80% of dietary supplement victims saw doctor in Jan. or later: study -April 01, 2024 at 06:08 am EDT

Around 80 percent of patients who developed health issues after consuming Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. red yeast rice dietary supplements went to the hospital in January or later, a study by the Japanese Society of Nephrology showed Monday.

The online survey analyzed 47 cases reported by the society’s member doctors between Wednesday and Sunday, following recent revelations of five deaths and over 100 hospitalizations among those who consumed the Osaka-based drugmaker’s supplements containing “beni-koji” red yeast rice.

Among the patients, 90 percent were aged between 40 and 69, with 66 percent being women. There were no reports of death in the 47 cases, the society said.

The earliest visit to a hospital due to a health issue linked to the supplements was in November.

In 46 cases, the patients had taken “beni-koji choleste help,” with the remaining patient having consumed “naishi help plus cholesterol.” Both products are subject to a voluntary recall by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical.

It could be the first known case that “naishi help plus cholesterol” led to health issues, with the drugmaker so far reporting to the government that health complaints have been heard largely from people who consumed the “beni-koji choleste help” supplements made since September last year.

The company rolled out “beni-koji choleste help” in February 2021, selling around 1 million packages by the end of February this year.

Many of those affected developed kidney disease after consuming the supplements.

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As for the “naishi help plus cholesterol,” around 40 packages were sold in areas including the Hokuriku region, which faces the Sea of Japan, according to the Osaka city government.


The society’s survey showed that at least half of the patients presented with malaise, poor appetite, abnormality with urine, and kidney disorder during their first visits to hospitals.

As for treatment, a quarter of the patients received steroids, while the remainder was only told to stop taking the supplements. Two patients required dialysis, but one has recovered, it said.

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

The “beni-koji” supplements have been marketed as a way to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol.


© Kyodo News International, Inc., source Newswire

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