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Dont Trust the Labels Be an Informed Consumer Back in the 1800s snake oil salesmen stood on street corners and peddled their medications and ointments made from a wide array of impractical and sometimes toxic substances People bought them believing them to be miracle cures for ailments such as arthritis and meningitis People bought into the hype without realizing that there was no basis to the amazing claims made by these charlatans Times have not changed According to Amanda Spake nearly half of all Americans take or have taken some type of performance enhancing dietary supplement American consumers spent nearly 31 billion dollars in 1999 on dietary supplements The Food and Drug Administration FDA has over 2900 adverse event reports about ephedrine ginkgo St Johns wort ginseng and thousands of other supplements these include 104 deaths For every adverse event in its files the FDA estimates that 100 more go unreported 42 As the Wizard of Oz once said Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain Unfortunately many people do just that They focus on television and magazine testimonials and they ignore or just dont seek out any type of rebuttal to the products claims If a person is willing to put stock in testimonials they might want to start by reading the stories of the people shown below Sara Sullivans heart was racing so fast that she thought she was going to die She had been taking ephedra based diet pills Even though the product label warned against use of the product by people with cardiac conditions Saras physician had given her permission to use the product because Saras heart condition had been surgically corrected and she had remained symptom free for the last five years The ephedra caused a recurrence which has sent her back to the ER six times Spake 42 Matt Coda was taking a muscle building supplement to aid with his body building hobby When the twenty-six
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