20,000 Patients Hospitalized Due to Dietary Supplements

December 6, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. supplement /ˈsʌp lə mənt/ (n.) – something that is taken to improve health
Example: My grandfather is taking supplements to help improve his memory.

2. vomit /ˈvɒm ɪt/ (v.) – to release food in the stomach through the mouth
Example: The medicine made him vomit.

3. symptom /ˈsɪmp təm/ (n.) – an indication or sign of something else
Example: He went to the doctor as soon as he noticed some strange symptoms.

4. comprise /kəmˈpraɪz/ (v.) – to be a part of something
Example: Some diet pills are comprised of ingredients that are not yet approved by the government.

5. maintain /meɪnˈteɪn/ (v.) – to continue the existence or state of something
Example: She drinks one pill every day to maintain her weight.


Read the text below.
Dietary supplements send thousands to emergency rooms each year, study says.

The study, headed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that products marketed for weight loss and energy enhancement cause the hospitalization of more than 20,000 people a year. The majority of these people are young adults who, after taking these supplements, began to have cardiovascular problems. More specifically, other common health concerns include heart problems, allergic reactions, nausea, and vomiting.

The study was done by monitoring hospitals around the country for 10 years. Researchers then checked which among these hospitals had cases that were caused by dietary supplements. Findings show that more than a quarter of emergency room cases consisted of people aged 20 to 34 years. About 50% of their cases were found to have been caused by weight loss or energy enhancement supplements.

According to researchers, heart palpitations, irregular heart rhythms, and chest pains are the common symptoms produced by these supplements, which usually comprise of different kinds of herbs and extracts. Some popular supplements usually advertised online, in magazines, and on television include Xenadrine, Raspberry Ketones, Hydroxycut, and Black Jack Energy.

Despite these health reports, a recent news report says that in the past three years, the FDA has authorized prescription drugs for obesity like Belviq, Qsymia, Saxenda, and Contrave, which now promote themselves as weight loss products. However, an obesity specialist says that due to health reasons, the drugs are only recommended to those who are obese and overweight. They should also be taken with diet and exercise, and need to be taken without stopping to maintain one’s weight.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Did this article change your mind about weight loss and energy enhancement supplements? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think many people resort to using these supplements for energy and weight loss?

Discussion B

·         What do you think would be another way for a person to have higher energy?
·         Would you encourage a person who wants to lose weight to just exercise and watch their diet, instead of taking dietary supplements? Why?

December 6, 2015