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Teen Diagnosed With Hepatitis After Adding Green Tea To Daily Diet

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A young girl in the United Kingdom who drank green tea daily for three months had been diagnosed with hepatitis. Doctors believe secondary products in the green tea likely caused the liver damage.  ( Emily Poisel | Flickr )

A young girl in the United Kingdom had been diagnosed with acute hepatitis after adding green tea to her daily diet, a report revealed.

Drinking a mysterious Chinese green tea every day apparently caused harm to a 16-year-old girl. The mysterious Chinese green tea was ordered online by the girl after she was told that it could help her lose weight.

The girl drank three cups of green tea daily for three months. Afterward, she began experiencing health problems such as jaundice, the yellowing of skin, which is a sign of liver problems.

Green Tea Linked To Hepatitis And Liver Damage?

Details of the girl's case report, which had been published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, revealed that the girls lost a couple of pounds and then began experiencing horrible pain in her joints. She also began to feel dizzy and sick.

"I was very scared when I was admitted to hospital and had lots of tests," the girl wrote in her case report. "I didn't fully understand what was going on at the time."

The girl was not taking any over-the-counter medications. Tests revealed that despite the inflammation in her liver, the girl did not have any other viral disease or problems with her metabolism and immune system.

Her doctors took note that the symptoms of hepatitis began appearing after the girl drank her green tea (Camellia sinensis). The ingredients listed in the green tea were in Chinese and so neither the doctors nor the young girl were sure what were in it. The girl's doctors then advised her to stop drinking it.

The girl was treated with a medication called N-acetylcysteine and intravenous fluids. N-acetylcysteine is used by doctors in patients with liver problems such as liver failure due to toxic compounds or drugs.

After stopping the intake of the green tea, doctors reported that the girl recovered significantly from hepatitis. After two months, the girl's liver was functioning normally again.

Although the doctors did not directly analyze the ingredients of the green tea, they said that it was likely the cause of the girl's hepatitis. The girl said she will never buy green tea products online again, and she will be more careful with what she drinks.

This case was not the first green tea link to hepatitis. In 2005, doctors in France described how a patient wanted to lose weight and took a green tea supplement called Exolise and ended up needing a liver transplant.

In 2018, a report revealed that taking green tea extracts can harm the liver as a middle-aged man from Dallas, Texas, needed a liver transplant after taking supplements. The man took the over-the-counter supplements in three months because he wanted to become healthier. However, like the young girl, the man's skin also turned yellow because of jaundice.

Use Herbal Supplements With Caution, But Don't Abandon The Beverage

Doctors say that is best to use herbal supplements and drink green tea with caution, but do not abandon the beverage.

Drinking regular green tea that do not boast weight loss is better because it does not likely cause liver damage. Researchers said that it is the secondary or tertiary processed products in the green tea, and not the green tea itself, that caused hepatitis in the young girl.

Dr. David Bernstein, who was not involved in the case study, said people should take lessons from the case report and be careful of what they ingest and what herbal products they take.

Lastly, researchers say that it is important to note that the link between green tea and hepatitis is "a rare yet recurring theme."

Photo: Emily Poisel | Flickr

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