Health experts send warning about dietary supplements

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Jan 02 2014 04:40:00 PM HST

The Department of Health is studying popular dietary supplements to determine their risks and their connections to certain ailments.

"The first actual symptom I started getting nosebleeds.  I didn't know where it was coming from and then I thought I had food poisoning," said Thad Estrada.

In October, he was convinced a dietary supplement called OxyELITE Pro made him sick.

"There are thousands of other people who took this product.  So, how come we haven't heard about thousands of cases?" asked State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's report.

Park says the state investigated 52 cases with 43 confirmed ties to OxyELITE Pro.  One person died.  Two others required liver transplants.

It led to a nationwide ban of one of the hottest-selling weight loss products on the market.  But, Park has a bigger concern.

"We may never know exactly what it is about that supplement, whether it's an ingredient, an interaction or something that caused that," said Park.

The Department of Health has ended its investigation, but began what's called a case control study to try to find links between those who used the supplement -- their health, lifestyles and environment.

"When you try something like that you kind of rely on something besides yourself and you think it's going to get easier, but it's not," said visitor Martina Maras.

"Saw a few friends hitting the gym and going on those programs and didn't always pay off," said Honolulu resident Pierre Tafelski.

This month, the spotlight turned to those popular Green Tea supplements.  National testing company Consumer Labs found some products contained unusually low levels of the additive or unusually high levels of caffeine.

"You hear herbal, natural and everyone assumes it's natural and how can natural be bad for you?" said Park.

Park advises people to make a list and tell their doctors about everything they're taking just in case something happens to you.

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