SINGAPORE - Weight-loss product beFIT Total Garcinia Cambogia contains an undeclared banned ingredient, and could be toxic, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned.
HSA says that the illegal weight-loss product, which is sold online, contains banned substances sibutramine and phenolphthalein.
Sibutramine has been banned in Singapore since October 2010 due to "serious safety concerns", HSA said.
The agency added that the "very high level" of sibutramine detected in beFIT Total Garcinia Cambogia could lead to heart attacks and fits.
The substance may also cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure, increased heart rate and irregular heartbeats. Changes in mood such as anxiety, depression and mood swings have also been reported.
Phenolphthalein has been used medicinally as a laxative but is no longer in use in Singapore. It may cause rashes, abdominal cramps, breathing difficulties, kidney disorders and has been found in animal studies to be associated with cancer.
The seller of the product is assisting HSA with its investigations.
The product, which is sold on local websites and social media platforms, supposedly contains the extract of garcinia cambogia, a fruit similar to tamarind.
This is touted as the main ingredient in the pills that helps to control one's appetite and inhibits "fat production".
"Illegal health products such as 'beFIT Total Garcinia Cambogia' are generally produced under poor manufacturing conditions with no quality control," HSA said in its statement.
"As with 'beFIT Total Garcinia Cambogia', the hidden undeclared ingredients can be present in high quantities, which can pose serious health hazards and even lead to death."
The agency advised members of the public who are consuming the product to stop taking it immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell or are concerned about their health.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of beFIT Total Garcinia Cambogia or other illegal products may contact HSA at 68663485 during office hours or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can visit www.healthdangers.sg to learn more about the dangers of buying illegal health products from dubious sources.