Green tea is prized for its health benefits, so wouldn’t an extract be even better? Green tea extract is a supplement derived from the green tea plant. The idea behind it is if you process and concentrate a healthy substance like green tea, its positive effects will be boosted. But take note because more is not always necessarily better for you. Green tea extract can, in fact, have negative effects on your health. Here are 10 reasons why green tea extract is bad for you:
For decades, case reports have found that consuming large amounts of green tea extract is more likely to cause negative effects from caffeine than drinking green tea itself, according to the U.S. Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplement Information Expert Committee published findings in 2008 in “Drug Safety.” With taking any extract, you must keep in mind that concentrated doses are different than taking the substance in its original form and can have a dangerous amount of certain ingredients. Extracts always pose a risk.
We can appreciate the powerful antioxidant benefit of green tea, but you want to avoid too much of a good thing. Catechins, a type of polyphenols, target your vital mitochondria. This attack prevents them from helping your body to metabolize food into energy and can lead to hepatitis or even liver failure. Twenty percent of drug-related injuries are currently caused by the wide-spread use of unregulated supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health. Herbert Bonkovsky, M.D., a gastroenterologist from the Carolinas HealthCare System recommends the complete avoidance of supplements with green tea extract as an ingredient. Time to clean out the medicine cabinet.
It’s not just your liver you need to be mindful of, Other organs in your body can be negatively affected? by green tea extract as well. According to an article in the journal Toxicologic Pathology in 2010, concentrations above 1000mg of green tea extract were lethal in mice. Although most of the deaths were caused by liver necrosis, the extract caused secondary effects to their noses, lymph nodes, and spleens.
You know that uncomfortable feeling when your heart starts racing, and it can be scary. Otherwise known as heart palpitations, these uncomfortably fast heart beat episodes are a common side effect from consuming too much caffeine. While the caffeine content in green tea is relatively low, things like green tea extracts or green tea energy drinks can have a very high caffeine content. It’s best to sick drinking the actual tea -- the naturally occurring caffeine won’t be too much for your heart to handle.
Think the FDA has got your back when it comes to supplements? Think again. The 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act did a major regulation haul on the supplement market. Unlike prescription and over-the-counter drugs, the FDA now does not require manufacturers of dietary supplements to register their products or get any type of approval before producing or selling supplements. This means that pretty much ANYTHING could be in those pills, in any amount. Green tea extract can have incredibly high amounts of caffeine or low amounts of health-benefitting antioxidants — it’s anyone’s guess. That’s a gamble you want to avoid.
If you are one of most Americans who takes a prescription drug, you’ll want to avoid green tea extract. Their high doses of caffeine can have negative interactions with medications you are taking, or cause them to not work at all. Scary! Green tea extract’s high dose of vitamin K can make blood thinning medication such warfarin or aspirin ineffective. When taken together with MAOIs, green tea extract can cause a severe increase in blood pressure. These are just a few of the possible drug interactions of green tea extract. Always consult your doctor before starting any dietary supplement – or better yet, just avoid them.
Even though they are often called “natural,” almost all non-food supplements are processed with petroleum derivative or hydrogenated sugars. Given that there is no FDA regulation on dietary supplements, it’s almost impossible to know how any green tea extra was processed. It’s always best to avoid the processed version of a good thing and stick to the basics – real green tea.
Polyphenols are powerful sources of antioxidants and do amazing things for our health. Some green tea extracts contain excessive amounts of polyphenols -- anywhere from 100-750mg per pill. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, large amounts of polyphenols could interfere with iron absorption, causing a potential iron deficiency in people who are borderline anemic. Polyphenols are readily available in healthy doses in a variety of natural foods like onion, berries, apples and green tea.
It’s hard to imagine – but it’s true. The excessive amounts of green tea extract can lower levels of testosterone. One study found that excessive intake of green tea lowered the testosterone hormone in rats. Another study in India revealed high doses of green tea extract can cause functional impairment of the testis in rodents, thereby causing infertility issues. Keep your manhood safe and avoid this possibility by steering clear of extracts.
With the Plethora of negative side effects, green tea extract can cause, you may being thinking you've heard the worst. Wrong! Consumer Reports put green tea extract on a list of 15 supplements to avoid, citing reasons like dizziness and even death! When it comes to your health, you can never be too careful. Stick with whole, original versions of your favorite health substances, and you’ll have no need to worry about side effects from high concentrations and unknown ingredients.
If you want the health benefits of green tea, stick to the actual tea. It’s delicious, better for you, and cheaper than expensive supplements. Your body will be glad you did. Cheers to your health!
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