that starts at your mid-back and gently raises your entire trunk and head up while still allowing your head and back to be in a straight line.

It’s always a challenge for people who toss and turn during the night, sometimes on their side and sometimes on their back.  The best thing I’ve found for this situation is to have the pillow below shoulder level so when you turn on your side your shoulder will automatically slide to the edge of the pillow while still supporting your head properly, and when you turn onto your back, the pillow will start at shoulder level so your head and neck are supported, but your head is being pushed in a way that causes your chin to move down to your chest.

hip pain causes and treatment pain freeIt’s tricky, but I can personally attest to the fact that it will work.  I can always tell when I’ve had my head tilted (I toss and turn during the night) because I will wake with a headache. When that happens I’m grateful that I know how to self-treat the muscles of my neck and shoulders so the headache is eliminated quickly.  If you already have Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living,  you can self-treat all your neck and shoulder muscles to release the tension.

How To Choose The Right Pillow If You Sleep On Your Stomach

If you sleep on your stomach, this is the one position that is so bad that it behooves you to force yourself to change your position. Your head is turned to the side and held still for hours, putting a severe strain on all your cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae. Not only will this cause headaches, tinnitus, and a list of other pains, but it can cause problems down your entire spine. It can also impinge on the nerves that pass through the vertebrae on their way to your organs.

If you do sleep that way, let me know and I’ll give you some suggestions that work to change your habit of sleeping. It takes time and energy, but the results are worth the effort.

In every case, the way you sleep may cause neck pain that won’t go away until the pillow situation is resolved.

Now you should know how to choose the right pillow for the way you sleep.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

About The Author

julie donnelly

Julie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.

She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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