Mass Destruction is a dietary supplement designed for athletes and used mainly by bodybuilders. Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers to stop using the product, after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services alerted the agency of a serious injury associated with its use. After several weeks of use, a previously healthy 28-year-old man had liver failure requiring a transplant. Mass Destruction, which is labeled to contain at least one synthetic anabolic steroid, is undergoing further analysis by the FDA.

“Products marketed as supplements that contain anabolic steroids pose a real danger to consumers,” Howard Sklamberg, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, stated in a press release. Consumers who suspect they are experiencing problems due to their use of Mass Destruction or other bodybuilding products are advised by the FDA to consult a health care professional, especially if symptoms include unexplained fatigue, abdominal or back pain, discolored urine, or any other unexplained change in their health.

Mass Destruction is manufactured for Blunt Force Nutrition Inc., a privately held company located in North Carolina. According to the FDA, an investigation is underway to identify the manufacturer of the product, which is sold in stores, gyms, and online. Medical Daily could not reach Blunt Force by phone, which has been disconnected.

Marketing material refers to the product as a “dual compound prohormone” and lists its main ingredients as 17a-methyl-1,4-androstadiene-3,17diol 13.33mg (commonly referred to as M1,4ADD) and 18-Methylestr-4-en-3-one-17b-ol 20mg (or 18 Nano). Prohormones, which are anabolic steroids, are precursors to hormones and, as such, are processed by the liver. Because they can potentially raise bad cholesterol levels while also causing headaches, hypertension, dizziness, and an increase in blood pressure, many body builders recommend that users of prohormones take additional “cycle support” supplements in order to avoid damage to the liver. Discussion around the ingredients of Mass Destruction, even when conducted in the most positive light, offers countless signs and indications that these prohormones are fundamentally toxic to major organs and cause long-term damage. Anabolic steroids, such as those contained in the currently banned product, may cause an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the FDA, as well as adverse effects on blood lipid levels. Additionally, they may produce masculinization in women, shrinkage of the testicles, breast enlargement, infertility in males, and short stature in children.

Increasingly, dietary supplements are becoming a topic of concern. Is it only because of the money they represent? Americans spend about $25 billion annually on more than 50,000 available dietary supplement products, and the Natural Products Association (NPA), a nonprofit representing the manufacturers and retailers of natural products, estimates that 75 percent of American adults buy supplements at least once a year. The most popular products, by far, are multivitamins/multiminerals, which are generally safe even if, according to a recent editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, they are also unnecessary. Generally speaking, the real product-culprits within the industry are bodybuilding formulas, diet aids, and products claiming to boost sexual desire or performance. Nevertheless, Canadian researchers who conducted an investigation of 44 herbal products produced by 12 different companies found that more than half contained unlisted — and therefore illegal — ingredients or fillers, according to FDA guidelines. Although this may not cause a problem for many people, playing fast and loose with ingredients could spell disaster for someone with severe allergies if one of those unlisted ingredients just happens to be an allergen.