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FDA warns against use of ‘nature’s Ozempic’

The FDA and the Maryland Department of Health tested multiple samples from a weight loss product labeled "Nuez de la India" and found that the samples contained highly toxic yellow oleander. (Provided Photo/FDA)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expanding its warning that pills dubbed “nature’s Ozempic” could be very harmful to humans.

The FDA and the Maryland Department of Health tested multiple samples from a weight loss product labeled “Nuez de la India.” The FDA notes the product, sold in both seed and capsule form, could also be marketed as “botanical food,” “India Nuts for Weight Loss,” “slimming seeds,” “India seeds for weight loss,” or “diet seeds.”

The investigation found that the samples were actually yellow oleander — a highly toxic poisonous plant native to Mexico and Central America.

According to the FDA, the product can be purchased online through third-party sites like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.

People who ingest yellow oleander can suffer neurologic, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular health problems so severe they could be fatal. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cardiac changes, and dysrhythmia are possible symptoms of yellow oleander poisoning.

The FDA says one person in Maryland was hospitalized after taking the Nut Diet Max brand Nuez de la India seeds.

The FDA recommends people immediately stop using Nut Diet Max brand (seeds or capsules) or Todorganic Natural brand (seeds) products marketed as “Nuez de la India,” “India nuts,” or India seeds because they may contain yellow oleander. It says to use caution for other similar products because candlenut seeds (nontoxic) and oleander seeds (highly toxic) look so similar.

Image shows authentic seeds on the left compared with sampled seeds on the right. (Provided Photo/Food and Drug Administration)

The FDA says anyone who has taken these products should immediately inform their doctor, even if they are not showing any symptoms. Call 911 or get emergency help if there are serious side effects.

Contact your healthcare provider if you or someone in your care recently ingested these or other botanical weight loss products and have health concerns.

Consumers can also contact the state poison control center.

The FDA says the investigation is ongoing and it’s working with third-party vendors to address concerns over the products.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can: