Prevention Supplements

Deadly Supplement Alert! Doctors Warn of Cholesterol Dangers

The allure of dietary supplements for purported health benefits is undeniable, yet their usage comes with inherent risks that cannot be ignored. From quality control lapses to potential interactions with other medications, maintaining vigilance regarding potential health hazards is paramount. Recent warnings from medical professionals highlight the dangers associated with a cholesterol-reducing supplement, shedding light on a serious health threat that could prove fatal.

Japan-based Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. initiated a comprehensive recall of its products on March 22 after discovering adverse effects among consumers who had ingested dietary supplements containing benjikoji, as reported by the Associated Press. By March 29, alarming statistics emerged, with 114 individuals hospitalized and five fatalities linked to the consumption of products containing this ingredient, with many sufferers reporting kidney-related ailments.

Benjikoji, derived from a red mold fermented from rice, is marketed for its purported cholesterol-lowering properties, according to CBS News. The revelation of a toxic chemical compound called puberulic acid in the recalled supplements points to potential lapses in quality control during the manufacturing process, posing serious health risks to consumers.

Although Kobayashi products have been exported internationally, no recalls have been initiated for benjikoji supplements in the U.S. However, experts caution that the issue is unlikely confined to Japan alone. David Light, president of Valisure, a drug safety and impurity watchdog company, expressed concerns about the global reach of the problem, suggesting that similar issues may exist beyond Japanese borders.

The regulation of dietary supplements by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) differs from that of pharmaceuticals, with companies bearing the responsibility for assessing the safety and labeling of their products prior to market release, as stated on the agency’s website. This regulatory framework underscores the need for heightened awareness among consumers and manufacturers alike to prevent adverse health outcomes.

Concerns about the efficacy and safety of benjikoji-based supplements are further compounded by findings indicating potential impurities and inadequate potency.’s 2022 test revealed that nearly one-third of benjikoji products sampled contained citrinin, a byproduct associated with kidney toxicity. Moreover, a study by underscored the variability in lovastatin content among tested supplements, highlighting concerns about their effectiveness in cholesterol management.

In light of these risks, Dr. Tod Cooperman, president and founder of, emphasizes the importance of consulting healthcare professionals and opting for FDA-approved medications when addressing cholesterol concerns. Given the availability of generic statins, which are both cost-effective and safer, individuals are advised to prioritize their health by seeking medical guidance rather than relying on potentially hazardous dietary supplements.

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