Risky "smoothies" - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

5.22.03

Risky "smoothies"

A supplement linked to 80 deaths within the United States can be found in some smoothies. At Phuza Juice Bar, Matt Lincoln reluctantly no longer sells ephedra-based smoothies to his customers. Lincoln says reports state that the dietary supplement has been linked to several deaths. Lincoln adds that is making the supplement harder to find.

Dr. Mike Perko, professor of Health and Applied Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and author of the book, "Taking One For The Team," wants the supplement banned.

"On the label of every bottle, it states you will experience nausea, dizziness, vomiting and psychological episodes. These symptoms are not normal." Perko says the other problem is that the ephedra is mixed with so many other elements that it can be deadly.

Ephedrine can be found in most gas stations and drug stores. The supplement is used mainly by athletes who want to boost their energy or lose weight. Lincoln says many people come to his store to buy smoothies before or after they go to the gym. His customers are well aware of the side effects, but still crave the energy booster.

The Federal Drug Administration has reported that the supplement comprises only one percent of herbal sales, but accounts for 60 percent of herbal-related poison control emergencies.

Reported By: Brandi Davis bdavis@wect.com

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