2024年4月25日木曜日

3 PEOPLE WHOSE DEATHS LINKED TO DIETARY SUPPLEMENT INTAKE HAD PRIOR HEALTH ISSUES IN JAPAN

3 PEOPLE WHOSE DEATHS LINKED TO DIETARY SUPPLEMENT INTAKE HAD PRIOR HEALTH ISSUES IN JAPAN

@Jackie San

Three of the five people reported by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co to have died after taking its red yeast rice dietary supplements had preexisting medical conditions such as prostate cancer and malignant lymphoma, Japan's health ministry said Tuesday.


Three women and two men -- three in their 70s, one in their 90s, and one whose age is unknown -- have so far been reported to have died after consuming the Osaka-based drugmaker's products containing "beni-koji" red yeast rice.


Health issues among three of the deceased also included hypertension, hyperlipidemia and rheumatism, while the medical history of the remaining two are unknown, the ministry said at a joint press conference with the Japanese Society of Nephrology.


The number of people who have been hospitalized at one point after taking the company's supplements stood at 216 as of Monday, with 1,251 having visited a medical institution. The number of inquiries to the firm has reached about 59,000.


A recent study by the society found that a quarter of 95 patients who suffered kidney disorders after taking the supplements were given steroids, while the rest were only told to discontinue consumption.


Of the three patients that required dialysis, two have stopped the treatment, with the one still continuing it deemed unlikely to be doing so for reasons related to the supplement intake.


The majority of patients who developed health issues after consuming the supplements went to the hospital last December or later, the study showed. Symptoms included fatigue, loss of appetite, urine abnormalities and abdominal discomfort. Frequent urination and edema were relatively rare.


Kobayashi Pharmaceutical rolled out "beni-koji choleste help" in February 2021, selling around 1 million packages by the end of February this year. The supplements were marketed as a way to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol.


While investigations into the cause continue, the company recently said it detected puberulic acid, a natural compound made from blue mold, in the ingredients used to manufacture the supplements and that the rogue substance may be the cause of the illnesses.


"People tend to recover after stopping intake (of the supplement). But there have been cases of kidney disease even without symptoms, so please get a check-up if you feel unwell," the society's President Masaomi Nangaku said.

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@Jackie San

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