In today's world and advancements in technology, it has become increasingly difficult for medical authorities to keep track of new drugs that have been developed outside of the traditional pharmaceutical industry.
Legislation and information for the non-traditional development of drugs simply can’t move quickly enough to detail exactly what should be taken by whom, what is safe and what isn't, and what dosages should be taken to correspond with desired effects for the weight class or age of the patient.
Many holistic remedies, due to there simply not having been enough resources to test their active ingredients since they’ve been on the market, have raised serious questions about whether these products are truly safe or even fit the intended purpose.
Whereas questions with regard to holistic remedies, which often fall under the heading of teenagers looking for legal alternatives to banned substances, the fact remains that there is a growing concern with regard to the expanding public usage of unregulated dietary supplements.
Dietary supplements that are promoted for weight loss are big business. They encompass a range of products and come in numerous forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and even pre-made drinks.
They’re all manufactured with claims to reduce appetite, reduce weight, increase metabolism, and body fat, and so on. Many alternative weight-loss remedies have origins in China or Japan, with claims their traditional ingredients are tried, tested, and ready to take off those difficult to lose pounds with no other changes to diet or uptake in exercise.
(Which should always be a red flag!) In any case, we’ll cover what Chinese diet pills are typically made of, as well as when, and even if, they should be taken.
Chinese Diet Supplements – What’s Actually in There?
The answer to this question, as one could guess, may not be as straightforward as you may think.
To begin with, the agencies in charge of policing these substances have real difficulties in taking substances that have been deemed to pose a risk to the health off the market, as the cataloging of diet pills and supplements isn't something that takes place on a large scale, which makes it hard to track which supplements actually pose an imminent threat to the general public.
That means we’ve have a lot of pills and products out there, and due to the fact that many companies lack accurate labeling on their products, we also very little idea what is in them.
These products are typically easily available from online retailers – and these sites usually have had a facelift to fool visitors into believing the site is regulated, the contents are safe, and their oversight of the products are legitimate.
While China has expanded their restrictive regulations on how drugs can be manufactured, packaged, and ultimately sold (for instance, now requiring what is referred to as blue hat labeling on approved medications and requiring enhanced regulations to be followed with both over the counter or prescription drugs) – ironically, this has also resulted in many of the less-than-ethical manufacturers moving their enterprises further out of the spotlight, and further away from any real oversight.
The ability to sell online, as you can imagine, offers the perfect opportunity for these companies to circumvent national and international regulatory schemes.
Register a domain, do some quick search engine optimization to bring your ranking up, and bingo – you’re selling your product without the FDA, NICE or any other country's approval.
So, does this really mean they’re dangerous?
Even though the scenario above may be the case some of the time, there may also be distributors out there that genuinely want to get a product they think works and can change lives positively out on the market.
Traditional Chinese medicine (as well as many Western holistic remedies) have not received FDA approval and likely never will. And though there has been a lack of actual testing in many cases to see if there is a benefit to consumers, many people that use some of these products swear that they have changed their lives for the better and that they are now healthier due to taking them.
The pills may also include substances that have been shown to be benign or be inexpensive while still having been shown to have some possible (though maybe not have statistically upheld) positive effect.
Think of Ginko Biloba, ginseng, or St. John’s Wort as a few examples of substances that are currently sold over the counter with very little proof that they work as intended. This doesn’t mean you’re going to die or become harmed from them, though you may instead experience a placebo effect when taking these substances.
That being said, the fact we really don’t have a clue as to what is in the pill we are taking should make us run away screaming, or at least think twice about taking these kinds of supplements.
It has been reported through many market studies that individuals purchasing pills from abroad often have substances that are different than the ones requested actually delivered – or have substances with completely blank packaging shoved into their mailbox.
As for the active ingredients that are actually in these supplements, most agencies really don’t have a clue what is really going into these products. Most pills on today's market contain at least 10 different ingredients. Many products even are as high as 90 or more ingredients. Even more alarming, a large number of products on the market contain Sibutramine.
