Nearly a year after its FDA approval, Lorcaserin, more commonly known as Belviq, will be available to patients through prescription. Lorcaserin was the first diet pill to be approved by the FDA since Orlistat’s (Alli) approval in 1999, but it was beat to the market by Qsymia. Qsymia has been plagued by weak sales since it first appeared on the market 10 months ago. Arena, the company that sells Belviq, is hoping that their product does considerably better.
Belviq is approved for those who are obese, as well as those who are overweight with other serious health risks like diabetes. It works by targeting the serotonin receptors, specifically the 2C receptor, in the brain to help the patient feel full. This receptor is in the area of the brain associated with appetite control and metabolism.
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Consumer Reports released a study this week regarding an investigation into arsenic levels in rice. After testing more than 60 rice products, the organization found there were “worrisome” levels of arsenic in all products.
Rice is the number one food source of arsenic in human diets, reportedly containing five times more than oatmeal.
Arsenic is an element found in nature and in man-made products, including various types of pesticides, according to My Health News Daily.
Because it is in the soil, plants absorb arsenic when they grow, which explains how it gets into our food products.
Because Consumer Reports detected “worrisome” levels of arsenic have been detected in our foods, experts are warning consumers to take caution, especially warning parents not to give more than one serving per day of infant rice cereal to their children.
Following the Consumer Reports investigation, which rested 60 rice products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is conducting its own full study and has already tested more than 200 rice products. Various products have included rice cereals and beverages, and the FDA has already found traces of arsenic in all products. In total, more than 1,000 products will be tested over the course of a year.
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By Rachel Berman, RD Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
Just as the new school year is getting underway and students everywhere are looking for a pick-me-up to stay focused in class, the NY State Attorney General announced his investigation of energy drinks and the safety of their caffeine levels. You might remember a couple of years ago when the USDA forced removal of products from the marketplace, such as Four Loko, which added caffeine to alcohol. They deemed it unsafe since caffeine masks the depressant qualities of alcohol and people who mix the two are more likely to binge drink, according to studies.
However, it seems like there’s a new product appearing every week touting its ability to keep you awake and energized. Energy drinks are a billion-dollar industry, the fastest growing segment of the beverage market, and they generally contain caffeine, other plant based supplements, simple sugars and additives to achieve their goal. According to the CDC, about one-third of teenage Americans consume energy drinks. But the problem is that the drinks are considered dietary supplements and therefore aren’t tightly regulated by the FDA like other foods and beverages. So can energy drinks be bad for your health?
Cap the caffeine
The caffeine content listed on energy drinks doesn’t usually exceed the recommended 400 mg per day for adult. However, if you’re downing more than one or mixing with coffee, soda, and other caffeinated beverages, you might be getting more than you need. The FDA recognizes caffeine as a drug and regulates the amount found in carbonated soft drinks, but not in energy drinks. Too much caffeine can cause increased heart beat, interrupted sleep, irritability, and nervousness. In addition, some studies have found that high caffeine content in energy drinks results in irregular heart beat and increased blood pressure.
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Vitamins and supplements have long been tied to health benefits and disease prevention, but a new study from Consumer Reports would suggests otherwise, saying there’s a dark side to natural supplements we may not realize. The study highlights supplement-related incidents including adverse reactions, misleading advertising, and even an increase in diseases that some pills claim to treat.
Some of the most worrisome news is that not only are some supplements not all-natural as they claim to be, but they could also be laced with prescription drugs. These prescriptions can interfere with other drugs and cause kidney failure, a stroke, or even death.
Most supplements recalled had the same ingredients as prescriptions marketed for weight loss, bodybuilding, and sexual enhancement. Consumers wanting a natural alternative to Viagra, for example, may be buying an herbal remedy that’s spiked with the same active ingredient used in Viagra – sildenafil.
This problem recently showed up in the 2012 Olympic games when bodybuilder Hysen Palaku was barred from competing after testing positive for steroids. The Albanian said he only took herbal supplements and was unaware they contained a drug.
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