Teen develops hepatitis after having green tea bought online for losing weight

Doctors have confirmed that a teen girl’s attempt of losing her body weight by drinking green tea has left her severely ill with a range of health complications including acute hepatitis. The story has been published as a part of a new case study in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) Case Reports.

The yet to be named patient visited her doctor with symptoms like non-specific abdominal pains, joint pain, and nausea. Physicians prescribed her antibiotics are assuming that she was having the symptoms due to a minor infection. However, the medications didn’t show any result, and the teen had to come back to the emergency room, this time with worse symptoms including jaundice.

The 16-year-old girl informed her doctors that she had been drinking a particular brand of green tea purchased online for losing some body weight. She said that the tea helped her lose just a couple of pounds, but since then she has been experiencing some peculiar aches in her joints and having a sick and dizzy feeling. All these as well as her hospitalization and the series of tests she had to undergo left her extremely scared. She was struggling to comprehend what exactly is happening to her.

After carrying out multiple diagnostic tests to find out viral causes of the teen’s illness, her doctors came to the conclusion that she is actually suffering from acute hepatitis, a condition marked by an inflamed liver. Once the 16-year-old stopped having the green tea and started receiving medications and intravenous fluids, she took a little time to show signs of recovery.

Although till now the tea has not been tested for other substances, the authors of the above mentioned study have theorized that it might have been the source of materials responsible for affecting the liver function of the girl.

The study authors admitted that green tea is an extremely healthy and safe drink boasting amazing antioxidant properties and said that secondary addictives in the product might be responsible for the harms caused. According to them, it’s possible that other chemicals added to the product, with the intention of promoting weight loss, have resulted in hepatotoxicity (liver damage triggered by chemicals). The authors added that pesticides on tea leaves might also be culprits.


Click here to post a comment
  • The world of alternative medicine is full of untested treatments, unsafe products, unscrupulous marketers, and just plain old-fashioned nonsense. It’s an unregulated industry. Do you really think everyone selling these products are good people with your best interests at heart? Please. They know very well that they can go to market with a crappy product and there is no regulatory body with the authority to verify that it even contains what is written on the label, let alone that it is effective. Go ahead and keep your head in the sand and blame it on “pesticides”. I’ve got a bridge to sell you, too.

    • But that also applies to food, which can be contaminated. And the FDA has as much control over supplements as food, and can already go after particular manufacturers of food or supplements. So, if salmonella or a toxic chemical from mold is found in either ice cream or some herbal supplement capsule, FDA can take action in either case already. Pharmaceutical companies want very strict regulation. There’s a reason why, and it’s about money .

      • There’s an important difference between food and supplements. Supplements are purchased for a specific medical effect. Vitamin C to shorten a cold, green tea to lose weight, etc. But they usually don’t work. If the FDA had authority to verify these claims, most alternative health products would be off the shelves because they have been tested extensively and they just don’t work.

  • The headline is very misleading and suggests it was the green tea that was responsible. A better headline would have been – Pesticides in green tea purchased online may have caused hepatitis. This story should be about check the additives (not addictives as the articles misstates) in foods purchased online. It also should have made clear whether the purchases was from an E.U. or U.S. business or one in China.

    • I actually don’t see any causal relationship here at all. It may be that the tea caused the problem but may just as well have been something else entirely. The fact that the woman hypothesized that her condition may have started when she started taking the green tea and stopped when she stopped does not establish the tea as the cause.

  • Was it just tea or extract. It is possible to OD on the extract and inflame the liver. If so, that may be her fault. If someone takes half a bottle of green tea extract capsules per day in desperation to lose weight, it can happen, sorta like how people blow out their liver by overdosing on tylenol. At reasonable dosage, GT is liver protective.