Sibutramine is a centrally acting stimulant that is chemically related to the drug amphetamine. Amphetamines are now very strictly controlled due not only to the myriad addiction or dependency a consumer may likely experience, but also the health and heart problems that they may cause.
Sibutramine works to increase blood pressure and pulse rate and also suppresses appetite. Sibutramine has been off the market in most Western states for years due to the fact that it can cause heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health conditions.
But even with all the regulations on the Western markets, you can by this Sibutramine under many other names, all of them marketed to take care of that obesity problem.
Due to the fact that there is also usually much more of the active ingredient than actually needed for weight-loss, it becomes even more dangerous to take any products with Sibutramine or other similar ingredients, with one of the most common side-effect being death.
Common Chinese Diet Pills Products
Sadly, there are nearly too many product names to list here, which is partly due to the need for companies to continuously change their branding as products are taken off shelves and/or stopped at the border through customs. The most infamous product was probably Pai You Guo, a product that saw a reasonable amount of internet success until 2009 when the FDA banned it.
Multiple studies of this product have shown the majority of users had experienced wonderful additions to their daily lives with side effects such as dry mouth, anxiety, insomnia, as well as heart palpitations.
The product, of course, contained the drug Sibutramine as an ingredient, but the company wasn’t cutting any corners. Allegedly, this product contained the substance in dosages nearly six times that of what is sold in prescription medications as the average dose when samples were tested.
Another lovely addition, which was regularly imported from Japan and then later China, under various trade names such as Xiushentang.
It was marketed as Japan Rapid Weight Loss Diet Pills to consumers, and to make the experience more fun and to some even confusing, it was marketed in three colors – green, yellow and blue – many speculated this was to most likely to highlight what level of physical danger you were in immediately after taking it.
(Hint: Don’t take the red pill!) Whatever the color, the pills all contained Sibutramine, but as an added extra bonus, the product also came with a high dosage of Phenolphthalein as well.
What is Phenolphthalein? Aside from being the active ingredient on the little paper strips that are used to test the acidity and base levels of different substances in high school chemistry, it is also a suspected carcinogen.
Phenolphthalein may not only cause your heart to explode, but it may also cause or contribute to the growth of cancerous cells in your body.
Chinese Diet Pills Final Thoughts
In its description on the dietary supplements for influence loss, the United States Government Accountability Offices concluded that “little is notorious about whether the weight loss supplements are useful, but some complement have been connected with the probable for physical harm.”
Many weight-loss supplements are costly and some of the ingredients in these products can interact or interfere with certain medications, and many people do not check with their doctor or pharmacist to see if there are any potential interaction hazards.
That being said, human nature is a bit of a tough cookie to crack. In a study of individuals who had used Pai You Gau, most had purchased the substance even long after the supplement had both been banned and listed as potentially dangerous.
The fact is, they quite simply didn’t take the time to look at the label, consider the need to take a look at what the active ingredients were (which is complicated because many times they’re not listed at all), do any research into the potential health hazards, or do any online research to see if anyone had sent the products off to the lab for testing to confirm the ingredients.
Even worse, many of those that were aware of the health hazards that they could encounter simply ignored the warnings out of desperation or believing that it could not happen to them.
This places a great deal of positive emphasis on how we view members of the medical professions: we don't trust our doctors. A big caveat is that the individuals who sell us these pills on the black market aren’t doctors and many have no medical experience at all even.
More often than not, they’re scam artists trying to make a few bucks, in spite of the danger they may be putting their clients in. The problem is – from a money making perspective – a simply irresistible situation for these people with the current demand for weight-loss medications and products.
In the US, nearly 70 percent of individuals were listed as overweight or obese as of the most recent census.
More than 1 in 20 people are extremely obese. Every year, Americans alone spend over $2 billion on dietary supplements, despite the American Medical Association and nearly every licensed health professional on the planet agreeing that the best way to achieve long-term weight loss is to change your lifestyle (that recommendation of eating healthy, eating less and exercising regularly isn’t sorcery; it’s common sense).
However, if we can’t do what’s actually going to work, at least we can do what’s not going to kill us. Read the label, do a bit of research, and always use an online search engine to see if any additional testing or issues have been noted by any third-party researchers.