"Know Your Herbal Supplier": Unlabeled Ingredients in Herbal Supplements Seen Causing Liver Injury
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 02:44 PM

Herbal products and supplements are frequently mislabeled and may contain unlisted ingredients that are harmful to the liver, researchers said.

Of 272 herbal dietary supplements analyzed, 51% had inaccurate labels in which some or all of the listed ingredients were not detected in the product. “Herbal supplements are a common cause of liver injury,” one research stated.  “There are lots of products that are difficult to identify what they are and what they’re used for.” In 20% of cases, the injury was caused by dietary supplement. Many of the products are sold as body-building supplements or weight-loss supplements.

“A lot of the literature tells us supplements can be mislabeled or adulterated" -- the latter occurring when something is secretly included to support the purpose for which it is being marketed, such as for sexual enhancement, he added.

Members of the 14-year-old network, which comprises six clinical centers and a data coordinating center, documented drug-induced liver injuries in 1,775 patients from 2003 to 2015. Of those, 375 reported taking at least one dietary supplement, and 101 patients contributed 337 supplement samples for analysis.

Of those samples, 272 had labels and were suitable for chemical analysis. Within that group, 96 products, taken by a total of 71 patients, were determined to be causes of liver injury.

The investigators then analyzed the supplements using high-pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Some were found to contain hepatotoxins including anabolic steroids or pharmaceuticals. “We could look at the cases and determine that the actual injury came from the unlabeled ingredient.”  All of these injury cases have been reported to the FDA MedWatch database, he said. 

One positive outcome of the study is that it highlights the fact that these herbal products contain ingredients that are unknown to the patients taking them. But some awareness that there are things in the products that are not labeled is an important message to get out.”

Source: https://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AASLD/68760