Liver damage caused by herbals and dietary supplements rose from 7% to 20% over the past decade in one population, a new study in the journal Hepatology said.
But most liver damage was found to be caused by medications.
“While many Americans believe supplements to be safe, government … require less safety evidence to market products than what is required for conventional pharmaceuticals,” lead author Dr. Victor Navarro, from Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, said in a statement.
“With less stringent oversight for herbals and dietary supplements, there is greater potential for harmful consequences, including life-threatening conditions.”
Almost 50% of adult Americans use an herbal or dietary supplement, with women, non-Hispanic whites, people over 40 and people with more education being the most likely users. The most popular supplements, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, are multivitamins, minerals, calcium and fish oils.
The new study examined 839 patients in the federally supported Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network who had liver damage between 2004 and 2013. Forty-five cases were caused by bodybuilding supplements, 85 by nonbodybuilding supplements and 709 by medications.
The authors concluded that over time, the number of liver injuries from herbal and dietary supplements rose 20%. Injuries were more common in middle-age women.
Source: ny daily news