Updated 12:47 AM EDT, Wed, May 12, 2021

Weight Loss Tea Causing Liver Infection? 16-Year-Old Gets Hepatitis After Green Tea Drink

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There have been plenty of health fads over the past few years to get people to live healthier and lose some weight before starting any new fad or diet, it should be noted that precautionary measures should be taken.

ABC News reported that a teen developed acute hepatitis after drinking tea that was supposed to help her lose weight. The girl, said to be 16 years old, told her doctors that she started drinking green tea that she bought online to help her shed some pounds.

"I had only lost a couple of pounds but then started having horrible pains in my joints, and felt very dizzy and sick. I was very scared when I was admitted to hospital and had lots of tests. I didn't fully understand what was going on at the time," she shared.

Multiple tests later, the teen's doctor found that she had acute hepatitis or an inflamed liver. With the help of intravenous fluids and medication, she was able to recover.

However, the team of researchers on the teen's case noted that they initially did not test the tea for other substances they are did share a theory that the tea itself could have contained minerals that affected the teen's liver function. Later on, the Daily Mail noted that an ingredient in the tea, called Camellia sinensis, was found to be the culprit. The outlet noted that products with Camellia sinensis are 'readily available from unregulated sources such as the internet and are increasingly used."

The authors of the study published on the British Medical Journal Case Reports wrote, "We acknowledge that green tea is predominantly a very safe and healthy drink, with antioxidant properties." However, they also went on to explain that secondary additives may have caused harm, adding that "the possibility that it is the addition of other chemicals causing hepatotoxicity, (chemical-driven liver damage) particularly in preparations used for weight loss."

It has been noted that there have been instances where people became ill after ingesting tea leaf powder, infusions and extracts, and that there have been cases where it led to patients having severe liver failure and even death.

Pesticides on the green tea leaves may also be a concern.

However, the precaution leans on ordering things online. Dr. Donna Seger of the Tennessee Poison Center in Nashville voiced out her concerns for people buying herbal supplements or tea online, especially if they have no knowledge where these things came from. "I think there are still tons of people who don't realize that because it's natural, doesn't mean it can't hurt you. They can have very significant toxicity," Seger said. 

That being said, it is still advised to ask a doctor or dietitian before starting a weight-loss diet regimen.

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