As I said last week, people are motivated to take vitamins and minerals in the form of nutritional supplements by promises of health and longevity from the retailers. We spend billions on these products, but they are largely unregulated by the FDA. In one case, I represented more than half the people in the country who had taken a nutritional supplement that had a flawed formulation. One ingredient, necessary in minute quantities to sustain life, was added to the supplement in terribly toxic proportions. It killed several people and maimed hundreds more.
Little did I know that several days ago, the U.S. Army would announce it had pulled some nutritional or dietary supplements from stores on its military bases in the U.S. as it investigates whether they played a role in the deaths of two soldiers. Both soldiers died after having heart attacks during fitness exercises.
The supplements have names like Jack3d and Oxyelite Pro. They contain dimethylamylamine (DMAA). It is bought because it is advertised to increase energy, metabolism, and concentration. More for excercise purposes, products that include DMAA are sold here, there, and everywhere in nutritional stores, pharmacies, and online. The company that sells Jack3d, which is pronounced "jacked," and OxyElite Pro say there is no medical evidence to support a claim that the products aren't safe.
You may remember that last week I suggested a different standard should be applied. It is that the company marketing a chemical supplement, which is what these things are, should bear the burden of demonstrating that they are safe before they are marketed.
According to the Army, DMAA may be implicated in other reports of liver and kidney failure, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Like I said last week, if you want vitamins and minerals and want to keep the doctor and the lawyer away, eat an apple a day.