- Five benefits of fennel tea
- Can Matcha damage my liver?
- What are EGCGs?
- A Better Way to Cut an Avocado
- The Science Behind Matcha’s Health Halo
- How to Use Matcha: The Dos and Don’ts
- Matcha Tea Can Be Super-Healthy—If You Heed This Warning
- What foods protect the liver?
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- Green Tea and Fatty Liver Disease
- Alcoholic Liver Disease
- Green Tea Benefits
- Green Tea Improves Fatty Liver Disease
- ‘The food supplement that ruined my liver’
- Find out more
- You may also be interested in:
- Could Green Tea Help Prevent Liver Cancer?
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Usnic acid is a component of nutritional supplements that are promoted for weight loss and have been associated with liver-related adverse events including mild hepatic toxicity, chemical hepatitis and liver failure requiring liver transplantation. Usnic acid is derived from a lichen species of the genus Usnea. It has been investigated for diverse uses as an antimicrobial, an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, an analgesic/antipyretic, an antiproliferative and as a natural supplement for weight loss. There are no adequate or well-controlled trials to substantiate any claims of effectiveness in humans for any indication (5).
Several previous reports described liver failure associated with the use of LipoKinetix, a multi-ingredient preparation containing usnic acid (6–8). In 2002, Favreau et al (6) reported on seven patients who developed acute hepatitis after using LipoKinetix. This dietary supplement contains sodium usniate, norephedrine, yohimbine, 3-5-diiodothyronine and caffeine; both usnic acid and ephedra alkaloids have been associated with severe hepatotoxicity. LipoKinetix withdrew the product from the market.
Durazo et al (7) reported on a healthy 28-year-old woman who developed acute liver failure within one month of commencing usnic acid (Pure Usnic acid, Industrial strength; AAA Services, USA) 500 mg/day for two weeks (7).
Sanchez et al (8) reported severe hepatotoxicity in a husband and wife (both 38 years of age) who were bodybuilders taking the multi-ingredient health supplement UCP-1 (BDC Nutrition, USA) for three months. UCP-1 contains usnic acid (150 mg), L-carnitine (525 mg) and calcium pyruvate (1050 mg) per capsule. The wife developed fulminant hepatic failure requiring liver transplantation. The husband experienced submassive necrosis but did not require liver transplantation. Another herbal remedy containing usnic acid – well known to be hepatotoxic – is kombucha tea. This is a beverage made by brewing kombucha mushrooms in sweet black tea (9).
Usnic acid has been shown to uncouple oxidative phosphorylation in a murine model, with resultant loss of mitochondrial respiratory control and inhibition of ATP synthesis. A direct hepatotoxic effect analogous to carbon tetrachloride-induced liver toxicity has also been described (10). Based on a case report (11) detailing three sisters with acute hepatitis after consumption of a ‘fat burner’ herb containing usnic acid, it was suggested that an inherent susceptibility was present.
Usnic acid is a weak inhibitor of cytochrome CYP2D6 and a potent inhibitor of cytochrome CYP2C19. Based on potent inhibition of CYP2C enzymes, usnic acid has significant potential to interact with other medications (5). Hepatotoxicity due to usnic acid appears to be idiosyncratic and is possibly due to a ‘convergence of risk factors’ (12).
Chinese green tea extracts are derivatives of the leaves of Camellia sinensis, which belongs to the aceae family. Green tea extracts have been marketed as effective weight-loss supplements, and for the prevention and cure of solid tumours. Although there is little scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of green tea extracts, serious side effects, including acute liver failure, are increasingly being reported (13,14). Similar cases have been reported from France and Spain resulting in the removal of the green tea extract ‘Exolise’ from the market (15). Two cases of fulminant hepatic failure associated with green tea extracts have been reported (16,17). Mitochondrial toxicity and the formation of reactive oxygen species have been demonstrated with epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a key constituent of green tea extracts. The possibility of an allergic reaction to green tea itself has also been reported (18).
Gum guggul and its constituents are increasingly being used as dietary supplements. Gum guggul is the oleoresin of Commiphora mukul, a plant native to India. Its extracts include compounds known for their hypolipidemic properties – the Z and E isomers of guggulsterone and its regulated guggulsterols. Human exposure to gum guggul most often occurs from ingesting herbal remedies or pharmaceuticals, and from the use of cosmetics. Side effects include skin rashes, irregular menstruation, diarrhea, headache, mild nausea and, with very high doses, liver toxicity. Guggulsterol was associated with acute hepatitis in a 63-year-old woman taking the natural lipid-lowering agent Equisterol (Istituto Farmacoterapico Italiano SpA, Italy), which also contains red yeast rice extract (19).
Based on the temporal relationship between the use of the dietary supplements and onset of liver failure, literature supporting reports of hepatotoxicity associated with dietary supplements and exclusion of other causes, it is fair to assume that the patient developed fulminant hepatic failure due to dietary supplements. In view of the bulk of the literature, of all the ingredients, usnic acid may have been predominantly responsible for the hepatoxicity. Although usnic acid was the main hepatotoxic agent, its effect was possibly perpetuated by other hepatotoxins, including green tea and gum guggul, also contained in the dietary supplements taken by the patient.
According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, dietary supplements are regulated as foods and are not subject to regulation as drugs by the FDA; manufacturers are not compelled to provide safety data to the FDA. However, increasing reports of liver failure due to usnic acid have triggered a regulatory warning and one voluntary product withdrawal (LipoKinetix) (20). Usnic acid is still available and advertised on the Internet as an ingredient in various other dietary supplements and fat burners. Usnic acid, green tea and guggul tree extracts are a few of the many herbal and dietary supplements associated with significant liver injury.
