August 2016

Many Weight Loss Supplements Still Contain Banned or Discouraged Ingredients

New research shows that many weight loss supplements readily available to consumers contain at least one ingredient, such as ephedra or dimethylamylamine (DMAA), that is banned by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or is advised against for use in dietary supplements. Fifty-one products were identified from retail stores with at least one banned or discouraged-use ingredient on the product label. Ingredients were identified as “discouraged-use” based on adverse event reporting on the FDA website. Out of the 51 products, 33% contained at least one ingredient that is banned and 90% contained at least one ingredient that is discouraged. Sports and nutrition retail stores offered the greatest number of products with banned or discouraged-use ingredients.


  1. Eichner S, Maguire M, Shea LA, et al. Banned and discouraged-use ingredients found in weight loss supplements. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2016. pii: S1544-3191(16)30028-0.

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