Do dietary anabolic supplements really send 23,000 people to the emergency room every year?
The latest scare stories cite a study from the New England Journal of Medicine suggest over 20,000 people go to the ER. Due to dietary supplements, including anabolic supplements. If you listen to the alarmist rants of mainstream journalist lately, your a dead man or woman walking! Whether popping a vitamin C tablet or drinking a protein shake. The results provoked hyperbolic stories like “Death by Dietary Supplements” by a former FDA drug regulator in Forbes. Alleging marketers can “get away with anything. Including murder.” Expect more of the same, since anti-supplement stores fit perfectly into the “something in your cabinet is killing you” model of modern news.
Before we throw away all of our vitamins and supplements, let’s take a closer look at those “supposed” 20,000+ visits per year. For starters, not talking about 23,000 actual visits at all, but researchers projected calculations based on the hospitals they reviewed. These projections improperly included products that not dietary supplements at all. Such as eyedrops, eardrops, homeopathic products and skin cream. Further, much of the data collected predates June 2010, when the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP’s) were fully phased in.
More than 20 percent of those estimated visits involved unsupervised children. Under the age of 4 who got a hold of parents vitamins. Another 20 percent made up of the elderly who simply couldn’t swallow the pill itself and choked. That brings the number closer to 14,000. So 14,000 out of 150 million adult Americans who take dietary supplements and legal anabolic supplements. Less than one-tenth of one percent. And of those, the vast majority were treated and released. The estimate for actual hospitalizations is less than 2,200 per year.