There was late word from the health department Wednesday night that it will issue an order on Thursday preventing retails outlets from selling OxyELITE Pro, a dietary supplement suspected in dozens of cases of acute hepatitis and liver failure around the state.
In gyms, the product is known as the "purple pill."
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Fitness trainers say everyone's always looking for that magic pill. The one that will help them lose fat and gain muscle fast. They say OxyELITE Pro, the dietary supplement that comes in powdered form but also as purple pills, has been known in the gym for a while as that supplement that can take your workout to the next level.
"At the time probably a year ago, it was the most popular thermogenetic at the time. I was referred to by another trainer so I gave it a shot. It worked pretty well, I didn't feel any weird side effects," said physical trainer Jordan Workes.
But some fitness trainers say there were side effects. Cesar Soto, who's used supplements for several decades, says OxyELITE Pro is the first dietary supplement he thought was too strong.
"I was feeling too hyper as far as energy, so I kind of knew from experience this supplement has a lot of energy, it's very strong and not too safe. I wouldn't suggest it to anyone," said Soto.
From May through October of this year, there were 29 confirmed cases of acute hepatitis and liver failure in Hawaii. Two patients received liver transplants and one died. Almost all of them reported using the dietary supplement before they got sick.
"A lot of people don't get well-informed and some of those supplements have ingredients that people don't even know about," said Soto.
Now, the department of health is alerting local retailers to stop selling the product. GNC stores initially refused to remove the product but released a statement saying, "GNC will voluntarily remove the OxyELITE Pro product from sale in its Hawaii stores during this investigation."
State health officials are advising people to stop using the product at this time. Both trainers say, for now, they'll be staying away from OxyELITE Pro.
The state health director has the authority to embargo a product if she feels there is a risk involved. A department spokeswoman says inspectors will be sent out on Thursday and if they find the products on stores shelves, they will order the stores to remove them.