Five benefits of fennel tea
Share on PinterestFennel tea has long been enjoyed for its flavor, though many choose to drink it for its purported health benefits.
Through the ages, many health claims have been made for fennel, and drinking fennel tea is an established practice in traditional medicine throughout the world.
Although Western science has not verified all these benefits, humans have used fennel to:
- relieve flatulence
- encourage urination
- boost metabolism
- treat hypertension
- improve eyesight
- prevent glaucoma
- regulate appetite
- clear mucus from the airways
- stimulate milk production in nursing women
- speed digestion
- reduce gas
- reduce stress
- detoxify the body
Share on PinterestFennel tea may aid healthy digestion, and treat bloating, gas, or cramps, and may also act as a diuretic.
According to herbalists, fennel seed is an effective aid to digestion. It can help the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.
In fact, tinctures or teas made from fennel seeds can be used to treat stomach muscle spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system.
Fennel may also be used in combination with other herbal remedies to modify the side effects of herbal formulas used as laxatives, or other treatments for digestive problems.
1. Painful periods
Painful periods or dysmenorrhoea are a common problem for many women, who often use over-the-counter medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat the pain.
However, roughly 10-20 percent of women who suffer from severe cramping and discomfort during their period do not find relief through this approach.
Many turn to alternative or complementary treatments instead, and a 2012 study suggested that fennel can be helpful in this regard.
Researchers speculate that fennel helps keep the uterus from contracting, which is what prompts the pain reported by women with dysmenorrhea.
One of the significant benefits of fennel is its anti-spasmodic qualities. Because of this, some people believe that fennel tea may also play a role in reducing the symptoms of colic in infants.
3. Regulating blood sugar
Many herbalists and complementary healthcare practitioners recommend fennel tea as a way to regulate blood sugar.
A study in Bangladesh, in which mice were treated with an extract made from mentholated fennel seeds, found that, at some dosage levels, this extract reduced blood glucose levels at a rate comparable to that of standard antihyperglycemic medications.
4. Pain relief
Fennel is also considered helpful for pain relief. The same study from Bangladesh found that fennel extract reduced indications of pain at a level close to that provided by aspirin.
Staying well hydrated is important for overall health, so one of the more direct benefits of fennel tea is that it provides individuals with a tasty, caffeine-free beverage.
Fennel tea or fennel extract?
Extract of fennel seeds is not the same thing as fennel tea. Fennel tea is less processed and more likely to be pure; and the measurable, beneficial impacts of fennel tea suggest multiple reasons for drinking it. The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) do not monitor supplements and extracts of herbs.
Also, some people simply find fennel tea delicious.
At our Chalait cafe, one question that we are commonly asked by our enthusiastic patrons is Can you drink too much Matcha?
Without a doubt, Matcha is a superfood. One cup alone contains 15 times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries. This potent beverage is also delicious, to be enjoyed as a pre-workout booster or during your afternoon slump to keep your mind clear and focused throughout the rest of the workday.
At Chalait we recommend drinking up to 2-3 cups of Matcha per day. This is based on a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons per day. This will provide you with a powder keg of health benefits and ensures you don’t overdo the caffeine or ingest too many EGCGs
Can Matcha damage my liver?
In 2016 the Norwegian Food Safety Authority issued a warning about green tea extract supplements. Since then, studies find that while ingesting antioxidants and in particular catechins through green tea and matcha, the use of green tea extract supplements can be concerning.
Unlike a Matcha beverage, these food supplements are over-packed with the active substance EGCG with doses that range up to 1000mg/day. It is the European Food and Safety Authority opinion that a dose of 800mg/day or above can lead to initial signs of liver damage.
For a healthy person, a cup of Matcha, or two is perfectly safe for your liver. The EFSA’s warning is directed at high levels of EGCG found in supplements, and found “no indication of liver injury for doses below 800mg/day”
What are EGCGs?
EGCG stands for Epigallocatechin gallate and is a type of plant-based catechin which is found in tea, chocolate and wine.
As the health benefits of catechins have come to light, EGCGs has been the focus of many health studies and trials. In particular, EGCG is being studied on its effect in cardiovascular health and in the fight against cancer.
The best way to consume EGCG is through food and beverage, closest to the source as possible. A cup of matcha a day will provide you with a healthy dose of EGCG and antioxidants.
What is it about the magical, mystical properties of this ground green tea that makes it one of the most desirable ingredients among the fashion and wellness warrior set? Is it a legit health boost that should be integrated into your daily regimen? Or a health fad doomed to fall by way of coconut oil?
Evidence pointing to a boost exists in abundance. But first, let’s clarify what matcha is to begin with — in case you were trapped under something heavy these past few years. It’s basically green tea, derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, finely ground. Oxford’s Living Dictionary cites its origins in Japan as a combo of two terms, “from matsu ‘to rub’ + cha ‘tea’, from Chinese (Mandarin dialect) chá (see tea).” Matcha masters House of Matcha say the beverage is steeped in history. “Samurai warriors drank matcha green tea before going into battle because of its energizing properties, and Zen Buddhist monks drank it as a way to flow through meditation while remaining alert,” reads the website.
Matcha is not just exotic in sound but in formulation, ranging from lower “cooking grade” powders to more expensive “ceremonial grade” powders, with enough selection to agonize over when choosing one to top your chia pudding.
To get the best quality matcha (according to the matcha set, it matters), make sure your matcha is bright green — the greener, the better. The darker the matcha, the older the matcha, and its beneficial properties weaken over time.
