Now that we’re about halfway through 2019, it’s a good time to check your cabinets and throw out any expired drugs or supplements. And while you’re at it, you should also take the time to throw out any drugs or supplements that can cause liver injury.
I’ll tell you which products pose the biggest threats to your liver in a moment. But first, let’s back up and talk about this crucial, though often-neglected organ…
Your liver is your first line of defense
Your liver acts as your body’s “portal system,” serving as both the “port of entry” and “first line of defense” against toxins.
In fact, anything you ingest orally goes through your liver for processing, detoxifying, and metabolizing. Then, it’s released into the general bloodstream.
Of course, the liver also processes drugs. Which explains why drugs are the No. 1 cause of liver injury and death.
Plus, drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is the leading reason why a medication is taken off the market after it’s been approved. (Why doesn’t the U.S. Food and Drug Administration study liver injury more closely during the initial approval process of these drugs?! Will they ever learn?!)
Clinically, it’s difficult to predict who will suffer from DILI. Plus, it’s challenging to recognize, as it can initially present itself as just mild abnormalities on blood tests.
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) is one clear sign of liver toxicity. But once it occurs, death rates jump to as high as 50 percent (without undergoing major liver transplant surgery).
Now, let’s move on to some specific drugs that can cause liver injury and failure…
Two commons drugs cause the most harm…
I often talk about the harms of acetaminophen (Tylenol®). It’s also the leading cause of DILI.
Half of all Tylenol®-related cases of DILI stem from intentional overdoses, and the other half stems from accidental overdoses—or even just chronic use.
As I’ve explained before, pharmaceutical companies add this poison to hundreds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. So, it’s far too easy to accidently exceed the upper safety limit for acetaminophen and cause serious harm to your liver.
In addition, long-term use of Tylenol® at supposedly “safe,” therapeutic doses can actually cause serious harm. In fact, it causes more severe liver toxicity, complications, and death than the effects of one, single overdose.
Now, I know many people think drinking alcohol with Tylenol® also increases the risk of liver injury.
But it doesn’t.
In fact, forensic toxicology studies show that liver injury is 15 percent lower in those who overdosed on acetaminophen with alcohol compared to those who overdosed on acetaminophen alone. So, alcohol appears to protect against the toxic effects of acetaminophen metabolism in the liver…but that doesn’t make the effects any better.
Now let’s move onto another big culprit…
Blockbuster cholesterol drugs harm the liver too
If you weren’t already convinced to stay off cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, now you have another reason…
They can also cause major problems for your liver.
In fact, blood tests commonly find liver function abnormalities after starting statins. And according to the DILI reporting network, research links 3.4 percent of all drug-induced liver injuries to statins.
Despite this data, the mainstream continues to scramble for mythical reasons to keep doling out these drugs. But now you know better.
Let’s move on to some other, lesser-known causes of liver injury…nutritional supplements.
“Natural” doesn’t always mean safe
The DILI reporting network claims 15 percent of cases may be attributed to the use of dietary and herbal supplements. But, compared to prescription drugs, dietary supplements are still a minor source of injury—occurring in just three out of every 100,000 people.
Still, you need to be aware of them. They include:
- “Body building” agents
According to the DILI reporting network, bodybuilding agents, such as anabolic steroids, are the type of “supplements” that cause the most liver injuries. But I hesitate to even categorize them as supplements. Plus, they’re useless and often downright dangerous.
- Green tea extract supplements
Green tea extracts also made the DILI list. But as I’ve said before, the research on green tea is mixed. In my opinion, you’re better off drinking coffee or red tea, such as aspal or rooibos—both of which have solid health benefits, backed by science.
I discussed rooibos in the March 2013 issue of my Insiders’ Cures (“Are you drinking rooibos yet?”). If you’re not a subscriber, click here to learn how you can gain access to my entire newsletter archive—starting today!
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
Research shows chondroitin and glucosamine—two of the most popular ingredients in “joint support” supplements—can cause liver injury.
But not all natural joint support formulas are dangerous. Instead, opt for my ABCs of joint health, which includes ashwagandha, boswellia, and curcumin. Research shows this trio is effective and safe.
- Multivitamins (including those with green tea extract)
I always tell you to avoid multivitamins, as they typically contain all the wrong ingredients in all the wrong doses. Plus, manufacturers like to throw in “everything but the kitchen sink.”
In fact, when you think about all the garbage that gets added into these formulas, it’s no wonder they’re a threat to your liver. You should really just toss them in your kitchen sink and watch them go down the drain…
- Sexual performance supplements
Big pharma has convinced men that they need to do something about low testosterone (or “Low-T”) as they get older. But as I often warn, so-called Low-T drug treatments are a huge mistake for many different reasons. And now, they’re linked to liver injury.
(To learn more about how to maintain your virility and stamina well into your 70s, 80s, and 90s without resorting to Low-T drugs that harm your liver, check out my new comprehensive, science-backed Insiders’ Ultimate Guide to Perfect Prostate Health. This online learning tool addresses everything you need to know about conquering cancer, banishing an enlarged prostate, and maximizing your manhood—NATURALLY.)
- Weight-loss supplements
A recent report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine explains that eating (and drinking) sugar and carbs is the No. 1 cause of obesity. And no weight-loss supplement can counter this effect. Plus, we now know that these ineffective supplements can also cause liver injury. So, as always, I recommend following a Mediterranean-style diet, which includes:
- Full fat dairy, including butter, eggs, cheeses, and yogurt
- Wild-caught fish and grass-fed, free-range meat
- Nuts and seeds
- Six to eight servings of fruits and vegetablesdaily
- Alcoholin moderation
In the end, make sure to avoid the dangerous drugs and supplements I’ve been warning you against for years…and you’ll never need to worry about liver injury.
“Drug-Induced Liver Injury: 5 Things to Know.” Medscape, 5/7/2019. (medscape.com/view article/909745_3)