Some 58% of Americans report taking dietary supplements, often motivated by a wish to “improve” or “maintain” health. But the death of Lori McClintock, wife of U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock of California, is a tragic reminder that dietary supplements aren’t always good for you.
A report recently obtained by Kaiser Health News revealed that McClintock died from dehydration ultimately caused by ingesting white mulberry leaf, generally advertised as promoting weight loss and available in forms like pills and tea. Deaths from white mulberry leaf appear to be rare, and we don’t know the form McClintock consumed the leaves in or if they’d been sold to her as a supplement. But they commonly are, and if that was the case here, it would be far from the first death caused by dietary supplements.