Sunday, April 20, 2008

Extreme Diet - An Update

On March 27th, the FDA issued a recall advisory for several flavors of "Total Body Formula" and "Total Body Mega Formula" after receiving a number of illness complaints by consumers of these products. At the time, FDA suspected that the illnesses were due to excessive levels of selenium in the products, but hadn't yet completed lab analysis.

The agency's fears were confirmed on April 9th, and in a report posted on the CDC web site last week. FDA labs have found levels of selenium that are up to 200 times higher than the concentrations claimed on the product labels; chromium levels are also excessive - up to 17 times greater than the amounts shown on the labels.

The recalled products were sold through distribution channels and also directly over the Internet. Illnesses consistent with excessive intake of selenium have been reported by consumers of the dietary supplements in ten states as of April 17th.

As I reported on March 28th, symptoms of excessive selenium consumption begin 7-10 days following ingestion of the dietary supplement, and may include significant hair loss, muscle cramps, diarrhea, joint pain and fatigue.

A full list of the recalled dietary supplements can be found on the CDC web site. Anyone who has used one of the recalled products and is experiencing any unusual symptoms should contact his or her doctor. Patients and doctors can also report adverse reactions directly to FDA's MedWatch program at 800-FDA-1088.

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