Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Quest for body beautiful fraught with danger

Those who take pills and powders to lose weight or gain muscle need to know that they are not without their risks.

As the number of people striving for the body beautiful increases, so does the range of pills, powders, supplements and medicines promising to help people lose weight or gain muscle. Every shopping mall seems to have at least one shop dedicated to health and fitness supplements and many more shops offer these products alongside healthy foods. Worldwide, these supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry.

Yet they are also an industry with very little regulation and even less understanding from consumers. This was highlighted this week when The National reported that the banned weight-loss pill Oxy Elite Pro was still available under the counter at some stores in Dubai.

The pill, marketed as a fat burner, is said to boost workout performance and was popular with those trying to lose weight. But several countries have banned the organic compound, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, which is linked to cardiovascular problems and heart attacks.

Oxy Elite Pro may be banned, but the wider issues of supplements remains. It is not that these weight-loss and fitness pills and powders are inherently dangerous, but that they are rarely used properly. Walk into any supplement store and the shelves are packed with powders and meal-replacement bars and shakes that promise enhanced performance. But how necessary are these protein shakes? How many are too many? And what about combining supplements with other supplements?

With prescribed medicines, doctors and pharmacists have to take into consideration other medicines that a patient is taking. But with supplements, there is no such oversight. Young men, those who aspire to lose weight or gain muscle, can easily be influenced by the image of glamour and strength that surrounds these supplements and feel that they need to take protein shakes or powders several times a day. That, combined with exercise and other medicines or supplements could elevate blood pressure or heart rates to dangerous levels. There have been numerous cases of people suffering heart attacks linked to excessive use of supplements.

The answer is not regulation but education. Parents, spouses and family members need to be aware of the potential dangers. And those who take such pills and powders need to know that they are not without their risks. Too much of anything can be bad for you.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National