.Popular Ingredient In Dietary Supplements May Lead To Cancer and Kidney Damage

It has long been assumed that dietary supplements are developed with safe and healthy ingredients. However, they continue to face an increasing amount of scrutiny regarding both their safety and efficacy. Of particular concern, however, is the inclusion of an ingredient known as aristolochic acid (AA). As a common weight-loss supplement ingredient, AA has recently been linked to the development of both cancer and kidney damage.

Healthcare officials and regulators have each been skeptical about the use of AA in dietary supplements for over a decade. Subsequently, 2000 witnessed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue a warning to healthcare professionals acknowledging that AA may cause cancer and/or severe kidney damage.

An additional warning was sent to herbal supplement manufacturers the following year as to prevent them from using AA in their products. However, dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Subsequently, the following year, researchers at UC Berkley found 112 herbal products available for sale on the internet that either contained or were likely to contain the controversial ingredient.

According to Melissa Healy, a reporter with the L.A. Times, “The danger of aristolochic acid came to light when more than 100 women participating in a weight-loss program in Belgium developed kidney damage and urinary tract cancers. All had been prescribed an herbal weight-loss remedy that contained it. Though banned throughout Europe and in Japan, Aristolochia extracts continue to be used widely in China. Any product bearing the species name ‘Aristolochia,’ ‘Bragantia’ or ‘Asarum’ should be avoided.”

In an attempt to determine a link between AA and the development of cancer, researchers compared 151 patients with the urothelial cancers to a “control” group of 25 patients with a type of kidney cancercalled renal cell carcinoma. Following the trial, researchers discovered that AA may initiate a specific type of mutation on TP53, a tumor suppressor gene. Such an initiation may lead to the development of urothelial cancer. They concluded that the widespread use of AA-containing plants in Chinese herbal medicine is a significant factor in the growth of urothelial cancers in Taiwan over the past quarter century.

In addition, evidence suggests that the likelihood of developing urothelial cancer is directly correlated to the amount of AA that is ingested. The more AA patients consume over a lifetime, the more at risk they are for developing the rare form of cancer.

Do I Have a Dietary Supplement Lawsuit?

The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in dietary supplement lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has been injured by AA after taking a dietary supplement, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.