76 Additional Deaths Possibly Linked to Murky Supplements

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co.’s supplement product Benikoji CholesteHelp

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Seventy-six new deaths are suspected of having links with the use of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co.’s supplements containing benikoji red rice mold, health ministry officials said Friday.

Previously, the company had reported that five people were suspected of having died after taking a Kobayashi Pharmaceutical benikoji supplement product.

The National Institute of Health Sciences has detected a natural compound called puberulic acid and two other compounds from a benikoji ingredient manufactured between June and August last year. The three compounds are believed to have been created by blue mold that infiltrated the process of cultivating benikoji.

Experiments on rats have shown that puberulic acid causes renal disorder. The ministry is investigating how the other compounds can affect the kidney.