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The Science Behind Matcha’s Health Halo
According to science, matcha is something of a miracle supplement. For one, it makes you feel good. One recent study examined the effects of the phytochemicals in green tea on mood and cognition. The combo of caffeine (present in most green teas) and L-theanine, an amino acid found in some teas, were found to “improve performance in attention-switching tasks and alertness, but to a lesser extent than caffeine alone,” partly because of how L-theanine chills you out.
On the same note, another study performed on mice, found that drinking green tea does, in fact, reduce stress and curb the bouncy jitters one might get from drinking a caffeinated beverage.
Mind you, green tea is caffeinated and matcha is an even more caffeinated form of green tea, containing approximately 34mgs of caffeine where traditional green tea averages at about 30mgs and an espresso has around 60mgs, but the L-theanine in matcha prolongs its mood-boosting effects.
Another big draw health benefit-wise is that matcha, like green tea, is loaded with antioxidants. A study, published in 2014, found the plant also had antimicrobial properties, particularly the four types of catechins (antioxidant properties flavonoids) it contains, against a few different types of microorganisms. Yet another study, published in Nature, proved that catechins inhibit the growth of a bacteria called Fusobacterium nucleatum — the bacteria that causes cavities and periodontal disease.
Those magical catechins also have tons of potential in helping people with heart issues. “Catechins present in green tea have the ability to prevent atherosclerosis, hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, ischemic heart diseases, cardiomyopathy, cardiac hypertrophy and congestive heart failure by decreasing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, reducing platelet aggregation and halting the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells,” explains the author of the study, published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines.
There was also much hype that the winning caffeine and catechin combo stimulates the nervous system, which is said to rev your metabolism by stoking the thermogenesis (burning stored energy) process and fat oxidation, though only ever so slightly. A piece on NPR revealed the increase is practically negligible and can’t be sustained over time.
Matcha ice cream is a popular ice cream flavor in Japan and abroad. Jirat Teparaksa / / Jirat Teparaksa
How to Use Matcha: The Dos and Don’ts
Even with negligible evidence that matcha can boost a weight-loss regimen, the substance remains heavily endorsed. Philadelphia-based nutritionist Marjorie Cohn regularly enjoys matcha, adding it to her smoothies and chia seed pudding — even mixing it into her recipe for organic vanilla ice cream. She often recommends it to clients looking to cut out coffee, or to “hard core caffeine addicts” prone to reaching for a second or third cup of coffee.
“It’s easy to get lost in the hype. The tendency is to imagine that more is better, and that’s just not the case.”
“The research is still in the discovery phase on matcha but seems as though our ancient ancestors got it right with this one,” she says.
Though matcha is a “nutritional powerhouse,” Janie Zeitlin, a registered dietitian in White Plains, NY and New York City, says it’s not for everyone, and that pregnant and nursing women should skip it altogether.
“Consuming too much of this potent antioxidant has been linked to decreased iron absorption, lead contamination, liver damage if taken with acetaminophen and to altered effectiveness of prescription medications. In fact, these adverse effects may be three times as likely to occur when drinking matcha as opposed to brewed green tea,” she says.
It seems matcha has more going for it than coconut oil, but it’s not a magical elixir to OD on. “It’s easy to get lost in the hype,” says Zeitlin. “The tendency is to imagine that more is better, and that’s just not the case.”
One-1/2 teaspoon serving of matcha, no more than once daily, is certainly a valuable addition to any diet, says Zeitlin. Like with another substance currently having a moment, turmeric, you can get your dose by eating or drinking it, though Zeitlin says drinking it as a tea, how it was initially intended, provides all the benefits without the added calories.
Matcha Tea Can Be Super-Healthy—If You Heed This Warning
You know green tea is really good for you. Its antioxidant compounds show up in studies as protective against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, obesity and more. But you’re probably not going to start drinking four or more cups every day—even 10 cups a day in some studies—like many Chinese and Japanese people do. How to get the bennies without all the cuppas?
The models at Fashion Week in New York City had a solution. Backstage, for energy and Zen balance, they sipped little shots of matcha green tea, a specific kind that contains unusually high levels of antioxidants. There’s also matcha tea powder that has become today’s “it” ingredient in everything from smoothies to latte to fruit pops to very, very green muffins. Matcha, it seems, is suddenly and literally on everyone’s lips.
Does it deserve the hype? There’s no question that it can be a very healthy beverage or even recipe ingredient. But now that it’s a fad, and everyone’s getting into the act, be careful about matcha products that are unhealthy—or even unsafe…because they are contaminated with heavy metals. So it pays to be matcha savvy. Here’s what you need to know to safely benefit from this unique form of green tea.
GOOD STUFF IN A SMALL PACKAGE
For matcha, concentration is the name of the game. It’s made from green tea, so it contains the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), responsible for many of green tea’s health benefits, as well as the amino acid L-theanine, which has antianxiety properties (more about that in a moment).
It has about three times as much EGCG as standard brewed green tea, according to some estimates. It also has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
How does matcha deliver this bioactive bounty? It’s a combination of how it’s grown and how it’s prepared. Unlike with other varieties, a few weeks before harvest, the plant is covered from the sun, which causes it to produce more EGCG and L-theanine. Another unusual step: After harvest, the leaves are ground into a fine powder. And matcha is also prepared differently. When you drink matcha, you’re actually drinking a “suspension” of ground leaves infused in water, rather than a typical brew where leaves are steeped and then removed from the cup or pot. Hence, you are actually consuming the leaves and, along with them, more green tea compounds.
The L-theanine may be responsible for one of matcha’s coveted benefits—a pleasant sense that users say it brings that may be described as “alert calmness.” Credit caffeine for the alertness, of course. L-theanine, on the other hand, has been shown in studies to reduce anxiety.
