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FDA Warns Bee Pollen Weight Loss Supplements May Cause Harm

Weight loss supplements are under increasing scrutiny, both for their efficacy and their safety. Just days after lawmakers on Capital Hill conducted a hearing on diet scams, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about bee pollen weight loss products.

According to the FDA, “Some bee pollen products marketed for weight loss have been found to contain hidden and potentially dangerous ingredients that may be harmful for people who have conditions such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and bipolar disorders.”

As an example, the warning highlights the risks associated with Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen. The weight loss supplements contain undeclared sibutramine and/or phenolphthalein, which are both potentially harmful. Sibutramine, a controlled substance, was removed from the market in 2010 after studies found it posed an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Meanwhile, phenolphthalein is suspected to cause cancer and is not approved in the United States.

According to the FDA, other bee pollen products found to contain undeclared ingredients include: Ultimate Formula, Fat Zero, Bella Vi Amp’d Up, Insane Amp’d Up, Slim Trim U, Infinity, Perfect Body Solution, Asset Extreme, Asset Extreme Plus, Asset Bold, and Asset Bee Pollen.

Overall, the FDA is aware of more than 50 adverse event reports associated with the use of tainted bee pollen weight loss products. The supplements are associated with at least one death, serious cardiac issues, chest pain, heart palpitations, tachycardia (increased heart rate), increased blood pressure, seizures, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, insomnia and diarrhea.

“It is tempting to believe that a quick and effortless weight loss supplement is safe for use,” Jason Humbert, a senior regulatory manager with FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, stated. “But given the fact that these products contain a hidden dangerous ingredient, consumers should avoid taking them.”