Avoid some acai products, warns Health Canada

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hypertension

Canadian public health association, Health Canada has warned against using some Acai Berry products after many shipments of adulterated samples were intercepted at a border crossing.

The anti-aging and weight loss products, including Anti-Aging Acai Berry, Guarana Blast, Brazillian Pure, Anti-aging Vital Rez V, Weight Loss VitalAcai, Dietary Supplement Acai Power Blast and Muscle Mass, were found to contain Sildenafil.

The drug, commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction, has many serious health risks associated with its use, said the association.

Sildenafil may cause serious side effects in some individuals and should only be used under the supervision of a health care practitioner​,” it said.

Life-threatening

In particular, sildenafil should never be used by individuals taking any kind of nitrate drug, such as nitroglycerine, as it can cause potentially life-threatening low blood pressure, the association continued.

People with heart problems are said to be at increased risk of cardiovascular side-effects such as heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure and abnormal heart beat. Other side-effects include headache, facial flushing, indigestion, dizziness, abnormal vision, and hearing loss.

Although the products are not authorized for sale in Canada, Health Canada suspects they may have been imported illegally or bought through the internet.

In order to differentiate between illegal imports and authorized drugs and natural health products, consumers should look at the label to discover the eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) that all approved products carry label. The numbers show that the products have been assessed by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness and quality and have been licensed for sale.

Antioxidant fruit

The Acai berry, which grows in the Amazon Basin, has been identified as a powerful antioxidant fruit, rich in omega fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is this that has led companies to exploit its health benefits with a range of acai berry supplements, beverages, and personal care items.

The association reports no domestic cases of adverse reactions following the use of the seven named products.

Meanwhile, it advises Canadians who have purchased or used these products and are concerned about their health should consult a health care practitioner.

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