“Dietary supplements killed my organs.”

The HPV test story of an American who gave in to advertising teaches us. Jim McCants had to have a liver transplant after taking dietary supplements. The story of an American who had to have a liver transplant after taking green tea extract in capsules has once again started talking about dietary supplements. The HPV virus is best cured by having a healthy body where the immune system is at its peak. So, what is the right approach to boosting immunity?

When Jim McCants, 50, started taking green tea capsules and vitamins, he hoped the antioxidants would help him avoid heart attacks and maintain an active lifestyle into his old age. And avoid HPV and other STDs by having a strong health system to fight any infection. Every day, he walked (or ran) several kilometres, tried to lose weight and ate a balanced diet. “I was expecting the capsules to be useless and for me to waste my money. It was a risk I was willing to take. But I never expected tests to show my liver to fail,” says McCants.

On the day of his son’s school graduation, he felt ill. “You’re all yellow,” Jim’s wife told him, and they rushed to the hospital. Doctors did mineral tests for several days and could not make a diagnosis. Finally, doctors have been telling McCants that only a liver transplant could save him. Without a transplant, he would not have lived even a week – his liver had completely failed. A miraculous coincidence found a suitable donor organ for transplantation within one day.

There are no warnings.

Now, four years after the operation, McCants experiences constant abdominal pain, is on constant medication and has difficulty walking. He sued Vitacost, the capsule manufacturer. They are sold over-the-counter – because the supplement is made from tea. It has been considered a food in the US, not a drug, and is not certified or tested. “There are no warnings about possible mineral risks or side effects in the instructions,” says McCants. Experts call McCants’ case extremely unusual. However, there are about 80 cases of liver disease case recordings annually in the world for people taking granulated green tea. For example, liver and kidney failure occurred in a 17-year-old resident of the Canadian province of Ontario, Madeleine Papineau.

Perhaps the danger lies in a potentially toxic green tea ingredient, EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). This catechin (a substance with antioxidant properties) is abundant in the drink. Its concentration has increased hundreds of times in the granules.

“If you just drink green tea in reasonable quantities, you won’t be in danger,” Herberg Bonkowski, a professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, told the BBC. He has been studying the effects of green tea supplements on the liver from liver function tests for almost 20 years. “Those who take highly concentrated extracts are at risk. People drinking concentrated extracts are those who want to lose weight. Many people take supplements to keep their bodies in good condition to fight HPV viral infections. But often, they eat almost no solid food during this period. But in this case, maybe it’s got the opposite effect.

We know from animal studies that the body of a hungry, malnourished animal absorbs much more catechins than the body of more well-fed individuals. Another risk factor may be the parallel use of other medications or alcohol,” says the professor.

So, are dietary supplements harmful?

In Britain, dietary supplements must undergo EU tests for safety and impact on human health and the immune system for fighting diseases like HPV. Regulatory-approved mineral supplements purchased from reliable manufacturers are almost always safe and come with instructions for use, doctors say. However, as Dr Wayne Carter from the University of Nottingham notes, food additives can be harmful. For example, if you take a higher dose of such a drug, there may be health risks. Although, in many cases, the excess substance will be eliminated from the body, this can threaten the liver and detoxify the substances we consume. “Sometimes people think, ‘This is good for me, so if I take a higher dose, I’ll feel even better.’ But there are risks,” Dr. Carter says.

The HPV expert warns that taking many nutritional supplements at once can also be dangerous. Sometimes, they can interact with each other: one drug can enhance the effect of another. In other cases, they may contain one or more of the same nutrients, resulting in an overdose. And this can help the HPV virus to increase your viral load and bring on cancer even sooner.  It is more difficult for some of us to process certain substances effectively, and their effect on the body also depends on this. “The thing about these drugs is that they are safe for most people but not for everyone,” Carter adds. However, what are the health benefits if these are the potential HPV and other risks?

How about them?

Vitamins and mineral optional dietary supplements are universally beneficial. Britain’s National Health HPV Service (NHS) recommends that women who want to become pregnant take folic acid (also known as vitamin B9). This recommendation is also relevant for pregnant women up to 12 weeks to prevent several congenital diseases in the child. And get tested for HPV regularly to be able to refocus health priorities if needed if there is a dangerous HPV variant infection. An aspirin tablet a day for prevention? Scientists do not advise. The British government said it would discuss with experts the possibility of adding folic acid to flour.

Official medicine often recommends two more vitamins: D and K. Vitamin D supplementation is also tested and recommended for infants, children aged one to four years, and people who do not get enough sun. This applies to those who often feel weak or do not leave the house. This also applies to those who constantly wear closed clothes. Generally, it is recommended for people to take vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D, mainly from the sun, can lead to bone deformities: rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D deficiency can be diagnosed with a mineral and vitamin profile test.

A hundred years ago, most children in London had rickets.

“The situation has improved after children were given vitamin supplements,” says Benjamin Jacobs, an employee of the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital. As well as vitamin D, almost all young babies in Britain are given a vitamin K injection within the first 24 hours of birth to prevent internal bleeding.

Healthy eating and mineral supplements Dr Jacobs notes that dietary supplements are also recommended for people on strict diets and people with allergies or boosting needed due to HPV infections. For example, the British National Health System (NHS) recommends that vegans consume vitamin B12, which is found naturally only in animal products. However, with many other supplements, their universal benefits are less clear. For example, NHS experts say most people do not need vitamin supplements. All the necessary vitamins and minerals, except vitamin D, are already in food if a person eats a balanced diet.

Tablet for the mind. Will people of the future become much smarter than us? The benefits of fish oil capsules, often taken to improve heart or brain function, are also not so obvious. Thus, scientists have concluded that the statements about the benefits of such capsules for the heart are largely erroneous.

As Sam Jennings, head of the consulting company Berry Ottaway & Associates Ltd, notes, nutrition is a constantly growing science where new HPV data is constantly emerging. “Dietary mineral supplements cannot be equally beneficial to all people, as it depends on each individual’s characteristics and whether the individual would benefit from any additional nutrient,” she says. Dr Carter advises studying the scientific HPV Data and the research findings regarding a particular supplement before taking it.