For individuals who take supplements to boost their energy when they exercise or to lose weight, it may be a good idea to know the ingredients that are in them.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban popular dietary supplements that contain quantities of BMPEA, or beta-methylphenethylamine, a powerful stimulant.

Schumer, D-N.Y., cited that the drug may be addictive and closely resembles amphetamine, which is known to cause a range of health problems such as increased blood pressure, heart problems, sleep issues, stroke and other complications.

The senator warned that consumers were knowingly deceived by some of the dietary supplement companies and insisted that those behind these products need to face legal action.

Schumer also raised concerns that the potentially dangerous ingredient is not listed on the product labels, which means that consumers may not know that the supplement they chose has an addictive stimulant. He also lashed out the FDA for its failure to protect the public from being exposed to these types of danger.

"It would be bad enough if this were going on without the FDA catching wind of it, but the truth is that the FDA has known about it for two years and done nothing," the senator said.

The chemical is also marketed as a natural botanical called "Acacia Rigidula" and that products such as Black Widow, JetFuel T-3000, and Dexaprine XR all have BMPEA.

"The FDA has all the proof it needs to exercise their authority and take these dietary and workout pills off store shelves, but consumers still know none of the risks," Schumer said. "The FDA's report showing that widely used dietary supplements contain a hidden, hazardous chemical is jaw-dropping. The FDA should ban these tainted supplements immediately and make sure the companies involved are held accountable."

The senator wants to recall products containing BMPEA that are still on store shelves, joining in efforts of other public officials that advise the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ban over-the-counter dietary supplements which contain BMPEA.

An FDA spokesperson said that currently available information on the BMPEA-containing products did not find a particular safety concern at the time.

"If we determine that regulatory action is appropriate at a later time, the FDA will consider taking such action to protect consumers."

Although the substance is untested and may possibly pose real danger to health, it does not yet have specific FDA control or regulation.

Photo: Nathanmac87 | Flickr

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