The rate of liver injuries — including deadly ones — caused by herbal and dietary supplements rose threefold during a recent 10-year period, according to a new study published in the journalHepatology.
Many of the most severe of these supplement-related liver injuries occurred among middle-aged women.
The number of liver injuries associated with supplements is still much, much lower than those attributed to conventional medications, but, proportionally, supplements are significantly more likely to lead to serious injuries that result in a liver transplant or death than conventional meds, this study found.
About half of American adults take some kind of herbal or dietary supplement — and recent surveys have suggested that their use is increasing. Multivitamins and minerals are the most commonly used supplements, followed by calcium and fish oils. Studies have found that supplement users are more likely to be women, white and over the age of 40 than nonusers. They also tend to have higher levels of education.