Supplements to lose weight: what is happening to the Australian population who have abused them

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Elia Tabuenca García
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According to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia, some people have suffered so severe damage that they need transplants

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They promise to promote muscle growth or lose weight, but in some cases, food supplements can be harmful to health. According to a new study conducted in Australia, according to which the number of hospitalized patients with severe liver injuries caused by herbal and dietary supplements is on the rise. According to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia, some people have suffered so severe damage that they need transplants.





The study led by Dr Emily Nash of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital examined the medical records of 184 adults admitted to the AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Center with drug-induced liver injury between 2009 and 2020. The researchers found cases of liver injury related to herbal and dietary supplements on the increase compared to the past: they went from two out of 11 patients (15%) in the period 2009-2011, to 10 out of 19 patients (47%) 2018-2020.

Going into more detail, 19 cases involved the use of antibiotics, 15 that of herbal and dietary supplements and the rest were related to anti-tuberculosis or anti-cancer drugs. But not only. The scientists also found that in the case of liver problems on the part of those who had used supplements, survival without transplantation was also reduced.

I was starting to see injuries in hospitalized patients with liver damage after using bodybuilding supplements for males or weight loss supplements for females - said co-author of the paper, hepatologist Ken Liu. - I decided it was better to do a study to confirm.

According to the study authors, even in light of the new findings, stricter regulatory control is needed for supplements. It should also be noted that the study focused only on the most serious cases of supplement-induced liver damage but for this reason the actual rate of liver problems could be even higher.

Strict regulatory oversight of plant and dietary supplements and better culturally appropriate community education about their risks is needed in Australia, the authors plead.

Source of reference: Medical Journal of Australia, The Guardian


Read our articles on dietary supplements here

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