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JFDA, medical community warn against use of unlicensed, under-regulated dietary supplements

By Maria Weldali - Jan 25,2023 - Last updated at Jan 25,2023

Representative image (Photo courtesy of unsplash/ Diana Polekhina)


AMMAN — The Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) is warning citizens against consuming unlicensed weight loss drugs and dietary and herbal supplements which are usually sold at “unreliable locations”. 

According to a JFDA statement made available to The Jordan Times, “These dietary supplements are not under strict clinical trials before use, therefore there is no clear proof of their safety, efficiency or quality.” 

The supplements might be composed of pharmaceutical substances that can lead to medical problems, the statement added.

Jordanian pharmacist Sana Said told The Jordan Times that dietary and food supplements are thought to be “magical solutions” by many. However, these supplements could in fact have many adverse effects on one’s health, she said.

“Most dietary supplements promise easy weight loss, but there are no actual studies and research that confirms that supplements actually deliver on their promises,” Sana said. 

In the case that a person takes certain supplements, they should consult their healthcare provider, Sana cautioned, advising that one should always follow the recommended dosage stated on the label.

She also emphasised that people lack knowledge and are not well aware of how to properly consume supplements.

The side effects of “unknowingly” or “extensively” using unregulated supplements could include kidney failure, among others, she said, noting that “people should not forget that this industry is under-regulated worldwide”.

“Even if supplement consumers see some results, they will be short-lived. After all, nothing beats a healthy lifestyle,” Sana added. 

Amani Omar, a Jordanian nutritionist, told The Jordan Times that herbal supplements “are derived from plants, seeds or roots, and come in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, gummies, extracts and teas. They are widely used and some might have healing properties, but they cannot be consumed prior to doctor or healthcare provider or experts’ consultation, because they might have interactions with other drugs and might have active ingredients leading to serious adverse effects”. 

“Moreover, there is a lack of oversight in the supplements industry, which means people should be careful.” Amani said. 

“Supplements, like multi-vitamins, will not compensate for poor diets, and do not provide the benefits of healthy eating habits,” Amani added.

“People nowadays are filling their kitchen countertops with multis, dietary teas, gummies and other kinds of supplements, without realising or keeping in mind that there is no clear evidence that shows their efficiency,” said Mai Badr, a Jordanian pharmacist. 

Badr told The Jordan Times that people should take extra precautions, and should not mix certain medications with particular supplements.

“Supplementing can be tricky. Every now and then, recommendations might change, so people are urged to stay knowledgeable and updated on how to consume supplements healthily,” she said.

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