The Food and Drug Administration urged consumers to immediately stop using the recalled products, which are made by Iovate Health Sciences Inc and marketed for weight loss, boosting energy and other uses.
"The FDA urges consumers to discontinue use of Hydroxycut products in order to avoid any undue risk. Adverse events are rare, but exist," said Dr. Linda Katz, interim chief medical officer in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The agency has received 23 reports of liver problems ranging from jaundice to damage that required a liver transplant, Katz said. One person died.
Other reports also documented seizures, cardiovascular disorders and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure, the FDA said.
A message on the voice mail for Iovate Health Sciences in Ontario, Canada said the products were being recalled. Company officials could not be reached for further comment.
The company agreed to voluntarily pull the 14 products even though the FDA has not seen reports of serious harm with all of them, Katz said. Agency officials are investigating which doses and ingredients may be harmful, she said.
Two products with different ingredients, Hydroxycut Cleanse and Hoodia, were not included in the recall.
The recalled products contain a variety of ingredients including herbal extracts. They are sold as dietary supplements, which do not require the evidence of safety and effectiveness needed for medicines before they can be sold.
These "fat burner" products and most others like these, typically contain metabolic stimulants like guarana, ephidrine and caffeine - often hidden behind herbal names.
These products do nothing to promote healthy weight loss. They can cause many more problems than they ever solve (As if they could!). These stimulants are addictive. When these are taken for more than a few days, the body responds to this excess of metabolic stimulation by progressively shutting down its own natural stimulant processes. This means that more and more of the artificial stimulant is required to maintain the stimulant effect. The real dramas begin if the person then stops taking the fat loss product: Metabolism plummets to all time lows. Cold hands, cold feet; depression, splitting head aches and catastrophic rebound weight gain! The damage to one's metabolism can last for years.
But that's not all....
If an emotionally stressed person were to go on a low calorie, low fat diet that is sustained by stimulants like caffeine, herbal ephidrine and nicotine the brain will go into overdrive while running on empty. Sleep may be next to impossible without the use of depressants like sleeping pills and alcohol in the evenings. You can see where I am going with this. People on this cocktail of stimulants and depressants while being calorie deprived can end up going crazy.
If you want to lose wieight permanently, the better approach is to exercise patience: Use natural health methods to improve metabolic health while eating a balanced diet and exercising moderately starting with walking to and from work no matter the weather.
Do you have a question?
Email Gary: gary at myotec.co.nz (Replace the "at" with @ and remove spaces). Please include any relevant background information to your question.