If you think that herbals and dietary supplements are better than conventional medications for your health, think again. A new study shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from seven percent to 20 percent in the US over a 10-year period. Liver injury due to non-bodybuilding supplements is most severe, more frequently resulting in death or the need for transplantation than liver injury from bodybuilding supplements or conventional medications, said the study.
‘With less stringent oversight for herbals and dietary supplements, there is greater potential for harmful consequences including life-threatening conditions,’ cautioned Dr Victor Navarro from Einstein Medical Centre in Philadelphia. The study examines hepatotoxicity due to supplements compared to medications, covering 839 patients with liver injury between 2004 and 2013.
Liver injury cases included 45 caused by bodybuilding supplements, 85 attributed to non-bodybuilding supplements, and 709 due to medications. The research team determined that among cases enrolled, liver injuries from herbal and dietary supplements rose from seven percent to 20 percent during the study period. While bodybuilding supplements caused prolonged jaundice in young men, no fatalities or liver transplantations occurred, concluded the team.
However, the team said that they could not conclude that liver injury due to herbals and dietary supplements in on the rise for which further population-based study of liver injury due to herbal products and dietary supplements is needed. The study was published in the journal Hepatology.
What is liver disease?
Liver diseases comprise a vast range of conditions that affect the normal functioning of the liver. The liver is a small organ located below the rib cage on the right hand side of the stomach. It plays an important role in digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxic substances from the body. Liver diseases can be either inherited through generations or they can even occur due to some infectious agents like viruses or due to chemicals. There are over 100 different types of liver diseases and several lifestyle related things that can lead to liver disease. Most common diseases include alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis, liver cirrhosisand haemochromatosis. Some liver problems are temporary and go away on their own, while other liver problems can last for a long time and lead to serious complications. Liver disease was traditionally known to occur in association with excessive alcohol intake but now the non-alcoholic variant is reaching epidemic proportions in the developed countries. Known to occur in association with metabolic syndrome consisting ofhypertension, diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia this disease occurs because of faulty fat metabolism in the liver. Prevention is the best treatment and if uncontrolled can even end up in liver failure.