News Health: Lori McClintock, the wife of Northern California congressman Tom McClintock, died late last year after taking white mulberry leaf, an herb used to treat diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol, a recently released report shows.
The Republican congressman first found his 61-year-old wife unresponsive in their California home on Dec. 15, 2021, after voting in Congress the night before and returning from Washington, D.C., CBS News reported. Although it was not clear how Lori McClintock consumed mulberry leaf — as a dietary supplement, as fresh or dried leaves, or in a tea — the report said a “partially intact” white mulberry leaf was found in her stomach.
The cause of death listed in the report was dehydration due to gastroenteritis caused by “adverse effects of white mulberry leaf ingestion,” a report from the Sacramento County coroner that is dated March 10 but was not immediately released to the public showed, CBS News reported. The document, along with an autopsy report and an amended death certificate containing an updated cause of death, was first released in July.
But Daniel Fabricant, CEO and president of the Natural Products Association, which represents the dietary supplements industry, questioned the cause of death. “It’s completely speculative. There’s a science to this. It’s not just what a coroner feels,” Fabricant, who oversaw dietary supplements at the FDA during the Obama administration, told CBS News. “People unfortunately pass from dehydration every day, and there’s a lot of different reasons and a lot of different causes.” Fabricant noted that if the coroner or the family had reported her death to the FDA, the agency could have launched its own investigation.