Exploring the Controversy: Four Compounds and Their Potential Effects on Liver Health

In this video, the speaker discusses four compounds that are often discussed online and are said to have potential negative effects on the liver. The speaker takes a balanced approach, acknowledging that while these compounds may have an impact on the liver, they are still approved for sale. The compounds discussed include kava, vitamin A, green tea extract, and milk thistle. The speaker suggests that caution should be exercised when consuming these compounds and recommends opting for higher quality versions. The speaker also provides alternative options, such as cod liver oil for vitamin A and natural green tea instead of green tea extract.

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Key Insights:

  • It’s important to be aware of what we put in our bodies, as there are approved products on shelves that can potentially harm the liver.
  • Kava, a compound that blocks sodium ion channels, has been questioned for its liver toxicity. However, there is no indisputable evidence to support banning it.
  • Vitamin A can be harmful to the liver in high doses. It can cause liver enzyme elevation, portal hypertension, and even fibrosis or cirrhosis if overconsumed.
  • Green tea extract, particularly high amounts of EGCG, can have a negative effect on the liver. Taking it in moderation or consuming green tea in its natural form is recommended.
  • Milk thistle, often regarded as a liver cleanser, is inconclusive in its effects on humans. However, it may help build liver resiliency and reduce inflammation with proper dosing.


We don’t need to live in fear, but we also need to be aware of what we put in our bodies. There are approved products on shelves that can harm our liver if consumed improperly. It’s important to educate ourselves about these substances and their recommended dosage. In this video, I will discuss four compounds that are often debated online for their potential liver toxicity. While they do have an impact on the liver, I want to explore both sides of the argument. If these compounds are on the market, they are likely not highly dangerous. However, it’s important to question whether anyone is truly looking out for our well-being. Let’s delve into the topic.

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Now, let’s move on to the four compounds that have been widely discussed regarding their potential liver toxicity. The first one is kava. Kava is often questioned for its impact on the liver, and there are case reports supporting its potential harm. However, I personally take kava and enjoy it because I did my research. Kava blocks sodium ion channels, reducing excitability in brain cells and inducing a calming effect. It also enhances gamma-aminobutyric acid, which promotes relaxation. Although kava was banned in some parts of Europe and North America due to case reports of liver issues, subsequent studies found no single cause that would justify its complete removal from the market. Compromised liver function or concurrent consumption of alcohol and other medications may contribute to potential liver problems. However, some studies even suggest that kava combined with alcohol has no significant impact. It’s important to choose high-quality kava products that are free from stems and leaves, as these may be the likely triggers for liver issues. In conclusion, kava is relatively safe, but caution should be exercised.

The next compound is vitamin A. While it may seem harmless because it’s a vitamin, it’s easy to overdo it. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, and even a dosage as low as 20,000 IU can trigger liver issues. Vitamin A causes a mild elevation in liver enzymes and can lead to portal hypertension, fibrosis, and progressive liver damage. Vitamin A also affects energy metabolism within liver cells. It’s crucial not to exceed the recommended dosage of vitamin A supplements unless advised by a medical professional. Cod liver oil, which contains bioavailable vitamin A and D, is a safer alternative. It’s difficult to overconsume vitamin A through cod liver oil, and it also provides omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory effects.

Moving on to green tea extract, there is some controversy surrounding its potential liver toxicity. Extreme amounts of green tea extract can disturb the body’s balance. Green tea contains catechins, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), known for their indirect antioxidant effects. In small amounts, EGCG triggers stress responses that build resiliency. However, high doses of EGCG, above 200 milligrams, can have negative effects on the liver. It converts to epicatechin galate, which acts as an oxidative stressor. The fine line between a beneficial stress response and excessive oxidative stress can be easily crossed. Natural green tea is a better choice as it provides a balanced combination of catechins and supporting antioxidants. When considering green tea extract, be mindful of its combination with other substances that may be hepatotoxic.

Lastly, let’s discuss milk thistle. Some believe that the liver cleansing effect of milk thistle makes it potentially harmful to the liver. However, research on both sides of the argument is inconclusive. Studies in mice have shown that milk thistle reduces liver enzymes, but human studies have not provided consistent results. Milk thistle increases gene expression for stressors that promote liver resiliency and reduces gene expression for ongoing inflammation. While some meta-analysis suggests no significant effects in humans, there are indications that higher dosages might be required to reach the desired impact. Therefore, taking a higher dosage of milk thistle than typically recommended may be necessary to see results.

In conclusion, it’s crucial to approach these compounds with caution. Use kava in moderation, opt for cod liver oil instead of vitamin A supplements, prefer natural green tea over extracts, and consider higher dosages of milk thistle for potential benefits. Remember, individual responses to these substances may vary, so it’s important to seek personalized advice from healthcare professionals.