A popular supplement may be destroying your liver…
More and more reports are popping up in the media about individuals taking products with green-tea extract (like some diet pills) and suffering liver damage or complete liver failure.
You may have heard about the teenage boy a few years ago who experienced liver failure – and nearly needed a liver transplant – after taking concentrated green tea extract to burn fat. His chest, face, and eyes were “almost highlighter yellow,” according to the pediatric resident who treated him.
Hospitals report that dietary supplements like green-tea extract account for about 20% of all drug-related liver diseases.
Read that again… dietary supplements make up 20% of drug-related liver diseases. The use of supplements is on the rise in the U.S. Americans spend more than $30 billion per year on nutritional supplements, according to the Nutritional Business Journal. From 2005 to 2014, the supplement industry has grown 85%.
Despite the size of the industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements. So you can’t be sure of their safety.
Green tea contains molecules called catechins. In brewed tea, the catechins are at a safe, diluted level.
However, extracts can contain high concentrations of catechins, which can cause liver damage. The severity of liver damage also worsens when you take green-tea extract on an empty stomach, possibly because the catechins interact with glucose.
So dieters popping these pills while starving themselves are at a much higher risk of liver damage. If you or someone you know is taking green-tea extract, throw it out immediately.
Instead, do what I do… Avoid fad pills and enjoy a cup of brewed green tea instead.
Research shows that drinking five to seven cups of this healthy brew a week provides incredible health benefits.
The only problem is that the flavor is simultaneously strong and subtle. It takes some people a while to get used to it. But I can tell you from personal experience that drinking tea is a relaxing and refreshing activity.
In addition to recharging and balancing the body… the real benefit comes from the health-giving chemicals found in green tea.
Green tea is calorie-free, lowers cholesterol, fights cancer, and keeps immune systems strong. Green tea leaves are processed in a way that preserves many of the nutrients known to provide its health benefits.
One final thought to consider… for best results (both for flavor and health benefits), you should drink green tea freshly brewed after allowing it to steep for three to five minutes.
True green-tea aficionados choose the loose leaves and a tea infuser over the prepackaged kind. The health benefits of loose green tea are much greater, due to the quality of the leaves. However, some great (and more convenient) green teas come in bag form.
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Here’s how I take my tea…
- I prefer tea bags over loose-leaf tea. One of my favorite brands is Bigelow.
- I prefer Japanese sencha and jasmine flavors.
- I buy and drink green teas that include other flavors from flowers and plants to moderate the sometimes-strong flavor of the green tea.
- In the summer, I cook up a pot of tea and boil cranberries in another pot. Then I combine the liquids in a pitcher in the refrigerator for a delicious and naturally sweet iced tea. Year-round, I use a bit of honey to sweeten my tea.
Also, sipping tea can be the perfect time to sit quietly and meditate… even if for just 10-15 minutes a day. The relaxation response triggered with meditation is great for longevity, and combining it with sipping green tea could be a potent way to fight stress and disease.
Are you a tea drinker? Or have you stopped taking diet pills and quickly felt better? Let us know by writing to us here.