Ten young, seemingly-healthy people have been admitted into Hawaii hospitals in the last five months for varying degrees of liver inflammation and failure, and they only have one thing in common: They all took a certain dietary supplement for weight loss and/or muscle growth.
Yesterday, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) announced an investigation into what could be causing the hospitalizations, some of which are “extremely severe” and even require liver transplants, according to State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.
“The only common finding among all cases ... is the use of a dietary or nutritional supplement for the purpose of weight loss and/or muscle gain in the past six months,” the DOH stated in a press release yesterday.
Representatives from the Department of Health are not releasing information as to what supplement the patients were taking or what ingredient could be at fault. According to KHON, the DOH cautions that a number of factors could be at fault: a bad batch of the supplement, a particular toxic ingredient, or the supplement as a whole.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are participating in the investigation.
In 2009, the FDA recalled 14 products made by the diet supplement manufacturer Hydroxycut after the product was linked to at least 23 cases of severe liver damage and the death of a teenage boy.