The United States Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has warned dieters and bodybuilders to “immediately” stop taking the weight loss diet pill Hydroxycut, citing 23 reports linking the supplement to liver damage and the death of a teenager…
Hydroxycut is a heavily advertised herbal weight loss diet pill with reported sales of 1 million bottles per year. Stories of the diet pill recall have begun hitting all the major newswires, including Reuters, CBS News, The New York Times, CNN and The Associated Press
Official FDA Press Release
The story is also one of the top trending topics on Twitter, the micro-blogging website where news often breaks and spreads quickly.
Generally, a single case study or adverse effect report is not a cause for alarm. Often case studies of adverse effects from use of herbs or supplements are merely rare anomolies in susceptible individuals where use of the ingredients were contraindicated, other products/ingredients/drugs were stacked, and or the products were taken at abuse dosages. When millions of people take a product, someone is bound to have a reaction of some kind.
In fact, you even occasionally see a negative adverse effect report for supplements such as creatine, which now has an experimental research-proven track record of safety.
Experimental research is needed to determine both efficacy and safety. However, “herbal” or “natural” does not necessarily mean safe and the supplement industry is highly unregulated. Adverse effects from the use of so-called “safe” and “natural” herbal supplements have appeared in the research data bases for years the recent Hydroxycut recall is only one example.
So far, health officials don’t know which ingredient in Hydroxycut was causing the problems because it contains numerous ingredients and the formula has changed more than once. Researcher Ano Lobb says the problem may be hydroxycitric acid.
Hepatoxicity associated with weight-loss supplements: a case for better post-marketing surveillance (April 2009)
Severe hepatoxicity due to Hydroxycut: a case report
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18661239 (Feb 2009)
Hydroxycut hepatotoxicity: a case series and review of liver toxicity from herbal weight loss supplements (Dec 2008)
Acute liver injury associated with the herbal supplement hydroxycut in a soldier deployed to Iraq
Two patients with acute liver injury associated with the use of the herbal weight loss supplement Hydroxycut (2005)
Over the counter herbal supplements are not necessarily free of side effects or risks. Like drugs, supplements should be viewed in terms of their risks versus benefits. After weighing the evidence, even if the risk is low, are the benefits high enough to justify the use of these products? What I’m asking is, do they even work? And if so, do they work well enough to justify the expense or do the benefits amount to minutia?
When you look at how ineffective over the counter herbal fat burners really are (based on research data), I always ask myself, why bother? Why waste the money? And with the way most of the advertising overstates the claims or distorts the research, why give your money to those companies?
I am a lifetime natural bodybuilder. I have never use banned or illegal drugs to enhance my physique or performance. I did use ephedra/caffeine products in the mid to late 1990’s – which was legal and available over the counter. However, I found them only marginally helpful. They were highly overrated as fat burners and underrated as stimulants, in my opinion.
Since then I have been able to achieve low single digit body fat, and contest-ready condition without the use of any fat burners of any kind. They don’t make much difference.
Those great bodies you see in the advertisements don’t come from a fat burner supplement.
But don’t take my word for it. Hear it right from the horse’s mouth: