September 25, 2015 — A 16 year-old British teenager developed acute hepatitis after drinking Chinese green tea weight-loss supplements she bought online, according to a case report published in the British Medical Journal.
The girl bought two boxes of 100 tea bags from China. After losing only a few pounds, she developed “horrible pains in my joints,” dizziness, and felt sick. She also had severe jaundice — yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, a common sign of liver damage.
Doctors struggled to determine what was causing the problem until she mentioned that she had been drinking three cups of green tea for weight-loss per day. She was diagnosed with acute non-viral hepatitis (sudden inflammation of the liver) and it took her two months to recover. She told the BMJ:
“Now I look back it was definitely due to the tea, I never took anything else and it all started happening after drinking the tea. I will never buy any online tea again or any weight loss pills.”
Unfortunately, dozens of cases of hepatitis have been linked to green tea extracts, tea leaf powder, and infusions. There is also a case report of a patient who developed liver failure and needed a transplant after drinking a dry extract for weight-loss.
Recent case reports have also linked hepatitis with concentrated green tea extracts containing epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin.
The weight-loss supplement OxyElite Pro caused an outbreak of acute hepatitis. By April 2014, nearly 100 people in 16 states were injured, including 47 who were hospitalized, three who needed liver transplantations, and one person who died.
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