Herbs Toxic for Your Liver?
Do you think of herbal supplements as "natural" and therefore harmless? Think again! Those products are not regulated by the FDA. They may interact dangerously with other medications you're taking and they could put you at risk for liver damage that is severe enough to warrant an organ transplant.
According to MedPage Today, an estimated 40% of Americans pops herbal or dietary supplements even though the possible side effects have not been established. "Hepatotoxicity," meaning poisonous for the liver, appears to be one of those side effects. MedPage Today reports that Jose Serrano, MD of the National Institutes of Health said during a press briefing at Digestive Disease Week that supplements accounted for 18% of liver injuries in the U.S.
"The number of cases in our network has increased over the years," Serrano said during the briefing. "There were no deaths, but 7% of patients needed a liver transplant. These are not trivial consequences."
Weight-loss supplements were among those implicated, as were body-building supplements. Symptoms the researchers found among those patients included in data from the Drug Induced Liver Injury Network were jaundice, nausea, itching, and abdominal pain.