The liver is a very important organ and one I always took for granted – assumed because it didn’t hurt and everything else seemed to be ticking along, we were in good shape. Not necessarily so. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to read the newspaper or watch the news on television. The news just gives me something else to worry about and I consider worrying a useless, wasteful expenditure of energy.
A 17-year-old boy was recently given emergency treatment for liver failure at Texas Children’s Hospital. The source of his illness? A concentrated green tea extract purchased at a nutrition store as a “fat-burning” supplement. The boy was put on the waiting list for an immediate liver transplant. We’re often being warned by various sources to be extremely cautious about using so-called health supplements and herbal remedies. Like pet food, there are no federal controls on health supplement ingredients. The packaging does not legally have to list all ingredients, and toxicity may be a crap shoot. That just makes me want to go and toss all my supplements including my calcium, my fish oils and everything else.
As a pet owner, I’m always vigilant about what I feed my 3 lb. Yorkie, particularly since friends of ours lost their beloved Shihtzu to kidney failure caused by dried chicken tender treats that falsely say “100% chicken product” on the package. I recently e-mailed Purina about the contents of their “DentaStix” to see if a) they were a product of a foreign country, and b) were any of the ingredients from off-shore. I can only take their lack of response as bad news.
Do we really have to start growing our own non-genetically-modified fruit and veggies? Meat is already a highly suspect product. And now, a simple cup of tea might be a killer. Next time I go to the doctor, I’m going to get my liver checked – however they do that. It’s not enough to monitor my heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat, lungs, bones and female organs, now I have to add my liver to the list. On one hand we’re lucky to have the monitoring tools available to keep us healthy but it’s not without its downside. The work never ends.