2013 - 2014, News
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Liver Failure Among Our Friends

Need to Know Information About Bodybuilding and Dieting Supplements

By Korina Leong, Contributing Writer

Due to weight loss or muscle building supplements, there have been over 30 cases of severe liver failure in Hawai’i since May 2013.  According to KHON (Hawai’i’s News Channel), there are seven people in Hawai’i who are currently dealing with liver failure.
I spoke to Francis Blas, a student employee at the Student Life Center on campus who works at Vitamin World at Prince Kuhio Plaza.  Blas works out six days a week, goes to school full-time and has two full-time jobs.  When asked how he even makes time to work-out he replied that some days he only works out for 45 minutes.  “You need to know your limits, it is not safe to over-exert yourself; an injury can set you back months of hard work so be careful.”  In Blas’s opinion, supplements are only responsible for 10% of the results you see when exercising and/or bodybuilding.  The rest of the results are from dieting correctly and exercising.  His advice to everyone is that a basic understanding of supplements is necessary for safe use: “Do your research.”  Google is a great start for doing research and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has their own website as well.  The workers at Vitamin World are also more than happy to answer any questions about supplements sold in the store.
Preferring to remain anonymous, someone who recently experienced liver-failure shared his experience taking various “pre-workout” supplements, exercising daily and dieting.  He went to the ER after feeling sick and remained there for six hours to clean out his liver with a blood transfusion.  His advice to everyone: “eat right, drink a lot of water and do not take supplements.”  He continues to diet (high protein and low carbohydrate diet) and exercises daily, but has stopped taking supplements.
Supplements sold in stores are FDA approved and if there are any reported side effects they are immediately pulled off the shelf.  The FDA and CDC (Center for Disease Control) are having a difficult time finding out which products are currently causing the recent outbreak of liver failure.  The government’s partial shut-down and the fact that only active ingredients are listed on labels is making their case even harder.  They are not sure if the supplements causing liver failure is due to a specific brand, a certain ingredient or a bad batch.  Head over to http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugRecalls/ for the recent lists of supplement recalls.
The DOH (Department of Health) has found that out of the 30 cases of liver failure, 24 cases were found to be using OxyElite Pro, a weight loss supplement.  The company’s corporate office in Texas claims that there is no credible evidence that links their supplement to liver issues.  If you are currently using supplements and feel sick, let your physician know immediately.  There are a lot of serious side effects when using supplements and they need to be addressed.

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