hazardous herbs

Shady Drugs Found in Shady Diet Drugs

USA Today reports that U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists found “non-natural,” amphetamine-like compounds in nine dietary supplements currently available on the market. It turns out that shady diet supplements really are shady!

Scientists were troubled to find an amphetamine-like compound, beta-methylphenethylamine, in nine of their tested supplements. We know that beta-methylphenethylamine is dangerous because, as the article helpfully informs us, an athlete competing in canoeing qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics was disqualified after traces of the compound were found in his system. It must be a hell of a drug if it’s used to gain a edge in professional canoeing.

But scientists were also concerned that all 21 of the supplements in their test pool included another drug called Acacia rigidula. Supposedly a “bushy plant found in Texas and Mexico,” here are several of the scientist’s findings on the drug:

The FDA scientists reported they couldn’t find the substance [Acacia rigidula] in verified samples of the plant.

The compound appears to have never been tested for safety on humans.

Acacia rigidula is listed as an ingredient in several weight loss and energy supplements made by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals of Norcross, Georgia.

The FDA announced Monday it seized $2 million in supplements last week from Hi-Tech.

Another company, iForce Nutrition, lists Acacia rigidula as an ingredient in its Dexaprine XR weight loss supplement. Dexaprine has been the subject of safety warnings from Dutch health officials.

Well, good thing all 21 of these supplements weren’t marketed as being all-natural, intended for human consumption, or widely available for purchase. (There are, it turns out, worse things in supplements than rice and empty promises.)