I could tell that she was wrestling with divulging something by the long pause and hesitation when I asked her if there were any changes in her life.

The problem at hand was a new rise in her liver enzymes. They were normal 6 months ago and have now tripled. It was my duty to find out why, so I kept prodding.

“How many alcoholic drinks to you have a day?” Response was “hardly, maybe one drink every few months”.

“Do you have any new tattoos?” She responds with “no, just have my one tattoo from 8 years ago”

“Are are using any “recreational drugs“? Her response was “never!”

My line of questioning wasn’t getting me anywhere. I proceeded to order a bunch of blood tests and a liver ultrasound to look under the hood. I then asked her if she was taking any new medications. No new medications.

How about supplements? She had been using a supplement recommended on a TV show. How long? 2-3 months. She orders it on some website. Aha aha, the smoking gun at last!

I had her stop the offending medication and watched her liver return to normal over several weeks of quitting the so called natural product.

Don’t be hoodwinked by folks peddling “natural products” or “homeopathic treatment” in a pill. If you are not eating the leaf or boiling the plant yourself, it is not natural.

If it comes as a pill, a capsule or a shake, it is not natural.

You are taking medications no matter what they call it and every medication you use gets filtered by the liver.

About the author

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Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.


  • Dr. Bola,
    I didn’t know that about supplements and the liver. Thank you!

    • Ida,

      Thanks for your comment. Everything we take in- food, alcohol, prescription medicines and supplements gets processed by the liver and that liver could use a break from toxins of any kind.

  • That quote really summed it up very well. It’s so important to be careful of what type of supplements you’re taking. Thanks for sharing.

    • Even when you trust, verify. I could be in my lounge wear mixing up some chalk and peddling it as the “natural cure-all”. As long as the label reads supplement, no testing or oversight is required. Scarely right?

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