JOPLIN, MO.--- A fat burning supplement is under investigation by the FDA. A supplement reachable to almost anyone is being linked to liver failure, hepatitis and possible death. The supplement is called OxyElite Pro, produced by USP Labs. Last week, Hawaii health officials asked to pull it from shelves after two people received liver transplants and one person died. All cases were linked to the supplement.
According to the Hawaii State Health Department, 29 cases of liver failure and acute Hepatitis were reported using OxyElite Pro before being diagnosed. The chemical that is causing these harmful effects to people is Dimeethalaimalameen or DMAA. Doctor James Boyle at Freeman Hospital says don't take any supplements carrying that ingredient.
"I think that it's not necessarily the brand being sold, but that compound hasn't been studied to humans for consumption," said Dr. James Boyle, Freeman Health System.
Though being taken off shelves in Hawaii, the rest of the country is still selling it in most nutritional stores, including GNC and Complete Nutrition. This is because OxyElite Pro is a dietary supplement. Therefore, it does not have to be approved by the FDA before going to the market.
"Big problem is some of the supplements, there are things in there that are not on the ingredient list or haven't been studied to the same degree that true medications have been," said Dr. Boyle.
In an official statement by GNC corporate officials, the product is safe for consumption and compliant with all applicable laws. FDA has not asked USP Labs to recall the OxyElite Pro products, and the company isn't aware the product is unsafe. Doctors say you should be cautious when buying supplements.
"I think you need to make sure you know what's in a supplement , you need to research the compounds thoroughly. You need to research the reputation and the practices of the company who makes the compounds and check with your physician to check there aren't any reactions with other medication you are on," said Dr. Boyle.
Anyone using OxyElite Pro and has developed symptoms such as abdominal pain or discomfort, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting, yellow skin or eyes should contact their doctor immediately.
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