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Diet supplement appears to be tied to liver failure in Hawaii

American take many pills, vitamins and other diet supplements in a quest for better health, or just to feel better. It is always troubling when one of these dietary supplements is found to be ineffective, but it is very disturbing when one is found to be dangerous. This week, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) asked store in Hawaii to participate in a “voluntary removal” of OxyELITE Pro from store shelves.

This was after the Hawaii DOH linked the supplement to 24 cases of liver failure and one fatality in Hawaii. The DOH has reported 29 cases of liver failure and acute hepatitis linked to dietary supplements. OxyELITE appears to be defective product that is causing the majority of these cases of liver failure, as the state epidemiologist stated that it was the only common supplement or medication that has been identified.

The supplement has been sold across the U.S., but all of the cases appear, so far, to have occurred in Hawaii. A woman who had begun to use the supplement for weight loss became seriously ill and died last week in Hawaii.

The dietary supplement had contained dimethylamylamine (DMAA), a chemical that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against using, but the company claimed it has not been used in their product since the early part of this year.

The company has stopped distribution of the supplement in all states, but released a statement indicating the connection between the supplement and the illnesses was "a complete mystery."

Diet supplements, unlike drugs, are not subject to testing and evaluation by the FDA. Whatever the mechanism causing the liver failures, any one with these products should stop using immediately. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "OxyELITE Pro Pulled From Shelves Nationwide After 29 Liver Failure Cases In Hawaii," October 8, 2013

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