Chewable Hair Vitamins®, marketed by HairBurst, is a food supplement in chewing-gum form used to maintain healthy hair.
In 2019, as part of its nutrivigilance scheme, ANSES received two reports of life-threatening acute hepatitis likely to be associated with consumption of this food supplement. Both women involved, aged 29 and 36, had to be admitted to hospital and one required an emergency liver transplant. They were both using oral contraceptives.
According to ANSES, the food supplement was very likely responsible for the occurrence of these two cases of severe acute hepatitis. Several hypotheses are possible: a complex effect of the combination of the product's many ingredients, an interaction with other substances (particularly those contained in the oral contraceptives), or possible contamination or adulteration, i.e. the fraudulent addition of another substance.
ANSES's recommendations on consumption of food supplements:
- notify a healthcare professional of any adverse effect occurring after consumption of a food supplement;
- comply with the conditions of use specified by the manufacturer;
- avoid taking food supplements on a multiple, prolonged or repeated basis throughout the year without having sought the advice of a healthcare professional (doctor, dietician, etc.);
- exercise great vigilance with regard to improper claims;
- exercise great vigilance regarding the purchase of products sold through alternative channels (the Internet, fitness centres, etc.) and without personalised advice from a healthcare professional.