Herbal and dietary supplements readily available at retail stores and online are touted for a variety of health benefits. But a new study shows that the products can wreak havoc on the liver.
According to a study by the Drug Induced Liver Injury Network, a program funded by the National Institutes of Health, the number of injuries associated with dietary supplements is skyrocketing, climbing from just 7 percent of all drug-induced liver injuries in 2004 to about 20 percent in 2014. And the biggest culprits in the supplement department? Body buildng and weight loss products, according to the report, which was published in the journal Hepatology.
Dietary supplements for body building and weight-loss contributed to about half of the cases of liver damage linked to supplements, researchers found. Other supplements that caused harm were promoted for depression, digestive upset, and sexual performance. Dietary supplements containing multiple ingredients were also more likely to cause adverse effects to the liver.
The dietary supplement ingredients that caused the most damage to the liver were anabolic steroids, which are often illegally added to bodybuilding products, and green tea extract, which is found in many weight loss supplements.
That news isn’t surprising to Arthur, a Consumer Reports reader who commented that he has his blood checked every six months to check his liver enzymes because he takes a cholesterol-lowering statin. Then he started taking Belly Trim XP by BIOTRUST.
“All of my numbers have been excellent until this past test, which showed an elevated number for my liver. I discussed this with my doctor who suggested that I stop taking the supplement and retest. It has been a month since I stopped (taking the weight loss product) and had the liver function retested. I just received the results and everything is back to normal,” he said. “My days of taking any supplements are over.”
Source: Consumer Reports