Saturday, April 03, 2010

Supplements and Liver Damage?

Actually, it was not the FDA, but the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) that in June 2007 proposed requiring a cautionary statement (not a warning label) on black cohosh (an herb that may relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause) and on all dietary supplements containing green tea extracts. The USP is the official public standards-setting authority for all drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) dietary supplements, and other healthcare products manufactured and sold in the United States. USP standards are recognized and used in more than 130 countries.

My colleague Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., director of education at the Program on Integrative Medicine, who sits on the USP committee that proposed the cautionary statements, tells me that the action was taken after a thorough review of all the reports to the FDA of adverse events for both black cohosh and green tea extracts, including liver damage. If there is a relationship between green tea extracts and liver damage, Dr. Low Dog said that the incidence appears to be exceedingly low. Still, the committee decided that consumers should be aware of the growing number of reports suggesting that concentrated green tea extracts (predominantly those prepared with alcohol), with and without other ingredients, may cause elevation of liver enzymes and liver damage. Read more...

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