MATCHA DOs—AND ONE BIG DON’T
Matcha has long been appreciated in the East. In Japan it forms part of the traditional tea ceremony and is the most revered form of tea. Because matcha involves consuming the entire tea leaf, however, the origin of any matcha powder you consume is extremely important for your safety. Here’s what you need to know…
• Tea plants grown in soil that is contaminated with lead will absorb it into the leaves, and, because you are consuming the entire leaf, more lead may wind up in your cup. In one study from the research organization ConsumerLab, tea grown in China had high lead concentrations.
• Your best bet: Stick to matcha teas grown in Japan, and look for brands that report consistent testing for the presence of heavy metals. In the ConsumerLab’s study, for example, the one tea tested that came from Japan, Teavana, had no detectable lead.
• The highest-quality matcha comes from the southern regions of Japan—Kyushu, Nishio, Shizuoka and Uji.
• Good-quality matcha is bright, vivid green and will have a find powdery consistency—anything yellowish or coarse is not likely to taste very good.
• Expect to pay about $26 to $32 for a standard 30-gram tin (about an ounce). Anything cheaper is not likely to have good flavor.
• One cup of matcha calls for about one gram of dry powder, so a 30-gram tin should give you a cup of matcha tea every day for a month. (You can get a special measuring spoon from a matcha supplier, along with a whisk to prepare the tea in a bowl.)
• Now that matcha has become popular in the US, some prepared versions may have plenty of added sugar. Skip them, and make the real thing yourself.
• Ready to try it? Here’s a quick video tutorial from Kenko Tea, an Australian brand that gets its matcha from the Nishio region of Japan and ships worldwide. Other reputable brands include DoMatcha, and MidoriSpring.
So go ahead, enjoy your own tea ceremony. Matcha has a grassy, slightly bitter flavor…some people compare it to that of kale or spinach. You can try it the traditional way or experiment with adding the powder to recipes. Just remember that tossing matcha into your 1,000-calorie ice cream milkshake doesn’t suddenly turn it into a health drink!
What foods protect the liver?
Some of the best foods and drinks that are good for the liver include:
Share on PinterestDrinking coffee offers protection against fatty liver disease.
A 2013 review that appears in the journal Liver International suggests that over 50 percent of people in the United States consume coffee daily.
Coffee appears to be good for the liver, especially because it protects against issues such as fatty liver disease.
The review also notes that daily coffee intake may help reduce the risk of chronic liver disease. It may also protect the liver from damaging conditions, such as liver cancer.
A 2014 study that appears in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology suggests that the protective effects of coffee are due to how it influences liver enzymes.
Coffee, it reports, seems to reduce fat buildup in the liver. It also increases protective antioxidants in the liver. Compounds in coffee also help liver enzymes rid the body of cancer-causing substances.
Consuming oatmeal is an easy way to add fiber to the diet. Fiber is an important tool for digestion, and the specific fibers in oats may be especially helpful for the liver. Oats and oatmeal are high in compounds called beta-glucans.
As a 2017 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports, beta-glucans are very biologically active in the body. They help modulate the immune system and fight against inflammation, and they may be especially helpful in the fight against diabetes and obesity.
The review also notes that beta-glucans from oats appear to help reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver in mice, which could also help protect the liver. More clinical studies are necessary to confirm this, however.
People looking to add oats or oatmeal to their diet should look for whole oats or steel-cut oats, rather than prepackaged oatmeal. Prepackaged oatmeal may contain fillers such as flour or sugars, which will not be as beneficial for the body.
3. Green tea
Share on PinterestConsuming green tea may help reduce overall fat content.
A 2015 study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology notes that green tea may help reduce overall fat content, fight against oxidative stress, and reduce other signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
It is important to note that tea may be better than extracts, as some extracts may damage the liver rather than heal it.
The study notes that there are still no specific recommendations for people with this condition to consume tea or tea extracts, but the link to liver health is promising.
Adding garlic to the diet may also help stimulate the liver. A 2016 study that appears in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research notes that garlic consumption reduces body weight and fat content in people with NAFLD, with no changes to lean body mass. This is beneficial, as being overweight or obese is a contributing factor to NAFLD.
Many dark berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries, contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which may help protect the liver from damage.
As a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests, regularly eating berries may also help stimulate the immune system.
The study that features in the World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that grapes, grape juice, and grape seeds are rich in antioxidants that may help the liver by reducing inflammation and preventing liver damage.
Eating whole, seeded grapes is a simple way to add these compounds to the diet. A grape seed extract supplement may also provide antioxidants.
The World Journal of Gastroenterology study also mentions grapefruit as a helpful food. Grapefruit contains two primary antioxidants: naringin and naringenin. These may help protect the liver from injury by reducing inflammation and protecting the liver cells.
The compounds may also reduce fat buildup in the liver and increase the enzymes that burn fat. This may make grapefruit a helpful tool in the fight against NAFLD.
8. Prickly pear
The fruit and juice of the prickly pear may also be beneficial to liver health. The World Journal of Gastroenterology study suggests that compounds in the fruit may help protect the organ.
Most research focuses on extracts from the fruit, however, so studies that focus on the fruit or juice itself are necessary.
9. Plant foods in general
Share on PinterestAvocados and other plant foods contain compounds linked closely to liver health.
A 2015 study that appears in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that a large number of plant foods may be helpful for the liver.
- beets and beet juice
- brown rice
- greens such as kale and collards
People should eat these foods as part of a whole and balanced diet.
