Supplement Safety Now is a website committed to supporting public action against "designer" steroids hidden in what some athletes believe to be safe dietary supplements. Supported by major sports organizations like the NFL, NBA and US Olympic Committee among many others, this website is hoping to alert consumers to the dangers of these so called natural dietary supplements and spur legislative changes that can help the FDA and other agencies control them.
Citing reports like that of the New York Times (Sept, 2009), the Supplement Safety Now Initiative (SSN) wants to illustrate the dangers of these supplements. As the Times repots, the FDA has already warned consumers that steroids and steroid-like substances can cause liver failure, kidney damage and other highly dangerous health problems. The Senate held hearings this past September regarding the dangers of steroids and how the FDA might better supervise the marketing of the substances which are considered a controlled substance by the federal government. SSN says that the current regulatory framework of the FDA was "developed years ago and could not foresee the proliferation of dangerous products under the guise of "healthy, nutritional supplements.""
Unlike drug companies, "natural" food companies do not have to go through FDA clearance before they go on the market and this loophole allows some companies to exploit this weakness in the system. As a result, there is no requirement for supplement manufacturers to prove a product's safety and efficacy prior to being sold to consumers. A 2007 study by HFL showed that 25 percent of U.S. supplements sampled contained unlisted steroids and 11 percent contained unlisted stimulants.Once products are on the market, it is difficult to get them back off again.
The problem as the SSN sees it is this: "Best estimates suggest that there are hundreds of supplement products currently available that contain one or more of approximately 20 to 25 designer steroids alone... The real issue is that unscrupulous companies are marketing supplements spiked with these dangerous substances and advertising them as healthy products."
For a video from the FDA on this subject, go to: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm190842.htm.