A tale of gullibility, vulnerability and lack of responsibility.
When 24 year old Cara Reynolds from Edinburgh, Scotland wanted to slim down a bit, she relied on the promises of Forza Supplements.
At 5'4" and 140 lbs she didn't have to lose weight, but, like many women of her age, may have figured it couldn't hurt.
After all, what was there to lose, when the company tells us about their "Atom Raspberry Ketone" that it's a "fruit and vitamin diet supplement" and "100% natural."
It could be that Cara had also read a Daily Mail interview with actress Roxanne Pallet:
[Forza Raspberry Ketone is] really safe because it’s a food supplement, it’s not a slimming pill. It’s something you take once a day to increase your fat breakdown, and because it’s raspberries, it’s natural.
If you can find something that has that natural ability to speed up your metabolism that is safe, that works well, that’s great.
Should she, the slightly insecure little health care worker form Edinburgh, doubt the promises of the company and the wisdom of the worldly actress who declared Forza's potent mixture of raspberry ketone, caffeine and resveratrol safe? Would a reputable retailer like Amazon sell something that is not?
When The Vulnerable Are Most Vulnerable
Cara went ahead, ordered via Amazon UK and took two pills, as per Forza's directions. Her concerned parents she soothed by repeating what she had read: "they're all natural."
Soon after she learned that the 400 mg of caffeine from the recommended dose can have serious side effects. The heart palpitations she experienced had her worried enough that she swore to her parents she would never again use the supplement.
The reasons for what happens next we can only guess.
A month later Cara ended the rocky relationship with her fiancé and took a large amount of the pills. In short time she went into seizures, started vomiting and was unconscious before the ambulance arrived. After 44 tries of restarting her heart, the medics at a local hospital had to give up and pronounce her dead.
In her last words she had told her father she had made a mistake and didn't want to die.
It Should Be A Controlled Substance
Maybe Cara knew how lethal these pills could be. Maybe she wanted to commit suicide and then regretted it.
But unintentional deadly overdosing of caffeine has happened before and the companies making these supplements don't make it clear how potent caffeine really is. Forza's statement about Cara reads like this:
This is a tragic and understandably upsetting situation for her family and friends, but it could have been effected through the misuse of any supplement. Forza products meet vigorous health and safety standards and have clear labelling and directions for safe usage. The facts surrounding this incident are not yet wholly clear, but our client entirely rejects any implication that an inherent safety issue with its products is responsible.
Oh yeah, Forza? Could I do this with the same amount of vitamin C? Where on your website do you mention that caffeine and cocaine are alkaloid cousins that act much in the same way? That 10 g of caffeine can be deadly? Where in nature can I consume 400 mg of it with a single gulp?
And, as a more personal question, where do you tell young women of perfectly normal weight that they don't need your pills?
Picture courtesy of Theodore Scott.