10. Fatty fish
As a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology points out, consuming fatty fish and fish oil supplements may help reduce the impact of conditions such as NAFLD.
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good fats that help reduce inflammation. These fats may be especially helpful in the liver, as they appear to prevent the buildup of excess fats and maintain enzyme levels in the liver.
The study recommends eating oily fish two or more times each week. If it is not easy to incorporate fatty fish such as herring or salmon into the diet, try taking a daily fish oil supplement.
The same study says that eating nuts may be another simple way to keep the liver healthy and protect against NAFLD. Nuts generally contain unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants. These compounds may help prevent NAFLD, as well as reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Eating a handful of nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, each day may help maintain liver health. People should be sure not to eat too many, however, as nuts are high in calories.
12. Olive oil
Eating too much fat is not good for the liver, but some fats may help it. According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology study, adding olive oil to the diet may help reduce oxidative stress and improve liver function. This is due to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major cause of chronic liver disease, and is the most common form of chronic liver disease in many industrialized countries. In the United States, there are over 64 million people with NAFLD, with annual direct medical costs of about $103 billion ($1,613 per patient). In the Europe-4 countries (Germany, France, Italy, and United Kingdom), there are about 52 million people with NAFLD with an annual cost of about $37 billion (from $379 to $1245 patient) (Younossi et al., 2016). NAFLD represents a wide spectrum of liver conditions ranging from non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) (Angulo, 2002; Liou and Kowdley, 2006; Ludwig et al., 1980). The prevalence of the latter, a progressive type of fatty liver disease, is increasing significantly in adolescents, rising 4-fold between 1988 and 2010 (AASLD, The Liver Meeting, 2016). A significant prevalence of the NASH is evident among Mexican-American children (15.4%), which may have a genetic predisposition, although there are significant correlations with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension), oxidative stress and inflammation, elevated BMI and the amount of visceral fat and NASH, and the development of NAFLD (Perseghin, 2011; Sobhonslidsuk et al., 2007; Verrijken et al., 2011).
As mentioned in previous sections, periodontal inflammation often leads to superficial ulcers on the gingival sulcus, where blood capillaries are exposed to microbial biofilms (D’Aiuto et al., 2004), and that Gram-negative periodontal pathogens, like P. gingivalis, are translocated from the sulcus into the bloodstream, resulting in bacteremia. Transient bacteremia has been demonstrated in clinical trials to occur after preventative dental procedures and periodontal therapy, including tooth brushing, chewing, subgingival irrigation, periodontal treatment, and dental extractions, at reported frequencies ranging from 17% to 100% in infected individuals (Caroll and Sebor, 1980; Forner et al., 2006; Sconyer et al., 1973), also see other sections in this chapter for further evidence. Bacteremia and associated secretion of proinflammatory cytokines originating from periodontal infections are associated with several systemic diseases, as have already been described in earlier sections in this chapter, including cardiovascular diseases, preterm low birth weight, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, oral, head and neck cancers and Alzheimer’s disease (Beck et al., 1996; Offenbacher et al., 1999a,b; Scannapieco et al., 2003). Recent evidence also implicates periodontal pathogen infection in the pathogenesis and progression of NAFLD, and liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis B or C infection (Nagao et al., 2014; Yoneda et al., 2012), suggesting that infection may be involved in the mechanism of onset of fibrosis and NAFLD, as periodontal pathogens are in themselves, or the endotoxin or cytokines that are released from the bacteria, can enter the circulating blood relatively easily in infected individuals, due to compromised barrier function. Yoneda and others (2012) reported that most NAFLD patients with P. gingivalis infection, a major periodontal pathogen, show bacteria with invasive types of fimbriae, such as II, IV, and Ib, which aid in the bacteria to proliferate and promote the progression of systemic disease. These fimbriae are particularly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes (Ojima et al., 2005). As a consequence, both diabetes mellitus and periodontal infection may cooperate to increase the risk of progression from NAFL to NASH. As an example, when comparing patients with NASH/NAFLD, that either had or did not have P. gingivalis infection, a statistically significant decrease in serum albumin was observed in the infection-free patients (Yoneda et al., 2012), suggesting that a decrease in liver function may be associated with P. gingivalis infection. In addition, these investigators also found a trend towards higher hyaluronic acid and IV collagen 7S levels, which are indices of the progression of liver fibrosis, suggesting that periodontal infection may be an accelerating factor in liver fibrosis and decreased liver function. Thus, periodontal infection may be one of the risk factors for not only the second stage of progression to NASH, but also the initial stage of the pathogenesis for NAFLD. In fact, Hoekstra and others (2010) found that infection with type II P. gingivalis in a NAFLD murine model significantly increased the independent NAFLD progression, which the author’s noted was likely due to the pathogen’s significant virulence factors (see virulence factors for this bacterium in the introduction of the periodontal disease section).
Periodontal diseases have also been associated with liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis C (HCV) and/or B (HBV) infection (Nagao et al., 2014). Nagao and colleagues determined that patients that tested positive during a salivary occult blood test, which is indicative of periodontal disease, had a high correlation with elevated AFP level, thrombocytopenia, hypoalbumenemia and hyperbilirubinemia, all indices associated with liver disease progression, as compared with patients with slight or no periodontitis. Furthermore, the researchers also found that the prevalence of fimA genotype II, a specific type of invasive fimbria from specific periodontal pathogens, was significantly higher in patients with liver cirrhosis (50%) than those with only hepatitis C (21.43%). Moura-Grec and others (2014), in review, also using meta-analysis that obesity was a significant risk factor of periodontal disease (odds ratio = 1.30 ), and between mean BMI and periodontal disease (mean difference = 2.75).
