Supplements Your Health & Wellness

Taking supplements? You’re at risk for liver damage

Written by Diane Archer

There’s plenty of data to suggest that taking vitamin or herbal supplements offers little value if you are otherwise healthy. It’s much better to eat a healthy diet and exercise; it also saves you money. Now, new findings published in Hepatology indicate that if you’re taking supplements, you’re at risk for liver damage.

Your liver serves to make sure that your body benefits from the nutrients in the food you eat and gets rid of harmful substances in your blood. But, certain herbal, body-building, and weight-loss supplements have been found to harm the liver in ways that prevent it from doing its job. Other supplements marketed for depression, sexual performance and to treat digestive issues were also found to harm the liver.

Supplements studied were found to cause about one in five of all liver injuries. Although the researchers could not determine which particular ingredients in the supplements caused liver damage, they found that anabolic steroids found in body-building supplements, green tea extract and agents in multi-ingredient nutritional supplements were likely culprits.

The Food and Drug Administration, FDA, does not regulate supplements or oversee their safety in any way.  Just last week, GNC, the world’s largest retailer of dietary supplements entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to change its use of certain dietary ingredients and supplements. It also paid the federal government a $2.25 million fine. GNC was selling supplements with synthetic stimulants and claiming they were natural plant extracts.

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