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Study Shows Dietary and Herbal Supplements Often Cause Liver Damage

By Brown Moore

August 20, 2015

Home News & Resources Study Shows Dietary and Herbal Supplements Often Cause Liver Damage

Between the categories of “food” and “drugs” falls “dietary supplements.” Often sold as herbal or health supplements, these items manage to avoid Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scrutiny.

In September 2014, MinnPost reported the results of a study that found that supplement-related liver injuries rose by about 300 percent between 2004 and 2013, ranging from relatively minor to deadly. In fact, herbal supplements can lead to liver damage about 20 percent of the time. The supplements ran the gamut of purposes, including bodybuilding, energy-boosters, colon cleansers, and multivitamins.

Clearly, supplement users looking to improve their health need to do serious research to ensure the safety of the products they ingest. While a related illness or injury typically falls within products liability law, these cases can be challenging to pursue.

The Symptoms of Liver Damage

Jaundice, represented by yellowish skin and eyes, is probably the most well-known sign of damage to the liver, but Mayo Clinic cites many other symptoms that could also represent any number of other maladies. Individuals who take dietary supplements should remain alert for the following symptoms:

  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen, as well as swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin or the tendency to bruise easily
  • Changes in urine or stool colors
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite

Particularly when symptoms are persistent or exceptionally painful, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Bringing a list of normally-consumed supplements may help assist with the diagnosis.

Identifying the Causes of Liver Damage Can Prove Challenging

Most people who take dietary supplements tend to take more than one type. For any individual, more than one supplement — or a combination of certain supplements — can create conditions that damage the liver. Supplements can also interact with prescribed drugs or even certain foods.

The most important action to take is to seek medical attention and make sure the medical provider provides clear instructions on what to take and what to eliminate immediately.

After seeking medical advice, it may be possible to pursue a product claim against the manufacturer of the supplements that caused the damage.

However, it is important to understand that, with multiple possible causes of the damage, these claims can be challenging to pursue.

An experienced Charlotte injury lawyer can help determine the legal options available based on medical records and other evidence. Call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form to obtain an assessment of your situation and learn if you have a viable claim.