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      A Systematic Review of the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed: Tendencies in Illegal Food Supplements for Weight Loss


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          Background: Slimming products represent a dynamically growing group of food supplements worldwide. The efficacy of safely usable natural ingredients is usually below consumers’ expectations. Certain manufacturers add unauthorized or prohibited ingredients to weight loss supplements in order to increase their efficacy. Hence, many of these products are adulterated and may pose a risk to the consumers’ health.

          Aims: The aim of our work was to give an overview on natural ingredients used in slimming products, to summarize the frequently used synthetic adulterants and also to assess the trends of adulterated and illegal food supplements in the European Union based on the warnings of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) in the time period of 1988–2019.

          Methods: Reports between 1988–2019 were extracted from the RASFF portal on January 1, 2020. Each entry was individually reviewed.

          Results: 2,559 records of food supplements with quality problems were identified in the RASFF, several of which [319 (12,5%)] were marketed to facilitate weight loss. 202 (63,3%) contained unapproved, synthetic drug ingredients. The major adulterant (113 of 319, 35.4%) was DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol), whereas sibutramine was the second most frequent adulterant agent (69 products, 21,6%) between 1988 and 2019.

          Conclusion: The number of approved medicines for the indication of weight loss is relatively low and their efficacy (and also that of the natural ingredients) is limited. Therefore, a significant number of weight loss supplements is adulterated to satisfy patients’ expectations. Hence, these products may cause serious adverse effects in sensitive patients.

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          Most cited references 135

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          The cardiovascular effect of liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 analogue, when added to standard care in patients with type 2 diabetes, remains unknown.
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            The central melanocortin system is perhaps the best-characterized neuronal pathway involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. This collection of circuits is unique in having the capability of sensing signals from a staggering array of hormones, nutrients and afferent neural inputs. It is likely to be involved in integrating long-term adipostatic signals from leptin and insulin, primarily received by the hypothalamus, with acute signals regulating hunger and satiety, primarily received by the brainstem. The system is also unique from a regulatory point of view in that it is composed of fibers expressing both agonists and antagonists of melanocortin receptors. Given that the central melanocortin system is an active target for development of drugs for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and cachexia, it is important to understand the system in its full complexity, including the likelihood that the system also regulates the cardiovascular and reproductive systems.
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              Multicenter, placebo-controlled trial of lorcaserin for weight management.

              Lorcaserin is a selective serotonin 2C receptor agonist that could be useful in reducing body weight. In this double-blind clinical trial, we randomly assigned 3182 obese or overweight adults (mean body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters] of 36.2) to receive lorcaserin at a dose of 10 mg, or placebo, twice daily for 52 weeks. All patients also underwent diet and exercise counseling. At week 52, patients in the placebo group continued to receive placebo but patients in the lorcaserin group were randomly reassigned to receive either placebo or lorcaserin. Primary outcomes were weight loss at 1 year and maintenance of weight loss at 2 years. Serial echocardiography was used to identify patients in whom valvulopathy (as defined by the Food and Drug Administration) developed. At 1 year, 55.4% of patients (883 of 1595) receiving lorcaserin and 45.1% of patients (716 of 1587) receiving placebo remained in the trial; 1553 patients continued into year 2. At 1 year, 47.5% of patients in the lorcaserin group and 20.3% in the placebo group had lost 5% or more of their body weight (P<0.001), corresponding to an average loss of 5.8+/-0.2 kg with lorcaserin and 2.2+/-0.1 kg with placebo during year 1 (P<0.001). Among the patients who received lorcaserin during year 1 and who had lost 5% or more of their baseline weight at 1 year, the loss was maintained in more patients who continued to receive lorcaserin during year 2 (67.9%) than in patients who received placebo during year 2 (50.3%, P<0.001). Among 2472 patients evaluated at 1 year and 1127 evaluated at 2 years, the rate of cardiac valvulopathy was not increased with the use of lorcaserin. Among the most frequent adverse events reported with lorcaserin were headache, dizziness, and nausea. The rates of serious adverse events in the two groups were similar. In conjunction with behavioral modification, lorcaserin was associated with significant weight loss and improved maintenance of weight loss, as compared with placebo. (Funded by Arena Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00395135.) 2010 Massachusetts Medical Society

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                26 January 2021
                : 11
                [ 1 ]Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
                [ 2 ]Medical School, Institute for Translational Medicine, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
                Author notes
                *Correspondence: Dezső Csupor, csupor.dezso@ 123456pharmacognosy.hu

                This article was submitted to Ethnopharmacology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology

                Edited by: Michał Tomczyk, Medical University of Bialystok, Poland

                Reviewed by: Eric Deconinck, Sciensano, Belgium

                Jakub Dorożyński, Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Poland

                Copyright © 2021 Koncz, Tóth, Roza and Csupor.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Systematic Review


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