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Kidney toxicity related to herbs and dietary supplements: Online table of case reports. Part 3 of 5 series

Brown, Amy Christine
Food and chemical toxicology 2017 v.107 pp. 502-519
Aristolochia, Artemisia herba-alba, Averrhoa carambola, Chlorella, Cupressus funebris, Ephedra sinica, Hypericum perforatum, Taxus, Tetraodontidae, Tribulus terrestris, Tripterygium wilfordii, beans, bile, business enterprises, carp, case studies, chocolate, chromium, creatine, dietary supplements, drugs, foods, gall bladder, germanium, glucosamine, herbs, hydrazine, ingredients, kidney transplant, kidneys, manufacturing, minerals, mushrooms, necrosis, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, nephrotoxicity, patients, poisonous plants, renal calculi, renal failure, sheep, snakes, toxicology, vines, vitamin A, yams, United States
No tabular summary of potentially life-threatening, kidney-toxic dietary supplements (DS; includes herbs) based on PubMed case reports is currently available online and continually updated to forewarn United States consumers, clinicians, and companies manufacturing DS. The purpose of this review was to create an online research summary table of kidney toxicity case reports related to DS.Documented PubMed case reports (1966 to May 2016, and cross-referencing) of DS appearing to contribute to kidney toxicity were listed in “DS Toxic Tables.” Keywords included “herb” or “dietary supplement” combined with “kidney” to generate an overview list, and possibly “toxicity” to narrow the selection. Case reports were excluded if they involved herb combinations (some exceptions), Chinese herb mixtures, teas of mixed herb contents, mushrooms, poisonous plants, self-harm, excessive doses (except vitamins/minerals), legal or illegal drugs, drug-herbal interactions, and confounders of drugs or diseases. Since commercial DS often include a combination of ingredients, they were treated separately; so were foods. A few foods with kidney-toxic effects were listed in a fourth table. The spectrum of herbal or DS-induced kidney injuries included kidney stones, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, necrosis, acute kidney injury (AKI; previously known as acute renal failure [ARF]), chronic kidney disease, kidney transplant, and death.Approximately 7 herbs (minus 4 no longer for sale) and 10 dietary supplements (minus 3 excluded due to excessive doses + germanium that is no longer sold) have been related to kidney injury case reports published in PubMed (+crosslisting) in the last 50 + years (1966 to May 2016). The implicated herbs include Chinese yew (Taxus celbica) extract, impila (Callilepis laureola), morning cypress (Cupressus funebris Endl), St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), thundergod vine (Tripterygium wilfordii hook F), tribulus (Tribulus terrestris) and wormwood (Artemisia herba-alba). No longer sold in the United States are chocolate vine or mu tong (Caulis aristolochiae), guang fang ji (Aristolochia fangchi), ma huang (Ephedra sinica), and Tenshin Tokishigyaku-ka-goshuyu-shokyo-to. The DS include bile (sheep), chlorella, chromium (Cr), CKLS, creatine, gallbladder (fish), glucosamine, hydrazine, N.O.-Xplode, Spanish fly, and excess intakes of vitamins A, C, and D. Germanium (Ge) is not available for sale. The top two DS with the largest number of reported publications, but not always case reports, in descending order, were the aristolochic acid-containing herbs guang fang ji (mistaken identity) and chocolate vine or mu tong. The remaining DS featured one to three publications over a 50+ year period. Numerous case reports were reported for kidney-toxic foods: djenkol bean, gallbladders (carp fish, pufferfish, & snake), and star fruit (only in chronic kidney disease patients), and uncooked yam powder or juice.This online “DS Toxic Table” provides clinicians, consumers, and manufacturers with a list of herbs that could potentially contribute to kidney injuries.