-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As the fall sports
season starts and young players face the risk of concussions, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that dietary supplements
that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions are untested,
unproven and possibly dangerous.
These products are being sold on the Internet and in stores by
companies attempting to exploit parents' increasing concerns about
concussions, the agency said in a news release.
These bogus supplements are also being marketed through social
media, the FDA added.
One common misleading claim is that these dietary supplements
promote faster brain healing after a concussion. Even if some of
these products don't contain harmful ingredients, the claim itself
can be dangerous, explained Gary Coody, National Health Fraud
Coordinator at the FDA.
"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," he said in the news release.
"Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or [traumatic brain injuries]," he added.
Head injuries require proper diagnosis, treatment and monitoring
by a medical professional, the FDA stressed. There is mounting
evidence that if concussion patients resume playing sports too
soon, they're at increased risk for another concussion.
Repeat concussions can lead to severe problems such as brain
swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disability and
"There is simply no scientific evidence to support the use of any dietary supplement for the prevention of concussions or the reduction of post-concussion symptoms that would allow athletes to return to play sooner," Charlotte Christin, acting director of the FDA's division of dietary supplement programs, said in the news release.
Many dietary supplements that claim to benefit people with
concussion and other head injuries hype the benefits of ingredients
such as the spice turmeric and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids
from fish oils, the FDA said.
Two companies making false claims about their products changed
their websites and labeling after the FDA sent them warning letters
in 2012. The FDA issued a warning letter in 2013 to a third company
that was doing the same.
"As we continue to work on this problem, we can't guarantee you won't see a claim about [traumatic brain injuries]," Coody said. "But we can promise you this: There is no dietary supplement that has been shown to prevent or treat them. If someone tells you otherwise, walk away."
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