Central Texas health experts weigh in on OxyElite Pro removal request

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist Scott Guest

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 5:20 PM

AUSTIN -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is requesting a product made in North Texas be removed from stores. As KVUE previously reported, OxyElite Pro has been linked to 24 cases of acute hepatitis and one death. A 48-year-old mother died after taking the fat burning supplement for several weeks.

When it comes to weight loss, personal trainer Mike Dunlap says there's only two sure fire methods that work.

"Nutrition and get your butt in the gym," he said.

Dunlap has done that for years. Therefore he saw nothing wrong with using the fat burning, supplement OxyElite Pro to help better prepare him for Brazilian Jujitsu matches.

"Many times I've needed to cut that weight before competitions," said Dunlap.

He doesn't recommend OxyElite Pro to people just starting to workout.

"If I had a client ask me about this product I would say, 'No, you're crazy,'" said Dunlap.

The CDC agrees. It's requesting OxyElite Pro be removed from the market. It's been linked to nearly 25 cases of acute hepatitis -- an inflammation of the liver.

"It is certainly buyer beware," said Ross Tobleman, M.D., the director of emergency medicine at Scott & White in Round Rock. "Any time you take a pill or a supplement, you need to know what you're putting into your body."  

Tobleman says most fat burning supplements work by thermogenesis. In short they try to increase the body's metabolism. The problem he says is because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate most over the counter products, consumers don't really know what they're getting.

"When you don't know exactly what you're putting into your body, when that medication or that herbal supplement can be potentially dangerous, especially in higher amounts, that's when people start getting into trouble," said Tobleman.

Dunlap is equally concerned.

"I think there's a certain due diligence that these manufacturers need to do," said Dunlap. "They're using terms like 'natural' and 'pro,' and it's marketing. It's out there for everybody instead of saying, 'This is a serious substance.'"

This isn't the first time the manufacturer of OxyElite Pro has been forced to removed products.  Dunlap says this latest incident may very well lead to FDA regulation, or at the very least better labeling.

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