Kava-Kava Investigated

Kava-kava is the latest supplement to fall under federal scrutiny, which may mean that a warning could be in order for your members who take the supplement. On December 31, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it was looking into the possibility that kava-kava can damage the liver. “We are looking into it. We are in the information-gathering stage,” an FDA spokesperson said.

Kava-kava, made from the root kava found on certain Pacific islands, is marketed as a sleep aid and stress reliever. Reports have emerged from Europe linking the supplement to liver damage. “We did hear reports from Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, of possible links to liver complications,” the spokesperson said.

In England, the Medicines Control Agency negotiated with herbal food industry organizations and arranged for a voluntary withdrawal of kava-kava from stores.

The Agency referred to the reports from Germany and Switzerland, which found six people had liver failure after using the supplement, resulting in one death.