Although a strong correlation has been found between periodontal disease and NASH/NAFLD has been shown, discerning a definitive mechanism of periodontal infection-mediated pathogenesis of NASH/NAFLD has yet been elusive. However, an early model of pathogenesis of NASH/NAFLD, proposed by Day and James (1988), focused on their progression in two stages. The first stage, one that caused insulin resistance, that, in turn, resulted in excessive lipid accumulation in the hepatocytes, and the other stage that was caused by cellular challenges, such as oxidative stress, lipid toxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction, and/or bacterial endotoxins from the gut and periodontium, that, in turn, resulted in the development of NASH/NAFLD (Fabbrini et al., 2010; Cheung and Sanyal, 2009), Fig. 10.5.
Figure 10.5. Periodontitis linked with the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Poor oral hygiene and a high-fat diet high contribute to oral- and gut dysbiosis (1), decreasing Gram (+) bacteria, while increasing Gram (-) bacteria in the oral and gut microbiomes. Gram (-) bacteria produce endotoxtins (2) , which cross oral and gut epithelia, due to local inflammation and ulceration (3). Once in circulation, the bacteria and endotoxins induce systemic immune responses (4). This activation leads to defects in insulin signaling and decreased adiponectin. Peripheral insulin resistance (IR) leads to increase free fatty acid (FFA) delivery to the liver, resulting in an imbalance between oxidation and export of FFA and uptake and synthesis; promoting steatosis. Increased hepatic FFA also induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and hepatocyte inflammation and apoptosis via activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Adipose tissue secretes adipocytokines, such as leptin, that directly influences the regulation of adipocyte metabolism, and several other insulin-mediated processes. Activation of the immune response also decreases adiponectin, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-steatotic. The secretion of adiponectin is, in part, regulated by tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), which has its synthesis promoted by nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB).
In fact, Cani and Delzenne (2009) showed the effects of high-fat diet on gut dysbiosis and increased serum LPS on insulin resistance, lipogenesis, inflammation and liver steatosis. The excessive accumulation of lipid in the liver, a characteristic of the first stage of pathogenesis of NASH/NAFLD, is a consequence of an imbalance between the influx and synthesis of liver lipids and their β-oxidation and export of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs). The resulting fatty hepatocytes become sensitized to repeated challenge from second stage events, leading to hepatocyte injury, inflammation and fibrosis. These second stage factors are related to oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, and cytokine production, such as TNF-α/β and, ILs-8/6/1 (Cani and Delzenne, 2009; Day and James, 1998; Day, 2002). However, data suggest that this simple two stage pathogenicity model of NASH/NAFLD is likely over simplified, and the actual pathogenesis is more complex (Neuschwander-Tetri, 2010). Research has indicated that fat distribution, particularly the levels of visceral fat, rather than total fat, correlates with inflammation and fibrosis in human NAFLD (van der Poorten et al., 2008). Marchesini and others (2003) also determined that patients with NASH have visceral obesity in 48% of cases as compared with 31% of patients with pure steatosis (P = 0.005). Visceral adiposity is also an important risk factor for pediatric NAFLD (Fishbein et al., 2006). The mechanisms linking visceral adipose tissue and liver disease are currently poorly understood, although the drainage of the venous blood of the gastrointestinal system, including visceral fat, via the portal system to the liver, which represents a unique link between the two, may be implicated in the association.
Visceral adiposity is known, together with insulin resistance, to be a predictor of steatosis-associated increase in portal pressure (Francque et al., 2011). NAFLD-induced liver alterations, such as NEFA flux, insulin resistance and adipokines, along with oxidative stress and inflammation, also increase the pathogenesis associated with visceral adipose tissue (Francque et al., 2010a,b). Based on these data, and especially in an insulin-resistant state, visceral fat can be considered as a major factor to fatty liver, and it has been reported that its presence may be even more influential than BMI in terms of predicting the presence of fatty liver (Kral et al., 1993).
10.2.9.1 Conclusion of periodontal infection and liver disease
Periodontal infection is observed in significant frequency in NAFLD/NASH patients. Infection of more virulent types of periodontal pathogens, such as type II fimA P. gingivalis, has also been shown to significantly increase progression of NAFLD. In addition, periodontitis may also be associated with progression of viral liver disease, such as hepatitis C and B. Non-surgical periodontal treatments carried out for three months have been shown to ameliorate liver function parameters, such as serum levels of AST and ALT (Yoneda et al., 2012). As NAFLD and NASH are significantly increasing in their prevalence, particularly in adolescents, controlling periodontal disease is as essential as controlling other risk factors associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome, to limit their onset and progression.
Green Tea and Fatty Liver Disease
Your liver is the largest and one of the most important internal organs in your body. It serves vital roles, including removing toxins from your blood and converting food to fuel. Fatty liver disease is when your liver accumulates fat. It is reversible and commonly seen in alcoholics, but is also seen in non-alcoholics. Substances in green tea appear to have benefits if you have fatty liver disease.
NAFLD is when you develop excess fat in your liver, yet you drink little to no alcohol. It is normal for your liver to contain a small amount of fat, however if 5 to 10 percent of your liver’s weight is fat, you are considered to have fatty liver disease. Risk factors include diabetes, high cholesterol and being overweight, according to the American Liver Foundation. However, fatty liver is also seen in people with no risk factors. Non-alcoholic liver disease is considered a non-serious condition 1. Though it is not normal to have accumulated fat in your liver cells, that alone does not damage your liver. A small number of people with NAFLD develop a more serious fatty liver condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which causes liver inflammation and damage.
