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29.05.2010


Slimming pills in online shops contain sibutramine and carcinogenic laxative

When analysts at the Universite de Toulouse examined 20 slimming supplements sold online, they discovered that 14 contained substances they were not supposed to contain, and which were not mentioned on the label. The main culprit was the amphetamine-like appetite suppressant sibutramine [chemical structure below]. Second place went to the laxative phenolphtalein.

Sibutramine
Sibutramine [structural formula shown here] is no longer allowed to be sold as a medicine in the EU. The ruling came two months ago as a result of a big European study that showed that sibutramine users had 16 percent more chance of developing serious cardiovascular problems than non-users. Sibutramine is still available as a medicine outside the EU.

Laxatives containing phenolphthalein were taken off the market in the US at the end of the nineties after animal studies had shown that phenolphthalein was carcinogenic. [J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Dec 6;92(23):1943-4.]

Below we summarise some of the results of the analyses in the French publication.

Slimming pills in online shops contain sibutramine and carcinogenic laxative
1. Hyperdrive 3.0+

A month ago media wrote about the amphetamine oxilofrine, alias methyl synephrine, in ALRI's Hyperdrive 3.0+. [First Edition Cycling News, April 16, 2010] It was the cause of American cyclist Flavia Oliveira's 2-year suspension by the doping authority. The researchers also found the substance in batch 110802 when they examined it. One capsule contains 38 mg of the stuff. [Of natural origin? We find this difficult to believe...] On top of that the researchers found 185 mg caffeine and 75 mg vitaberine, an eccentric analogue of vitamin B1. All these substances are listed on the label. According to the label, Hyperdrive 3.0+ also contains lipoic acid and tyrosine ethyl ester. But the researchers couldn't find these two substances. The other natural compounds listed on the label were only present in 'very low amounts'.

Slimming pills in online shops contain sibutramine and carcinogenic laxative
2. Lipro

Lipro diet pills, made by China Karyhen International, contain nothing but Chinese herbs according to the label. Well, forget it. Each capsule of Lipro contains about 30 mg sibutramine. They contain 'very low amounts of natural sugars including glucose'. The researchers analysed batch number 20081020.

Slimming pills in online shops contain sibutramine and carcinogenic laxative
3. Botanical Slimming

Chinese manufacturer Meizitang makes slimming products like Botanical Slimming Soft Gel and Botanical Slimming Herbs, which the maker claims are full of Mother Nature's slimming ingredients.

No sir. In each capsule of Botanical Slimming Soft Gel [batch number 20081006 was tested] and Botanical Slimming Herbs [batch number 0991-8280809] the researchers found 12 mg sibutramine. The Botanical Slimming Herbs capsules also contained 4 mg phenolphthalein. Natural ingredients were only present in minute quantities. Meizitang became known in 2006 when the Germany food authorities discovered sibutramine in Meizitang's LiDa slimming products.

Slimming pills in online shops contain sibutramine and carcinogenic laxative
4. 2 Day Diet

The Japanese 2 Day Diet contains the authentic "Japanese Lingzhi slimming formula" according to the label, said to aid natural weight loss and ease constipation.

Mother Nature's work? Of course not. In these capsules [no batch number] the researchers found 11 mg sibutramine and 'very low amounts of natural compounds including glucose and fatty acids'.

Slimming pills in online shops contain sibutramine and carcinogenic laxative
5. Perfect Slim

Tested: an unidentified batch of Perfect Slim, Perfect Slim Cherry [tested: batch number 2007070183] and Perfect Slim Grape [tested: batch number 2007080601]. All made by Chun Tian.

The composition of all these capsules is almost identical. Each capsule contains a mixture of 13-20 mg sibutramine, 40-66 mg phenolphthalein, vitamin C plus 'very low amounts of natural compounds'. Perfect Slim Grape contains no vitamin C.

Source:
Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2010 Apr 29:1-14. [Epub ahead of print].

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