Tainted vitamins: Protect yourself!

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NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – The FDA recently issued a recall after steroids were found in one brand of supplements. However, there are some things you can do to keep you and your family safe.

The choices are endless.

“I think for consumers , it is really a challenge,” Kenneth Spaeth, MD, MPH, Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System, told Ivanhoe.

It’s a challenge to find vitamins and supplements that work and won’t hurt you.

“I think that’s how you really empower yourself,” Lynn Fuchs, consumer, told Ivanhoe.

“I would rather pay the extra dollar in case there’s a problem,” Marc Bendeth, consumer, told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Kenneth Spaeth recently noticed a problem. About 20 of his patients, who were taking the same brand and type of supplements, were all getting sick. Some men lost their libido. Some women’s voices became deeper and they grew facial hair.

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

Dr. Spaeth says he suspected that three Healthy Life Chemistry Supplements—B-50, multi-mineral, and vitamin c—all had contaminants and the signs were consistent with the presence of steroids. His suspicions led to a national recall.

Howard Chasser owns a health food store and says that you need to be careful.

“There are some bad players out there like any other industry,” Chasser said.

Chasser offers you three safety tips: First, choose a well-known brand. 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.

Also, do your research. If the bottle says “manufactured for,” then you can start by calling the contractor for information on raw materials used.

“Ask questions,” Chasser said, and also be critical. If the claims on the bottle sound too good to be true, Chasser says, they probably are.

“There’s no magic pill,” Chasser said.

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

You can find out more about the vitamin recall at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm363374.htm.