Weight-Loss Supplements Linked to Liver Damage in New Study


Weight-loss supplements are notorious for being ineffective (seriously, how many people do you know who successfully lost weight due to a weight-loss supplement?), but a new, smaller study indicates that the damage done by the often-expensive and useless dieting and bodybuilding aids is not always limited to your bank accounts.

It’s probably a mark of how badly we want weight-loss supplements to work that despite decades of proof that they have not assisted one person lose one pound, people continue to pour large amounts of money into the pills, shakes and other supplements in order to get a hop on shedding weight. (In fact, just today, I saw two people on Facebook shilling weight-loss supplements- ones that cost in the hundreds of dollars- to actual friends with the “let’s talk” opener.)

Weight-loss supplements are the diet distraction that just won’t go away. But the small study- which is not yet peer-reviewed- presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in San Diego- looked at 109 cases of patients who appeared to suffer liver damage due to use of weight-loss supplements.

However, researchers noted that so little regulation of weight-loss supplements exists, making it difficult to gauge the true effects of the pricey diet helpers. In effect, numbers of those injured by the use of weight-loss supplements could be far higher.

Study leader Dr. Victor Navarro is a professor of medicine, pharmacology and experimental therapies at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Navarro comments:

“There is so little regulation of the many products on the market… We couldn’t possibly begin to figure out which products to target first without doing this research.”

The study did not definitively find that weight-loss supplements cause liver damage, but noted that the area requires more study.