The medical community – which is only matched by the US military for deadly incompetence – is never slow to heap hypocritical and irrationally hysterical warnings against the mortal dangers of innocuous products and practices. This week the boogeyman is green tea extract.
This weeks hysterical outburst against Green Tea terrorism is based on a case-study of a man – yes, just one man – who needed a liver transplant after just 2 weeks of using a half dose of a supplement containing green tea. Sound dubious? It can’t be. A doctor on Channel 9 said it is so.
[apparently] extract equal to just 1/5th of 1 cup of green tea is what caused Matthews liver failure in 2 weeks
A product that causes acute liver failure is certainly a serious problem for which the public should be concerned. Even more worryingly, the product that caused Matthew’s condition dodged the public protection of impotent, incompetent and completely inconsistent bureaucratic paperwork of the TGA. Normally, the TGA is involved in dramatically raising the cost of supplements in Australia in order to protect the public from labels that make sense. But the product Matthew used exploited a loophole whereby products with completely ineffective, low doses of ingredients do not need to request TGA extortion because they cannot possibly provide any therapeutic effect.
But, as the doctor says, you could be dicing with death, even though the product cannot possibly do anything. And maybe you could be dicing with death if you take your supplements like the reporter and make 1 teaspoon of Green Tea Extract be the same as 50 cups of green tea. According to the National Library of Medicine, 10g of green tea extract is equivalent to 24 cups. So apparently the reporter balanced more than 20g of green tea extract onto a teaspoon. Thats either very impressive balance or a massive miscalculation? Regardless, it was a rather irrelevant fact because Matthew wasn’t taking anywhere near a teaspoon of Green Tea, let alone 20 grams. The reporter says that the supplement Matthew used had 175mg/serve and he only took half serves; or 87.5mg/d. 87.5mg equates to around 1/5th of one cup of green tea. And apparently that extract, equal to just 1/5th of 1 cup of green tea, is what caused Matthews liver failure in 2 weeks. I sure hope he never drinks an entire coffee!
Surely no other such products are available with such absurdly dangerous overdoses of ingredients equivalent to 1/5th of a cup of tea? And certainly not over the counter as the outraged reporter showed green tea extract products are?
Well, actually, the products most commonly associated with acute liver failure are: paracetamol and alcohol. And not only can you buy them over the counter, they are still widely available over the counter at 3 o’clock in the morning. Even in Perth you can buy alcohol and paracetamol 24/7. You can’t even buy rice 24/7 in Perth!
So Alcohol and paracetomol are hundreds of times more available than Green Tea extract and are the most common causes of acute liver failure. I’m curious: where is Channel 9’s dedicated channel to stories about these case studies of acute liver failure?
But what else causes liver stress or failure? Well, Hepatitis is the leading cause in the World. What’s hepatitis? Its the disease the doctors gave to the man in this story along with his new liver! No, I am not joking.
Hepatitis is the leading cause [of acute liver failure] in the World. What’s hepatitis? Its the disease the doctors gave to the man in this story along with his new liver! No, I am not joking.
The other leading cause of acute liver failure outside of hepatitis – like the doctors gave the man – and paracetamol and alcohol – which you can buy over the counter from 1000’s of locations at any time of day or night – is… unknown. Best the doctors and researchers can come up with is: shit happens.
But apparently not in this case. In this case the doctors are certain that the only thing in the world that could possibly have caused this mans liver failure was a half dose of an extract of a half cup of green tea, taken for 2 weeks. Even though the doctor stated “you do not know what you are getting when you take one of these products”, they are still certain this product caused the liver failure. Doctors don’t know what causes most acute liver failures but, being that a healthful supplement was the only thing Matthew did differently to the rest of the obese, garbage-eating, non-exercising, heart-diseased, cancer-ridden population, obviously the supplement caused the problem. And, despite the fact that the vast majority of drug-induced liver failures in all the world are caused by popular products, that doctors recommend we consume, and are more readily available than green tea extract, we need to be paranoid about any contact with Green Tea. And the fact that numerous studies have found myriad health benefits to green tea extracts, and Chinese medicine has championed the healthful benefits of green tea for thousands of years, and billions of people have enjoyed copious quantities of green tea, over thousands of years, all of that evidence and those billions of case studies are wrong and green tea is really a lethal poison.
OK, well, while we are being ignorant, irrational hypochondriacs about Green Tea, then we ought to look for any other natural substances that can cause similar severe, near-death reactions in a tiny subset of people. What about… nuts? Shellfish? Bee stings? Yes, all 3 of those kill thousands of people per year from their body’s atypically severe response. Again, why hasn’t Channel 9 devoted an entire channel, 24/7, to hysterical case studies of tragic near-deaths of people who unwittingly consumed nuts, shellfish or got a bee sting? If Channel 9 and the AMA are so concerned with adverse events, where is the concern for people with allergies? Billions of Chinese have consumed oceans of Green Tea for thousands of years, presumably while dying in droves from beestings, nuts and shellfish; but these guys want to warn us against the Green Tea because they finally found one person who, apparently, had one suspiciously implausible, severe reaction to it?
Is it just me or is none of this adding up?
In summary: this story is so many levels of garbage that it’s even surprising that a 3rd-rate mainstream News program would run it. This is down in the gutter with “Aliens had sex with me” stories in trash tabloid magazines.
So what is the real story? Nothing. They are clearly just trying to drum up hysteria and outrage. I’m going to brew myself a nice pot of green tea and take some green tea supplements. I find them very calming. I just hope the hot water doesn’t give me a headache because paracetamol will undoubtedly cause acute liver failure!