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Supplements Killed My Liver: What the story of an American advertising addict teaches.

"Supplements Killed My Liver": What the story of an American advertising addict teaches.

When 50-year-old Jim McKents started taking green tea capsules, he hoped antioxidants would help him avoid a heart attack and lead an active lifestyle until old age. Every day he walked (or ran) several kilometers, tried to lose weight and eat balanced.

"I was prepared for the fact that these capsules would be useless and I wasted money. I agreed to such a risk. But I never expected my liver to fail.", – says McKents.

On the day of his son’s high school graduation, he felt bad. "You’re all yellow", – his wife told Jim, and they urgently went to the hospital.

For several days, doctors did tests and could not make a diagnosis. Finally, McKents was told that only a liver transplant would save him. Without a transplant, he would not have lived a week – the liver completely refused.

By a miraculous coincidence, a donor organ suitable for transplantation was found in one day. Now, four years after surgery, McKents is experiencing constant abdominal pain, is on constant medication, and has difficulty walking..

He sued Vitacost, a capsule manufacturer. They are sold over the counter – because the supplement is made from tea, it is considered a food product in the United States, not a medicine, and is not certified or tested. "There are no warnings about the possible risks and side effects in the instructions.", –

says McKents.

Photo by Getty Images.

Experts call the McKents case extremely unusual.

However, in the world, about 80 cases of liver disease are annually recorded in people taking granulated green tea: for example, liver and kidney failure occurred in 17-year-old resident of the Canadian province of Ontario Madeleine Papineau.

Perhaps the danger lies in the potentially toxic ingredient in green tea EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). This catechin (a substance with antioxidant properties) is found in abundance in the drink, and its concentration in granules is increased hundreds of times..

"If you just drink reasonable amounts of green tea, you are not in danger.," – Herberg Bonkowski, professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, told the BBC. He has been studying the effects of green tea supplements on the liver for almost 20 years..

"Those who take highly concentrated extracts are at risk. Usually they are drunk by those who want to lose weight, and often they hardly eat solid food during this period. We know from animal studies that the body of a hungry, emaciated animal assimilates far more catechins than the body of more well-fed individuals.

Another risk factor may be concurrent use of other medications or alcohol.", – says the professor.

So are dietary supplements harmful??

In the UK, supplements must pass EU safety and health checks.

Regulatory-approved supplements purchased from trusted manufacturers are nearly always safe and come complete with instructions for use, doctors say.

At the same time, as noted by Dr. Wayne Carter of the University of Nottingham, it cannot be argued that nutritional supplements cannot be potentially harmful..

For example, if you take a higher dose of such a drug, there may be a health risk..

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