Guide: Be Careful with Supplements (or Jamu)

Is dietary supplements right for your body? Does Jamu works for weight loss? We'll find out in this article.

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What are dietary supplements for weight loss and what do they do?

Eating healthy foods, reducing calories, and being physically active are all established ways to lose weight. But, because implementing these lifestyle adjustments isn’t simple, you might wonder if taking a weight-loss-oriented dietary supplement can assist.

This fact sheet summarises what is known about the safety and efficacy of a variety of compounds used in weight-loss dietary supplements. Supplement manufacturers may claim that their products help you lose weight by preventing fat or carbohydrate absorption, suppressing your appetite, or speeding up your metabolism. On the other hand, weight-loss supplements have little scientific background. Many of them are excessively costly, others interact or interfere with drugs, and a few are potentially hazardous.

Consult your healthcare professional if you’re considering taking a dietary supplement to help you lose weight. If you are a person with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or other medical disorders, this is very crucial.

What are the ingredients in dietary supplements for weight loss?

Many substances, such as herbs, fibre, and minerals, are found in weight-loss supplements in various amounts and combinations. Some products, which come in capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders, include dozens of components.

The following is an alphabetical list of common substances used in weight-loss supplements. You’ll find out what’s known about each ingredient’s effectiveness and safety. However, determining whether these nutrients help you lose weight healthily is difficult. Most items have multiple chemicals, and when they’re put together, they can have diverse effects.

You might be surprised to learn that weight-loss supplement manufacturers rarely conduct human studies to determine whether their product works and is safe. And, when studies are conducted, they typically involve only a limited number of people who take the supplement for a few weeks or months at a time. Larger groups of people must be examined for extended periods of time to determine whether a weight-loss product can help people lose weight safely and keep it off.

What exactly is Jamu, and why is it so dangerous?

KKM’s explanation is as follows:

Prior to being marketed to consumers, all pharmaceutical items in Malaysia, which includes traditional medicines and health supplements, must be registered through the Drug Control Authority of the Ministry of Health Malaysia. All registered products are assigned a unique registration number that begins with the letters ‘MAL,’ then an 8-digit number, and the letters A, X, T, or N. (example : MAL12045467T). The following is the categorisation of registered products:

A — Medication that is under strict control (antibiotic, anti-diabetics)

X — OTC (over-the-counter) medication (fever medicine, liniments)

T stands for traditional medicine (jamu, herbal pill)

N – Nutritional supplement (vitamin, minerals)

Traditional medicinal items such as jamu and maajun must be registered before they can be marketed to consumers.

To be categorised as traditional medicine, a product must be made entirely of natural materials and not contain any modern or controlled medicines.

Health Hazard

In general, when compared to regulated drugs, traditional medicine will take a longer time to produce any effects or results. Traditional product analysis prior to registration focuses solely on determining their quality and safety profiles. This is in contrast to testing performed on other types of registered products (such as regulated pharmaceuticals), which are assessed based on their safety, quality, and efficacy. As a result, users should not anticipate traditional medical goods to produce the same quick outcomes as traditional controlled drugs.

In order to enhance or improve their health, customers are more interested in and willing to ingest health supplements or traditional items. Unscrupulous producers, on the other hand, have taken advantage of this expanding trend by adulterating their products with regulated or illegal drugs.

This was done to deceive the public and convince them that their products work wonders and are as effective as they promise. This alarming trend is growing in lockstep with the consumer’s growing desire to improve their health.

Consumers’ desire for speedier outcomes without fully comprehending the risks and effects on their health also contributes to this trend and works as a magnet for it.

The Pharmacy Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Health has discovered a variety of traditional items, including jamu and maajun, that have false holograms and/or registration numbers from other registered products.

Unsuspecting customers may fall victim to these unscrupulous practises, leading them to believe that the products are registered and approved by the Ministry of Health.

Consumers may purchase medicines with unknown status, which may be hazardous or injurious to their health. To prevent discovery, some of these unregistered devices display a bogus address, making it harder for law enforcement agents to take action.

Consumers are recommended to check the status of their goods by visiting the Pharmaceutical Services Division’s official website at and looking up the registration number on the product. All registered items’ information is available online and can be verified for free.

If the registration number or product name isn’t found in the system, or if the information is different (different manufacturer or address), it’s a fake and should be avoided at all costs.

The most prevalent adulterant found

Traces of illegal drugs, including active ingredients for regulated medicines, have been discovered in a number of unregistered traditional goods, including maajun or jamu.

Only a qualified pharmacist or a registered medical practitioner can lawfully supply these medications. The following are some of the most prevalent adulterants found in traditional medical products:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/pain relievers such as phenylbutazone, ibuprofen, and diclofenac are examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/pain relievers.

Dexamethasone, prednisolone, and betamethasone are steroid hormones.

Metformin and glibenclamide, for example, are diabetes medications.

The type of adulterant commonly discovered in traditional items is determined by the product’s indication or medical claims. Traditional products include a variety of medical claims, including the ability to decrease pain and swelling in joints and bones, as well as enhance energy and appetite.

Negative Effects

Those who drink contaminated traditional products run the danger of experiencing serious side effects because the quantity or dose of active substances in those items is not regulated and can fluctuate from too high to too low. These products could be made in unauthorised or unsanitary facilities that do not follow Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines.

In most cases, users will not notice any negative effects in the early stages and will find the items to be effective and provide the desired impact. However, when the body’s condition deteriorates, continued use may result in a serious adverse reaction. Individuals’ adverse effects may differ in type and severity based on other factors such as personal lifestyle, health status, and food intake. The length of time it takes for people to develop such symptoms, as well as their severity, varies.

Among the most common adulterant found in traditional products and their adverse effects are as follows :

Adverse effects
  • Increased appetite
  • Oedema/ moon face
  • Slow wound healing
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stripes and bruise marks on the body
  • Kidney failure
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Stomach/GIT bleeding
  • Burns on the skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Kidney failure
  • Steven-Johnson Syndrome
Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Stomach/GIT bleeding
  • Kidney Failure

If someone you met tried to sell you (or perhaps invite you into their schemes), do your due diligence prior to buying or taking any of these traditional supplements.

Additional Reading:

Beware of Slimming Pills by KKM

Common Weight-Loss Ingredients in Traditional Supplements

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