Japan’s Health Ministry Urges Warning on Benikoji-Based Dietary Supplements after Kidney Complaints

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Japan’s Ministry of Health has ordered a recall of health supplements containing the ingredient “benikoji” after reports of kidney-related complaints from customers. Kobayashi Company, based in Osaka, has issued a recall for its products, which contain red yeast rice or benikoji and are marketed as cholesterol-lowering supplements.

The ministry has also instructed local authorities to collect information on any health damage linked to more than 40 other products from different companies that contain benikoji, including miso paste, crackers, and vinegar dressing. In addition to Kobayashi’s products, these supplements are believed to have caused two deaths and over 100 hospitalizations.

Health Minister Keizo Takemi has urged Kobayashi Pharmaceutical to provide prompt information about the potential link between the products and kidney issues. The company has issued an apology and advised users not to consume the products in the future.

There is concern that more victims could come forward in the coming days, especially those with pre-existing health issues. Medical studies suggest that red yeast rice can be effective in lowering cholesterol but also come with a risk of organ damage, depending on its composition.

This recall marks the first major one involving domestically produced supplements in Japan. While all the products were made in Japan, it is unknown if any of the raw materials used were imported. Authorities are urging the public to avoid products containing benikoji to prevent further health issues.

Kobayashi Company’s decision to recall its health supplements comes after reports of kidney-related complaints from customers who took them regularly. The Ministry of Health has instructed local authorities to collect information on any health damage linked to these supplements and other products containing benikoji.

In addition to Kobayashi’s products, over 40 other items from various companies have also been recalled due to their possible link with kidney issues. It is currently being investigated whether there was any connection between these supplements and organ damage.

Health Minister Keizo Takemi has urged Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., based in Osaka City, Japan, to provide prompt information about this issue and called on consumers not to use these supplements anymore.

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has issued an apology for their actions and advised users not to consume their supplements anymore while they investigate this matter further.

The Ministry of Health is currently investigating whether red yeast rice used as an ingredient in some dietary supplements may cause kidney problems or even death.

This recall marks a significant step towards ensuring public safety by removing potentially harmful dietary supplements from circulation.

Sophia Reynolds

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