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FDA issues recall after steroids found in supplements

By KTVA CBS 11 News 12:26 PM December 5, 2013

Health professionals advise always checking with your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement.

ANCHORAGE- When it comes to vitamins and supplements, the choices are endless.  However, it can be challenging for consumers to find vitamins and supplements that work and won’t be harmful.

“I think for consumers, it’s really a challenge,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine North Shore.

Dr. Spaeth recently noticed bout 20 of his patients, taking the same brand and type of supplements, were getting sick.  Some men lost their libido. Some women grew facial hair while their voice grew deeper.

“They didn’t know what was happening to them,” Spaeth said.

He suspected that three healthy life chemistry supplements all had contaminants and the signs were consistent with the presence of steroids. The supplements were B-50, Multi-Mineral, and Vitamin C. Spaeth’s suspicions led to a national recall by the Food and Drug Administration.

“There are some bad players out there like any other industry,” said Howard Chasser, owner of a health food store.  According to Chasser, consumers need to be careful.

Chasser offers three safety tips: choose a well-known brand, do your research, ask questions and be critical.

Chasser said there are brands that contract the manufacturing process out — but many companies that do this have significantly less control over the quality of their products. If the bottle says “manufactured for,” then you can start by calling the contractor for information on raw materials used. If the claims on the bottle sound too good to be true, according to Chasser, they probably are.

“There’s no magic pills,” Chasser added.

Spaeth advises that you always check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement.

You can find out more about the vitamin recall on the FDA’s website.

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