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Harmful Dietary Supplements Contribute To Alarming Rise In Drug-Related Liver Injuries In U.S.

December 21, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Drug-related liver injuries are on the rise, thanks to increased use of dietary supplements, a $32 billion industry in the U.S. largely unregulated and built on often-unproven claims that products will help people lose weight, build muscle or ward off a host of chronic illnesses. According to new U.S. research, dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries serious enough to require hospital care. That’s a seven percent increase, and may actually undercount the total number of cases. Studies show that the market has been deluged with adulterated and mislabeled products, and products packaged in potentially unsafe dosages.
The supplement industry says most products are safe, but acknowledges that harmful, contaminated products – often bodybuilding supplements tainted with steroids – are sold by a “criminal” fringe of suppliers.
Anahad O’Connor, "Spike in Harm to Liver Is Tied to Dietary Aids", The New York Times, December 21, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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