Canadian health authorities are warning against using some acai berry products because they could be laced with Sildenafil, a drug commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction and that has many serious health risks associated with its use.
One of the most important "superfruits" to emerge on the marketplace in the last decade, the acai berry has been agressively marketed for its alleged anti-aging, energizing and weight-loss properties, to name a few. The berry itself, which originates from the South American Amazon, has been identified as one of the highest antioxidant fruits, rich in healthy omega fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, prompting many marketers to cash in on its alleged benefits with a raft of acai berry supplements, beverages, and personal care items.
Health Canada issued an advisory Tuesday against using certain acai supplements after finding large shipments of tainted and unauthorized acai products entering the country. Some of the brands affected include: Anti-Aging Acai Berry, Guarana Blast Brazilian Pure Anti-aging Vital Rez V, Weight Loss VitalAcai, Dietary Supplement Acai Power Blast, and Muscle Mass.
But because many of the affected acai berry products are sold on the internet, the danger of tainted acai products isn't limited to Canada, the agency warned.
Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, can cause potentially dangerous low blood pressure when taken in combination with nitrate drugs. People with heart problems are cautioned against taking Sildenafil because it puts them at higher risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.
Drugs and natural health products authorized for sale in Canada have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label, indicating they have been assessed by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness and quality and have been licensed for sale.
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