Japan Recalls ‘Beni-koji Choleste Help’ Supplement Amid Health Concerns

Image depicting the headline 'Health Concerns Surrounding ‘Beni-koji’ Dietary Supplement in Japan
Japan Recalls ‘Beni-koji Choleste Help’ Supplement Amid Health Concerns [Source: NHK]

Japan recently issued a nationwide recall of the dietary supplement 'Beni-Koji Choleste Help' due to concerns over its safety. The recall follows reports of two deaths and numerous hospitalizations potentially linked to the supplement.

Background on 'Beni-Koji' Supplement:

The supplement contains red yeast rice, also known as 'Beni-Koji,' which is made by fermenting rice with monascus purpureus. Red yeast rice is commonly used to lower bad cholesterol levels and is found in various food products.

Concerns over Toxin Citrinin:

The fermentation process of 'Beni-Koji' can produce citrinin, a toxin associated with kidney diseases. Although Kobayashi Pharmaceutical claims to have not found citrinin in the recalled products, concerns persist regarding its potential presence.

Reported Deaths and Hospitalizations:

Two deaths have been reported, with one individual reportedly consuming the supplement for three years before succumbing to kidney disease. Additionally, over 100 hospitalizations have been linked to symptoms such as changes in urine color and fatigue.

Company Response:

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has acknowledged the situation, apologizing for any unintended inclusion of ingredients and emphasizing their commitment to customer health. However, they assert a lack of clarity regarding the link between their products and reported health issues.

Government Action:

The Japanese government has announced urgent inspections of thousands of similar products, aiming to hold producers accountable for product safety. While reports of health damage from supplements containing red yeast rice are numerous, definitive links have yet to be established.

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