You may want to reconsider your New Year’s resolution.
An attempt at healthy living may have had a near-deadly outcome for a Texas woman who needed a liver transplant on Christmas Day after taking an influencer-promoted dietary supplement, her doctor told KXAS-TV.
For months, a perfectly healthy Emily Goss, 23, said she had taken four ‘Balance” pills a day made by supplement company Alani Nu that claimed to “support hormonal balance, weight management, complexion, and fertility,” according to the company’s website.
But things went south when the credit analyst started feeling exhausted, noticed a strange pain in her torso and the whites of her eyes began yellowing.
“I don’t know how to explain. I just knew I wasn’t completely there,” Goss told the outlet. Her doctor discovered she was suffering from acute liver failure.
She was rushed to Methodist Hospital in Dallas and moved to the top of the liver transplant list.
Doctors at the hospital were quick to suspect the supplement — which sells for $50 a bottle — as a possible cause.
“Many of these are advertised as natural [and] healthy,” said Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, the medical director of liver transplantation at the hospital. “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.”
On Christmas Day, Goss was gifted a new liver.
“I have my life because someone gave me their liver and I’m just so thankful,” Goss said.
The pills also have an army of influencers who back the brand, such as online trainer Des Pfeifer, who has over 230,000 followers and partnered with the company two days ago in an Instagram post.
But Alani Nu denies the claims, saying that “such a suggestion is highly speculative” and that they “partner with a licensed pharmacist in the customization of [their] supplements,” according to a statement sent to The Post. The company also claims to have had “no previous similar suggestions involving our customers” but still “wish the best for Ms. Goss.”
While acute liver failure is rare, about 30 to 40 percent of the deadly cases are linked to herbal or dietary supplements, Weinstein said.
“Every time we have a case of acute liver failure, it’s always an interesting case. It’s also a medical emergency,” he said.
Goss on the other hand, was shocked.
“I just couldn’t believe that a supplement could cause something so life-threatening,” she said.
Today, Goss still isn’t in the clear, as she must monitor her vital signs daily to make sure her body isn’t rejecting the new liver and may take more than a year to go back to normal life.
Many supplements claiming health benefits are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration, which could lead to the consumption of dangerous toxins and chemicals or the overuse of drugs.
It is unclear which ingredient in the “Balance” pills could have caused the liver damage, but doctors hope a biopsy of her liver will reveal more information.