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herbal supplements

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Liver Damage from Herbals and Dietary Supplements

One-fifth of liver injuries are caused by herbal and dietary supplements in the U.S.

During the past 10 years liver injury from herbal and dietary supplements has doubled. Researchers analyzed data from over 800 patients who sustained liver damage from medications (acetaminophen excluded) or herbal and dietary supplements. Injuries jumped from 7% of cases in the first two years to 20% 10 years later. Liver damage from dietary supplements required more transplants than injury from drugs.

PositiveTip: Be very cautious of using herbals or dietary supplements without consulting with your physician. 

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Herbal Supplements Linked to Liver Injury

Supplements cause 18% of liver injuries in the U.S.

Using dietary supplements may account for almost 20% of liver injuries, according to Jose Serrano, MD from the U.S. Natitional Institutes of Health. Use of these may account for 7% percent of patients needing liver transplants. Supplements are not food, and some are not safe at all. (Navarro VJ, et al "Herbal and dietary supplement induced hepatotoxicity in the U.S." DDW 2012; Abstract 167)

PositiveTip: Tell your physician about any dietary supplements you are taking!

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Infants and Herbal Supplements

Almost one in ten infants are fed herbal supplements.

Surveys of some 2700 mothers revealed that 9% of their children receive herbal supplements during their first year of life--sometimes as early as during the first month. These products were given most frequently to help with colic, fussiness, relaxation, digestion. Mothers who use supplements themselves were more likely to give them to their babies.

PositiveTip: Because some supplements pose health risks, parents should counsel with a pediatrician about their use.