‘Natural’ weight loss herb contains unnatural drug

I might be naive, but I find this shocking: Bethel Nutritional Consulting has been caught including a substance banned by the FDA in a product that was marketed as “natural.”  I called the company to ask how an unapproved substance could be included in their product, but despite leaving messages, no one from the company responded to my questions. I wonder how consumers can have any confidence taking any product if companies don’t put all the ingredients on the packaging, or if companies include ingredients banned by the FDA.

FDA has sent out a public alert about a recall of Bethel 30 green capsules, marketed as a natural herb for weight loss. They are being recalled because they tested positive for sibutramine. Sibutramine is a controlled substance that FDA previously approved for the treatment of obesity. In Oct. 2010. sibutramine was removed from the U.S. market for safety reasons, making these weight-loss supplements an unapproved drug.

One lot of each of the 3 following Bethel products have been recalled. However, the company is recommending that consumers not use any of these products and is discontinuing manufacturing and distribution of the 3.

The recalled products are packaged in plastic white bottles, 30 capsules per bottle as follows:

  • Bethel 30 bears Lot # 120514 with exp. 12/05/2014 (recalled on 6/11/13);
  • Bethel Advance bears Lot # 10092011 with exp. 2014;
  • Quick Thin bears Lot # 10032011 with exp. 10/2014.

Bethel 30 green capsules, Quick Thin gold capsules, and Bethel Advance white capsules are each marketed as a natural herb for weight loss.

The FDA has identified products containing sibutramine as a potential threat to consumers because the drug substantially increases blood pressure and pulse rate in some patients. These products may pose a significant risk to those with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm or stroke. They may also interact, in life-threatening ways, with other medications a patient is taking.

Consumers with questions should call customer service at Bethel Nutritional Counseling, Inc. at 212-568-5330 or send an email to customerservice@bethel30.com Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET.

Consumers should contact their physician or health care professional if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using any of these products.

While it’s clear that it is hard to find a “get-thin-quick” magic pill, it would be good if those products that claim to be just that do not at the very least cause any harm.


Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne Robotti founded MedShadow Foundation in 2012. Learn more about Su and her mission.

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