You don’t have to look too hard to find a superfood these days. You can even make yourself a kale/spirulina/chia seed cupcake if you’d like. On the other hand, if you’re trying to watch your weight, bee pollen might be the superfood on your radar.
Waist-watching folks beware — there are bee pollen weight loss products that the FDA is warning are potentially dangerous to your health. The FDA claims the following bee pollen products have undeclared ingredients phenolphthalein and/or sibutramine: Zi Xiu Tang, Ultimate Formula, Bella Vi Amp’d Up, Insane Amp’d Up, Fat Zero, Infinity, Perfect Body Solution, Slim Trim U, Asset Extreme, Asset Extreme Plus, Asset Bold, and Asset Bee Pollen.
Some people living with conditions such as bipolar affective disorder, hypertension and arrhythmia could be harmed by the undeclared ingredients in the products. Phenolphthalein and sibutramine are both unapproved in the U.S. The latter was removed from the market in late 2010 because it was shown to increase stroke and heart attack risks. Phenolphthalein, which is a laxative, is suspected to cause cancer, according to the FDA.
“When people buy these tainted bee pollen weight loss products, they are unknowingly taking one or more hidden drugs that have been banned from the market,” Gary Coody, FDA’s national health fraud coordinator, said in a news release.
Bee pollen is all-the-rage in the natural health world. And, while there are probably some excellent benefits for certain folks, these are tainted products, not simply bee pollen. The FDA received reports of at least one death, chest pain, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea, suicidal thoughts, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure, related to these drugs. Many of these products are said to have made unproven claims of providing multiple health benefits, including disease prevention.
It’s unfortunate that products made to look like something as natural and simple as bee pollen are actually packed with unknown, potentially dangerous ingredients that are not even allowed in the United States. It’s best to speak with your doctor before deciding to use any drug as a supplement for weight loss to ensure you’re ingesting legal and safe ingredients.