The New York Times reported that a new study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that dietary supplements cause 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries. The $32 billion dietary supplement industry is largely unregulated and operates on an “honor system” where most manufacturers do not study the drugs for safety before selling them to consumers. According to the NYT article about 0.3 percent of supplements sold in the U.S. have been studied closely enough to determine their side effects. As a result, health care providers and the public know little about their ingredients and injuries they can cause. Green tea extract, a supplement commonly labeled as a fat burner, can have high concentrations of catechins (a type of antioxidant) that can be toxic to the liver. The article describes how a teenager trying to lose some weight nearly lost his liver due to a green tea extract.
So be wary of the quick-fix diet pill as you make your New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds. They may be doing more harm than good.
All of us here at the Washington Product Liability Blog wish you a healthy and happy 2014!