If you’re not sure what “metabolism drops” are, just ask the teenagers of TikTok. Young users of the video-based social platform are going crazy for them, and it’s forced the company behind the product to take drastic action.
“Wellness solution” brand Rae, founded by former Target execs Angela Tebbe and Eric Carl, has decided to “proactively pause the sale” of their Metabolism Drops and Metabolism Capsules. They posted a lengthy statement on their website to explain their position.
“We became concerned when we started to notice a conversation emerge [on TikTok]: teenage girls misusing the product alongside conversation about weight loss, at times using more than the recommended dose,” it said. “All of our products are formulated for, and marketed to, adult women 18 and older.”
Dazed Digital reports that hundreds of influencer-style videos have been uploaded to TikTok with teens showing off their bottles of Metabolism Drops, captioned with “let’s get skinny!” and #weightlosschallenge. The product, which retails for $14.99, is so popular, it was already on a three-month backorder at Target before it was pulled from sale.
The statement from Rae stressed that while the action is listed in Target stores as a recall, there are “no safety concerns with any of our products whatsoever.”
“There is no risk in taking our Metabolism Drops as directed,” they added. “We took this action simply because we feel it’s the right thing to do as a company. Seeing a groundswell of this kind of conversation was antithetical to our values. The wellbeing [sic] of all women and the promotion of positive body images are essential to the foundation of this brand.”
The brand’s philosophy does seem commendable. “Women are taking control of their health like never before,” the website states. “We’re committed to supporting them with evidence-based holistic wellness solutions that promote self-love and help them radiate from within.”
But the issue here is that the message is getting lost in translation on its way to teenage girls, who have just as much access to wellness websites as their older counterparts. According to Dazed Digital, Rae’s ingestible drops, which are promoted on the brand’s website as supporting and enhancing a person’s natural metabolism, are being used as appetite suppressants and weight-loss stimulants by the young women spreading the Rae love on TikTok. Reportedly, they “didn’t crave sweets” and “felt way less bloated after meals” after taking the drops.
None of Rae’s wellness products—as well as the metabolism products, they sell sleep capsules, energy drops, and a libido booster—are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However the company points out that the FDA does not approve dietary supplements by law.
“We follow what the FDA established for dietary supplements in 2007 called ‘current Good Manufacturing Practice’ (cGMP),” the brand states. “These regulations require that each batch of our vitamins is tested for identity, purity, strength, and composition, so we can be sure that what’s on the label is what’s in our vitamins and supplements. We also use a test each batch for heavy metals, microbes, allergens, gluten, and other contaminants, ensuring they are below levels deemed safe by the cGMP.”
The issue here isn’t whether Rae’s Metabolism Drops (or any of their other products) has FDA approval or the backing of science. What everyone should really be concerned about is that a huge number of teenage girls think weight loss (by whatever means available or necessary) is the route to a healthy body and healthy body image.