As consumers of food supplements, the least we could expect is products that match label ingredients in terms of potency, as well as acceptable levels of product quality. Yet, many supplements fall short of even these minimal goals. A lot of the deception that occurs in the supplement industry is often blamed on the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, passed by Congress in 1994. This new law permitted greater freedom for companies to produce products that previously may have had to have undergone rigid safety and efficiency testing before it was allowed on the commercial market. With the advent of the new law, the burden of safety shifted from the product manufacturers to the government. In short, the government, specifically the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) had the onus to have to prove beyond a doubt that any particular product or ingredient offered for sale was a danger to public health. The new law opened the door to categories of supplements that would never be allowed on the market prior to the passage of the law. These included the prohormone supplements touted to boost testosterone levels.
Eventually, however, the majority of prohormone supplements proved to be either ineffective for producing any appreciable increases in testosterone production in the body, or just produced unwanted side effects, such as an increase in estrogen rather than testosterone in many users. Still, there were enough side effects reported to the FDA to warrant the passage of an amendment to a steroid law initially enacted in 1990. This amendment mandated the removal of all existing prohormone supplements from market sales. The industry, however, refused to be set back by the mere passage of a law, so they came up with a new generation of "testosterone boosters" that were, in fact, old, discarded anabolic steroid drugs. These drugs were initially synthesized in the labs of major pharmaceutical companies in the early-1960s but were never released for market sales, usually because they either showed no superiority to existing anabolic steroid drugs or showed too high a toxicity level during preliminary animal studies. But while the drugs were relegated to pharmaceutical limbo, their chemical structures were recorded in a book published in 1968 by Julius Vida. That book eventually became the bible of the companies who sold the last generation of "testosterone boosters" that were derived from true anabolic steroids. Again, the inevitable series of some significant side effects were reported with the use of the "supplements," which resulted in the passage of another law that went into effect in 2014. That law banned the use of any anabolic steroid in commercial food supplements and included a list of the current specific drugs that existed in the supplements.
One insidious problem that arose when the steroid supplements were still available was that they often . . .