As most of you probably know by now, the popular weight loss supplement Hydroxycut has been linked to liver problems and is being recalled with reports stating “…FDA’s food and nutrition division said the agency has received 23 reports of liver problems, including the death of a 19-year-old boy living in the Southwest. The teenager died in 2007, and the death was reported to the FDA this March.”
At this point, it’s impossible to know what, if any, actual cause and effect exists here, but it sounds like the right move on their part. The company producing it keeps changing the formula(s), but the last time I looked, there was nothing in that product that should be hepato toxic at such doses. Someone made some noise – you know, an “expert” -about the HCA being hepato toxic, but I have seen no data to support that in the many studies done in humans and animals and regardless, at the doses used in that product, it’s a non issue. It aint the HCA.
My hunch is this: If there is any cause and effect (and that is FAR from proven at this time…) I would suspect a contaminant of some sort due to Chinese sourced ingredients some supp companies use. My advice when consulting to supplement companies is to NEVER use any Chinese sourced ingredients no matter the cost savings. I am sad to report, most companies source at least some % of their ingredients from China, and I will use no company’s products if they source from China.
Secondly, Acetaminophen is very hepato toxic and causes liver failures every year and it does no get any press such as this, so with millions of doses used, some perspective is required here….
If interested, the warning letter from the FDA can be found here:

FDA Warns Consumers to Stop Using Hydroxycut Products

  1. Marc David 14 years ago

    I just got back from the DCAT in Palm Springs where once again the information was fabulous!
    You pointed out something I’ve known and not spoken about for a very long time and it was the topic of a presentation at this year’s DCAT.
    Sourcing from China: Evaluating and Qualifying Your Raw Material Suppliers
    The demand for dietary supplement ingredients continues to increase in the United States, as do the requirements regarding the safety of these products. With the majority of materials used by the dietary supplement industry now imported from China, manufacturers and suppliers are often challenged on guaranteeing high quality products while maintaining a continuous supply chain.
    It’s a touchy subject. And there’s often overlooked things like…
    As a buyer of a Chinese made ingredient, do YOU personally visit the plan or better yet, have a local person that can do drop-by inspections to ensure that what’s being said is being done is actually being done.
    At a high level it is a matter of quality control. At an even higher level, it’s safety.
    Most glucosamine products are outsourced and made in China. Some 87% or so of ALL glucosamine comes from China. They had over 335 companies doing that job! And some serious issues behind the scenes.
    I do believe there are a few companies that are keenly aware of this along with the FDA that had a local office in China as of last year. But the consumer?
    It’s nearly impossible to tell if that glucosamine or that creatine came from China. Other than a phone call and a truthful answer, those things are well hidden from consumers. It’s damn hard to find simple things like Creatine that isn’t sourced in China. Not impossible but hard.
    Personally, it’s a very interesting subject that I don’t feel consumers even come close to understanding. And not all companies practice Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) or even do regular visits to plants they source from!
    You buzzed over this but it’s quite an interesting topic!

  2. Marc David 14 years ago

    Some distributors test the products once they receive them while others just take the COA (certification of authenticity).
    There’s quite a lot to this topic and my comments are not doing it justice.

  3. Author
    Will Brink 14 years ago

    Marc, I would say the % of companies that actually do third party testing beyond the COA they are given is small, but improving. From my articles almost a decade old – which started with the creatine purity issue – and since then, I have always mentioned consumers need to research the sources from where companies get their stuff. BTW, regarding creatine specifically, that one is easy: if it does not say Creapure on the label, don’t use it…the rest takes some leg work, or using companies that are upfront about their sourcing, such as the Life Extension Foundation.
    Will be interesting to see what the truth is behind the Hydroxycut. If you see any updated into on that, post it here!

  4. jsd73 14 years ago

    Right inline with my beliefs concerning aspirin and the like. Great job Will. Unfortunately, there are those who are hell bent on demonizing any supplement out there, good, bad or indifferent.

  5. tim 14 years ago

    Perfect Blog! Thanks for the great info and motivation.

  6. David 14 years ago


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