A WOMAN was forced to undergo a liver transplant after her organ failed after taking a $50 herbal supplement, her doctor believes.
Emily Goss, 23, said she suffered pain in her torso and the whites of her eyes began to turn yellow after taking ‘Balance’ pills sold by American firm Alani Nu.
Medics soon realised her liver was shutting down and she was fast-tracked to the top of a transplant waiting list.
Fortunately, a donor was found and Emily was able to have the op on Christmas Day.
But her doctor has suggested the pills were possibly to blame for her illness after ruling out other potential causes.
Emily, of Amarillo, Texas, told local news station NBC 5: “I have my life because someone gave me their liver and I’m just so thankful.
“I just couldn’t believe that a supplement could cause something so life threatening.”
The news channel said Emily’s doctor at Methodist Hospital in Dallas believes the supplements may have led to her illness.
Dr Jeffrey Weinstein, who is the medical director of liver transplantation at the hospital, told the station: “Many of these are advertised as natural [and]healthy.
“I view them all as drugs and I view them all as chemicals, so there should be good caution into how you use them and why you use them.”
The doctor also claimed between three and four out of ten cases of acute liver failure – in which the organ fails without liver disease – are linked to supplements.
I have my life because someone gave me their liver and I’m just so thankful
Emily, a credit analyst said she’s been healthy all her life, but started taking a women’s herbal supplement designed to help support hormonal balance, weight management, complexion and fertility.
For months, she took four of the Alani Nu pills every day until after Thanksgiving, when she started developing symptoms, including fatigue.
A biopsy of Emily’s old liver should reveal what chemical damaged the organ and where it came from.
Most people are able to go back to normal life following a liver transplant – although it can take up to a year to fully recover and some may need further medication to boost the immune system so the new organ isn’t rejected.
Supplement manufacturer Alani Nu told NBC 5: “We certainly wish the best for Ms Goss.
“That said, it would be premature for us to respond to a suggestion that her illness was caused by a specific dietary supplement. Such a suggestion is highly speculative.
“During our nearly 2 years of operation, we have had no previous similar suggestions involving our customers.
“Safety of our customers is – by far – our number one priority. All of our products are manufactured inside a GMP-certified facility. And we partner with a licensed pharmacist in the customization of our supplements.
“While we take this inquiry very seriously and hope to learn more about the true cause of Ms. Goss’s condition, we stand by the safety of our products.”