Popular Supplement Declared Dangerous, Even Deadly
The dietary supplement 1,4-butandediol or BD, which is found in some body-building products, is being blamed for the deaths of 71 people and another 40 deaths are under investigation.
Also used as an industrial solvent, BD is promoted as a natural way to build muscle, improve athletic and sexual performance, reverse baldness and reduce stress, none of which has been proven.
''1,4-butanediol is toxic, addictive and potentially lethal,'' researchers write in the New England Journal of Medicine.
''Although the long-term effects are poorly understood, frequent use of 1,4-butanediol can result in physical and psychological addiction and potentially severe withdrawal syndromes.''
The Food and Drug Administration declared BD to be an unapproved drug and has ordered its removal from store shelves, but extensive marketing and rapid sales continue over the Internet.
BD is found in numerous products such as Thunder Nectar, Amino Flex, Liquid Gold, X-12 and N-Force, to name just a few, and may be listed on the label in one of three forms: tetramethylene glycol, buylene glycol or sucol-B.
Symptoms of overdose include combative behavior, nausea, incontinence, and abrupt loss of consciousness.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2001; 344, 2, 87-94.
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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