The news is from July, but yesterday was the first time that I heard that a dietary supplement called Iron Dream, a supplement designed to help aid sleep and post-workout recovery manufactured by MusclePharm, was pulled from shelves in Europe after authorities claimed that the product contained 2,4-dinitrophenol, aka DNP (source: Forbes). To no surprise, the company claimed that the suspected supplements were counterfeit.
DNP is not something to screw with. It’s a highly toxic chemical that was once used in diet pills due to its ability to greatly increase metabolic rate through increased heat production by the body. Unfortunately, it’s too good, so much so that even a slight overdose can lead to “a combination of hyperthermia, tachycardia, diaphoresis and tachypnoea, eventually leading to death.” Despite the risk, people still use it and some die.
Undisclosed ingredients in supplements has been one of many problems in the largely unregulated dietary supplements industry. What concerns me more with this specific case is where the DNP was found. Obviously, it doesn’t belong anywhere near the human body, but my expectation is that a chemical known for aiding weight loss would be used in a supplement geared toward weight loss. My belief is that most people can not take more than the recommended doses of weight loss supplements without experiencing bad side effects due the high amount of stimulants. Therefore, if trace amounts of DNP are in a weight loss supplement, there is less of a chance of ingesting a fatal dose.
Iron Dream is not a weight loss supplement. It is a night time supplement that claims to aid in recovery and muscle growth while sleeping. It is a combination of vitamins, herbs, and amino acids. It’s also a pretty small serving size (another problem in this industry). My personal belief is that people could easily take two to three times what’s on the label without experiencing any adverse effects, that is, unless it’s spiked with something like DNP.
While the adulterated product was likely a counterfeit, it’s a good reminder of caveat emptor, especially when purchasing products through internet-based businesses.