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is a common consequence when you consume excess alcohol. It is one of the earlier consequences of chronic alcohol consumption, but can develop into more severe liver conditions, such as alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is when your liver becomes scarred. This scarring makes it hard for your liver to function optimally, so poor liver function is a common result. The cessation of drinking helps to improve alcoholic fatty liver disease 1.
Green Tea Benefits
Green tea is made from green tea leaves and it contains beneficial chemicals. Among them is epigallocatechin-3-gallate, also known as EGCG. It is part of a larger group of compounds called polyphenols, which exert antioxidant effects and can help to protect your cells and tissues from the damage of unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are atoms with unpaired electrons, which makes them unstable. They go around stealing electrons from healthy cells in an effort to pair with their own electrons, but this damages healthy cells and tissues. Antioxidants find free radicals and pair up with them, which neutralizes them and prevents them from causing damage.
Green Tea Improves Fatty Liver Disease
A study published in the September 2008 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition” examined the effects of EGCG on fatty liver symptoms in high-fat fed mice. Mice were treated with EGCG for four weeks. The study concluded that EGCG treatment helped to reverse fatty liver disease and helps to reduce inflammation. Another group of mice treated for 16 weeks had even more benefits. The study noted that the long-term treated mice had reduced body weight gain and fat percentage. More research is needed, but it appears green tea has beneficial effects on fatty liver disease and fat metabolism.
The typical cup of green tea contains 50 mg to 150 mg of polyphenols, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 3. Green tea is also available as an extract in liquid and capsules. In absence of definitive human studies, therapeutic dosage information for fatty liver disease is lacking. However, according to the UMMC, you can drink two or three cups daily to get its benefits.
‘The food supplement that ruined my liver’
Image copyright Jim McCants
Jim McCants took green tea capsules in a drive to get healthy in middle age. His doctors now say they left him needing an urgent liver transplant, writes the BBC’s Tristan Quinn.
It should have been one of the happiest days of his life. But Jim McCants looks back on his youngest son’s high school graduation with mixed emotions. As he sat down next to his wife Cathleen in the university auditorium, just outside Dallas, Texas, she turned to look at him.
It was shocking partly because Jim, then 50, had been working on improving his lifestyle and losing weight, focusing on eating more healthily and taking regular exercise.
“My dad had a heart attack at aged 59 and he did not make it,” says Jim. “There’s a lot that he missed out on with us and I was determined to do what I can to take care of myself as best I can, so that I don’t miss out.”
But soon after his son’s graduation, Jim was admitted to hospital with a suspected liver injury.
Image copyright Jim McCants Image caption Jim, his son and his wife, at his son’s graduation
Trying to identify the cause of Jim’s liver injury, those treating him ruled out alcohol.
“For the last 30 years I drank maybe a six-pack of beer a year, no wine. So alcohol was not a big part of my life,” Jim says.
They also ruled out prescription drugs – he wasn’t taking any at the time – and smoking, something he had never done.
“Then my hepatologist drilled in to, ‘What about any over-the-counter supplements?'” says Jim.
Find out more
Watch the BBC Two Horizon programme Vitamin pills: Miracle or Myth? online (UK viewers only)
BBC Food: Can a vitamin pill a day keep the doctor away?
As part of his mid-life health kick, Jim had started taking a green tea supplement because he had heard it might have cardiac benefits. These supplements have grown in popularity in recent years, often breathlessly promoted online for their antioxidant benefits, and their supposed ability to aid weight loss and prevent cancer.
“I felt fine then,” remembers Jim, who lives in Prosper, north of Dallas. “I was walking or running 30-to-60 minutes, five or six days a week.” He was working as a finance manager but hoped to retrain as a physician assistant. “I was taking two or three classes at a time at nights and at weekends,” he recalls.
He had been taking the green tea supplement for two to three months when he became ill. According to Jim’s medical record this is the presumed cause of his liver injury. “It was shocking because I’d only heard about the benefits,” remembers Jim. “I’d not heard about any problems.”
After his admission to hospital, Jim went into a “holding pattern”, waiting for the results of a series of blood tests to establish the seriousness of his liver injury. Then, about three weeks after his wife had first noticed he looked ill, one of his liver doctors delivered the news he had been fearing: “She said you need a liver transplant. This has to happen fast. You have days – you don’t have a week.”
Jim was stunned.
“I was thinking this looks very bleak for me. It really crystallises what’s important in life. I wasn’t there thinking about projects at work. I was thinking of different people that were important to me for different reasons.”
Image copyright Getty Images
What is it about green tea supplements that might cause harm at certain doses to some people? Scientists do not know for certain. Because green tea has been drunk for thousands of years, supplements consisting of its concentrated form are regulated in the US and Europe as foods, not medicines. That means that specific safety testing has not been required, so the scientific picture of how green tea supplements might affect our health is incomplete.
“If you are drinking modest amounts of green tea you’re very safe,” says Prof Herbert Bonkovsky, director of liver services at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, who has been tracking injuries linked to green tea supplements for nearly 20 years. “The greater risk comes in people who are taking these more concentrated extracts.”
Concern has focused on a potentially toxic ingredient called Epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG, the most abundant of the naturally occurring compounds with antioxidant properties in green tea, called catechins. There are likely to be a number of factors that might make an individual susceptible to harm from EGCG including genetics, and the way supplements are used.
“Usually people are taking these green tea extracts trying to lose weight, so they’re often not eating,” Dr Bonkovsky explains. “We know from animal studies that fasted animals absorb a much higher percentage of the catechins than do fat animals. There may well be other factors of other drugs, other chemicals, use of alcohol that are also important as modifying factors.”
