Beware of supplements purchased online: an English investigation reveals that prohibited and dangerous substances circulate on the net

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Do you often buy weight loss supplements online? An English investigation has found that prohibited and dangerous substances circulate on the net

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Shop often online supplements for weight loss? Better to do caution! According to a survey by the British consumer association Which? Some of these products contain dangerous substances. Which can even induce strokes and heart attacks.





Which? analyzed numerous supplements for weight loss or to enhance training, found on eBay, Wish and AliExpress, containing yohimbine and synephrine, two ingredients that the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) defines as potentially dangerous if used without medical supervision or advice. 

Even according to Dr James Coulson, a toxicology expert interviewed by Which ?, both are potentially dangerous. They can cause agitation, aggression, nausea, and increased heart rate and blood pressure, and worse, when taken in high doses, they can damage the heart and kidneys, sometimes permanently, and lead to stroke and heart attack. -

If yohimbine is derived from the bark of a tree found in parts of Africa, but its sale is prohibited in the UK unless purchased from a pharmacist, synephrine is a pharmacologically active substance derived from the extract of bitter orange, explains Which ?.

Finished products containing both substances, according to an MHRA spokesperson, meet 'the definition of a medicine' and should not be regularly available for sale in the UK. Nonetheless, Which? managed to purchase nine products containing yohimbine or synephrine on the sites indicated, and two of them did not even carry health warnings and information regarding dosages. 

eBay, Wish.com and AliExpress, after being contacted by Which? said they would remove the products for sale. But the survey revealed a worrying landscape because there are clearly not enough controls by the online markets yet. 

Currently, explains Which ?, - the responsibility rests with third-party sellers on these sites, but it does not appear that adequate enforcement action has been taken to stop the sale of potentially dangerous supplements and medicines to UK consumers. -


Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which? Said:


It is worrying that our investigation revealed that these weight loss supplements containing potentially dangerous ingredients are readily available in online marketplaces. The limited regulation of these sites does not work and this leaves people exposed to substances that can be harmful. Online marketplaces need to have greater legal responsibility for the safety of products sold on their sites, so that buyers are better protected. Regulators also need to be more proactive in watching over potentially dangerous products offered on these sites, which are becoming increasingly popular places to shop.

The next time you want to buy a supplement online, pay attention!

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SOURCE: Which

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