Last September, a toddler in New Jersey received a bottle of weight loss supplements. The product, purchased by the toddler’s mother, was labeled as the dried root of tejocote, also known as Mexican hawthorn, a large shrub-like plant found in Mexico and Latin America that produces crabapple-like fruits. Although there is little data on the effects of the dried root, including data supporting its use for weight loss, tejocort is generally considered safe to consume.
However, the infant soon experienced nausea and vomiting. At the emergency room, doctors noted a slow heart rate, low blood pressure, arrhythmia, and obvious abnormalities on an electrocardiogram.
In fact, the weight loss supplement was not the harmless Tejocote root, but completely yellow oleander fragments. This is a poisonous plant that contains cardiac glycosides, including toxic cardenolides, which can cause arrhythmias and cardiac arrest, among other things.
The emergency department doctors didn’t know this. But, unsure of what was going on, they contacted the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES), who helped them figure out the problem. NJPIES recommended a blood test for digoxin, a cardenolide. Test results were positive for cardenolide toxicity, and the infant was given digoxin-specific antibody fragments, an antidote to digoxin overdose.
Fortunately, the toddler recovered, but NJPIES wasn’t over yet. In a case report released Thursday, New Jersey doctors and toxicology experts reported purchasing and testing 10 Tejocort products sold online as weight loss supplements. The product was tested by Flora Institute, which specializes in analyzing the chemical components of supplements. In this case, the company used ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography and accurate time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and consulted ethnobotanists.
Nine out of 10 products tested were yellow oleander and had no trace of Tejocort, according to case reports published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The product ingested by infants is sold as Eva Nutrition Mexican Tejocote Root and can be easily found online, such as on Amazon. According to the report, other yellow oleander-containing products include Alipotec Tejocote Root Pieces, Elf Alipotec Mexico Tejocote Root Pieces, Niwari Tejocote Mexico Root Pieces, Science Alpha Mexico Tejocote Root Pieces, and Tejocotex Tejocote Root Pieces. Contains products sold as pieces.
Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced that other types of plant-based weight loss products ( Allureite Molcana The seeds, also known as candle nuts, were also yellow oleanders.
The agency noted that a person in Maryland was hospitalized after ingesting Nues de la India seeds from the Nut Diet Max brand, which turned out to be yellow oleander. . The agency said the mislabeled products could be sold as “plant-based food,” “Indian nuts for weight loss,” “slimming seeds,” “Indian seeds for weight loss,” or “diet seeds.” Two companies, Nut Diet Max and Todorganic Natural Products, have announced voluntary recalls.
“Ingestion of yellow oleander can cause adverse health effects on the nervous, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems that can be serious or even fatal,” the FDA warned. “Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heart changes, and irregular heartbeats.”
“This is concerning to public health officials because these supplements contain highly toxic substances and are readily available from multiple retailers,” the New Jersey experts wrote. There is. They urged clinicians who see patients with symptoms similar to cardiac glycoside toxicity to ask about weight loss supplements.