Duffy MacKay, ND, of the Council for Responsible Nutrition lauds the Drug Induced Liver Injury Network as “one of the more robust programs” for getting at the root cause of liver injury.
“Of course this is going to be construed as another reason to criticize our industry, but we are only talking about 109 cases here. Compare that to the thousands of cases of liver damage seen annually with Tylenol,” he says.
He also notes that, of the 109 cases, 60 percent stemmed from one product (not named in the abstract).
In 16 percent of cases, the person was using both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. And then there is the issue of undiagnosed underlying liver problems.
“It is hard to ever really prove when someone comes in with liver failure whether they just happened to be on a dietary supplement or it is the causative agent.”
He says the industry is well aware of the problem of adulteration of supplements for weight loss and bodybuilding and is working hard to address it. In the meantime, retailers can protect their customers by ensuring that every supplement they carry comes from a reputable source and clearly states the name, address and phone number of the manufacturer in case the consumer needs to report an adverse event.