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Scientists Find Dangerous, Illegal Substances In Herbal Supplements

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British chemist and a team of scientists who have been examining ways to detect illegal ingredients in herbal supplements have come up with some disturbing findings. Many over-the-counter supplements labeled as fully herbal often include potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label. For example, the scientists found that weight loss supplements often contain sibutramine (once sold as Reductil). The substance was taken off the market in 2010 in Europe and the U.S. because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Another example: tadalfil and sulfoaildenafil were frequently found, but not listed on the label, in herbal supplements for erectile dysfunction. When taken with other medicines containing nitrates, they can lower blood pressure drastically and cause serious health problems.  
Michael J Walker et al., "A Review of Methods for the Simultaneous Detection of Illegal Ingredients in Food Supplements", The Journal of the Association of Public Analysts, February 07, 2017, © Association of Public Analysts
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