Hydroxycut Products Linked to Liver Damage



A supplement popular with dieters and bodybuilders has been linked to several cases of liver damage and at least one death, according to the FDA. Hydroxycut is advertised by Iovate Health Sciences as being made from natural ingredients and nine million packets of the 14 different products were sold last year.

The FDA has received over 20 reports of liver problems, including jaundice and liver failure. A 19-year-old died in 2007, but the death wasn’t reported to the FDA until March of this year. Iovate Health Science has agreed to recall the products and stated on their website that consumers may get a refund from the store where they purchased the product.

The problem with Hydroxycut products may be linked to an ingredient called hydroxycitric acid, which is derived from tropical fruit and has been linked to liver damage in medical studies.

Although diet supplements are not as tightly regulated by the FDA as other drugs, perhaps they should be. It seems hypocritical that we express outrage at tainted products from China, yet our own government doesn’t require manufacturers to prove their supplements are safe or effective before they reach the consumer. One example used in this case is that of ephedra, which was banned by the FDA in 2004, but not before it caused several heart attacks and strokes. There are also many people who remember Fen-Phen and the injuries and death it caused.

According to Dr. Linda Katz with the FDA food and nutrition division, part of the problem in enforcing supplements that may harm the population comes from looking at them from a “post-market perspective.” There is a reliance of voluntary reports, which makes cases difficult to monitor.

Evidence keeps mounting that shows the FDA cannot do a good job with protecting consumers from dangerous products.