Millions of dieters would love the concept of a magical weight loss pill that will melt away the pounds without calorie counting or gym attendance. But health officials are warning that liver damage cases linked to dietary supplements have climbed to 30, reported the Huffington Post on October 3.
Reported in Hawaii, cases are of varying degrees of severity. However, seven people who took dietary supplements have experienced complete liver failure. One woman has only a week to live. And making it even more dangerous in terms of diagnosis of current cases and prevention: Health officials are not sure what weight loss pills are causing these life-threatening conditions.
"We don’t know which product it is and which ingredient it is in the product or products," said State Epidemiologist Sarah Park. What is known at this point: Although the patients have taken different supplements, all of which are sold throughout the United States, thus far the known liver damage cases have been limited to Hawaii.
In the case of the woman who will die from liver failure, 48-year-old Sonette Marras used OxyELITE Pro. The FDA banned this weight loss supplement in April because it contained dimethylamylamine (DMAA), which was linked to 86 cases of serious illness or death.
Why the occurrences in Hawaii? Experts speculate that a "bad batch" was sent there for sale. Alternatively, heat exposure could have changed the effect of the pills.
And the government shutdown isn't making the supplement sleuthing any easier for health officials. Although the Hawaii State Department of Health is heading up the investigation, the two organizations involved - Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - are now under furlough due to the government shutdown.