One of the things I am always aware of, and read without fail before I purchase a product for myself or my family, is the label. I have learned to be weary of ingredients that have over 12 letters, those I cannot pronounce, and products that boast miracle results. I also do my homework before purchasing any vitamins or supplements, and want to make sure they are either FDA or Health Canada approved.
I recently received an urgent email from a health supplement consulting company advising of major changes imposed by Health Canada in the labelling of products containing Green Tea Extracts. It was not a complete surprise, because studies have been done on the relation between the excessive use of green tea extracts and liver damage.
Reports have in fact found Green Tea Extract to have a potential rare and unpredictable risk of liver injury. So much so, that green tea extract is no longer legal for use as either an active ingredient or a non-medicinal ingredient in products marketed to children and adolescents! You can read the report here.
This is the reason why Health Canada is now requiring further caution, asking manufacturers and distributors to be more specific when labelling ALL products that contain Green Tea Extract.
The labelling change has come about thanks to a federal safety review, which followed the case of 17 year old Madeline Papineau, who developed serious liver and kidney injury after having taken green tea extract pills.
The warning Health Canada will now require manufacturers of Green Tea Extract supplements to add to their label is the following:
- If you have a liver disorder, consult a healthcare practitioner prior to use. Stop use if you develop symptoms of liver trouble such as yellowing of the skin/eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, dark urine, sweating, nausea, unusual tiredness and/or loss of appetite and consult a healthcare practitioner.
- Rare, unpredictable cases of liver injury associated with Green Tea Extract containing products have been reported in Canada and internationally.
Although the risk of liver injuries with this type of supplement have already been required in Canada since 2008, the recent addition was made with the purpose of “clarifying warnings”.
A CBC Marketplace report, discovered more than 60 documented cases worldwide of liver failure associated with green tea supplements, with at least two deaths partially linked to taking green tea extract pills.
I want to clarify, the warnings are for green tea extracts only, and NOT green tea. Green tea has in fact numerous health benefits and health professionals highly recommend drinking green tea regularly.
It is important to educate yourself before purchasing and taking any supplement or vitamin. It is also fundamental to talk to your doctor if you are taking any other medication.
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