King's Lynn woman talks "impossible" beauty standards and illegal Apetamin use
The weight-gain supplement Apetamin is illegal to be sold and distributed in the UK, but that doesn't stop young women and men using it.
Apetamin is a combination of B-Vitamins, L-lysine hydrochloride and an antihistamine called cyproheptadine hydrochloride and can have adverse effects on users.
The Lynn News has looked into the Apetamin culture in and around West Norfolk after the BBC's Dangerous Curves:Get Thicc Get Sick? documentary was released.
Model Altou Mvuama, 19 explores the side effects of the drug after it gained popularity on social media site Instagram.
In the documentary, she reveals that both her and her mother had used Apetamin to achieve curves, but were not aware of the dangers.
Jane Brown (not her real name),aged 30 a trainee psychotherapist from Lynn has spoken about her Apetamin experience.
Miss Brown said: "You would think I wouldn't have been drawn into it because of my profession but I have always been skinny. One partner really upset me by saying I had the figure of a young boy. I'm quite tall so I hate the way I look, all skinny and lanky."
Apetamin was heavily advertised by social media influencers, who were promoting the popular "skinny thick" look.
The so called "skinny thick" figure consists of a tiny waist, large hips, large buttocks and breasts and a flat stomach.
It is a figure that stars such as Kim Kardashian and Cardi B have, and many young females attempt to emulate through surgery, workouts and supplements like Apetamin.
Miss Brown says that beauty standards have become "impossible" in recent years.
She said: "It's hard to face all of these ideals on social media. It feels like the ideal body type is slim with a teeny tiny waist like the Kardashians, but still curvy somehow. Hardly anyone is that shape naturally. I felt that for so long as women were were expected to be thin and now we are pressurised into being both thin and voluptuous.
"That's why I got some Apetamin, from an International Market convenience store in Norwich."
A social media user from the Midlands has also said she "orders" the drug from the International Market in Norwich.
Miss Brown has confirmed that is where many West Norfolk users purchase Apetamin, and others order it online.
She said: "It's sold on a website called DesertCart. You used to be able to get in on eBay but they have recently removed it."
None of the international stores in Lynn were seen to be selling Apetamin on their shelves. According to the BBC documentary, it's relatively easy to purchase in international stores, however our reporter had the best success finding the drug online - at DesertCart.
However, nothing was seen on eBay or Amazon as the BBC reported, this may be due to a regulatory service looking into the drug.
Miss Brown said: "I had horrible side effects on the drug and it didn't have the desired effect on my body, it just made me feel awful.
"I felt dizzy and sick all of the time and sometimes I would sleep for over 14 hours, and miss lectures."
Apetamin is produced by TIL Healthcare an Indian-owned company that is part of the Jhaver conglomorate.
Jhaver group also owns a pesticide company that exports farming materials to many locations, including around Norfolk.
Jhaver has offices in India, the UK and Dubai-, where DesertCart is located.
Apetamin is legal in India and the ingredients are found in many combinations in over-the-counter medicine in the UK.
The antihistamine Pirateze contains cyproheptadine hydrochloride, which is well known to have a drowsy effect.
However, the side effects of the 'vitamin' as it is marketed, are a cause for concern for the NHS.
The NHS has written to Instagram after the BBC documentary aired asking them to remove posts advertising Apetamin from their site.
Miss Brown agrees this is the correct approach.
She said: "I had no idea it would make me feel so unwell, I really did think it was a vitamin. I buy a lot of things from Facebook and Instagram so I trust the testimonies of users."