Antioxidants are a group of vitamins and other compounds that for many have taken on miraculous properties, helping to drive the global market for supplements of all kinds, now worth more than £100bn per year.
Antioxidants ward off “free radicals”, molecules produced in our cells as they turn oxygen and food into energy. Just as oxygen and water corrode iron, too many free radicals can damage our cells.
In the 1950s, Prof Denham Harman theorised that free radicals drove the process by which the body ages and could lead to disease.
But some scientists now believe that free radicals at certain levels may be beneficial for human health, and argue that the orthodox view of the last half century that antioxidants are an unalloyed good is outdated.
While millions of people take green tea supplements safely, at least 80 cases of liver injury linked to green tea supplements have been reported around the world, ranging from lassitude and jaundice to cases requiring liver transplants. Those harmed after taking green tea pills have included teenagers, like 17-year-old Madeline Papineau from Ontario, Canada who developed liver and kidney injury, and an 81-year-old woman diagnosed with toxic acute hepatitis.
A recent investigation by the European Food Safety Authority into the safety of green tea concluded that catechins from green tea drinks are “generally safe”, but when taken as supplements catechin doses at or above 800mg per day “may pose health concerns”. The EFSA could not identify a safe dose on the basis of available data and called for more research to be carried out.
The day after Jim was told he needed a liver transplant, amazingly he was told a suitable liver had been found. “I was elated. The phone call that there was a match gave me hope that there would be something positive on the other side of this for me,” he says.
The liver transplant saved Jim’s life. But four years later he still has serious health problems including kidney disease that may require dialysis and a transplant in the future. He sees his liver and kidney doctors twice a year, and lives with chronic abdominal pain.
“My life before was pretty active. And now it’s much more sedentary and I struggle with fatigue,” he says.
It’s a “tremendous blessing”, as he puts it, that his managers allow him to work from home. “I may need a lie down for 20 or 30 minutes during the day. I’m able to just let my manager know I’m going offline, I’ll be back.”
Jim is pursuing a lawsuit against the American firm Vitacost, which sold the green tea supplement he took. “I’m hoping that they make the decision to put a very strong warning label on the product, on the website, let people know before they buy it,” he says.
Vitacost did not want to comment on the legal case, but said: “We take the safety of our Vitacost brand supplements very seriously and stand behind the quality of our products.”
Four years on, Jim reflects on how his life and that of his family changed after he took a green tea supplement.
“I didn’t expect harm. I expected that I might waste my money, I may take these and they don’t do a bit of good. I can accept that risk,” he says. “But the risk that it could cause my liver to fail, that’s a risk that’s too high for somebody to take.”
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British army officer Naima Houder-Mohammed paid thousands of dollars to the father of the alkaline diet, Robert O Young, for a treatment that she falsely believed would cure her cancer. The treatment consisted mainly of intravenous infusions of baking soda.
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Could Green Tea Help Prevent Liver Cancer?
If you’re at risk for liver cancer, you might do well to drink green tea. That’s the message from a liver expert at the Mayo Clinic, reacting to a new study that investigated a green tea extract’s effect on a newly identified marker of liver cancer prognosis.
People at risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of liver cancer), include those with hepatitis B or C virus (HBV/HCV). Whether members of this population can reduce their risk of liver cancer by regularly drinking green tea or consuming green tea extract is a matter for further study—scientists still need to identify whether there is a causal connection between the disease and the drink or daily capsules.
According to the author of the new study, Fung-Lung Chung, PhD, a senior faculty member in the department of oncology at Georgetown University, taking the type of green tea extract that’s readily available as a dietary supplement at the very least probably couldn’t hurt. However, given the lax governmental regulation of the supplements industry, the quality of store-bought green tea extract is not guaranteed. Recent investigations have found that for many supplements the connection between what’s promised on the label and what’s inside is tenuous at best.
Published in the journal Hepatology, Chung and his colleagues’ study looked at a potential liver cancer biomarker known as g-OHPdG in three different types of mouse research models that have been created to help scientists study the progression of liver cancer in the animals. Chung and his team, who were looking to determine whether this biomarker was a good predictor of liver cancer prognosis, also tested g-OHPdG’s effects on tissue samples from humans with liver cancer.
As for what g-OHPdG actually does to the body, it can cause mutations to DNA and has been well established by previous research as a major driver of genetic mutation in smoking-driven lung cancer. What remains unknown is what role g-OHPdG may play in liver cancer.
Chung and his fellow researchers found that g-OHPdG levels rose with age in certain mice that had initially been engineered to study skin cancer. These animals lacked a key gene that gives rise to a mechanism that repairs DNA damage associated with that cancer. Previous research showed that such mice were also at high risk for liver cancer, so Chung decided to repurpose them for his own research in that field.
To study how suppressing g-OHPdG might have a beneficial effect on liver cancer progression, Chung’s group tested the related effects of three antioxidants, including one called Theaphenon E, a green tea extract known to have quite strong antioxidative effects. The scientists found that the extract not only lowered g-OHPdG levels the most of the three antioxidants, but it also prevented liver tumors from forming and lowered the number and size of such tumors.
In the final step of their research, the investigators tested the levels of g-OHPdG in humans who had liver cancer and had a liver resection, meaning that part of their liver had been surgically removed. (The liver can regenerate itself if a part has been taken out, which allows for such surgeries.) It turned out that higher levels of the biomarker were strongly linked to a shorter survival time as well as to surviving without a recurrence of the liver cancer.
Consequently, the researchers concluded that g-OHPdG levels can help predict the prognosis of liver cancer in humans.
Harmeet Malhi, MBBS, of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, published an accompanying analysis of the study in Hepatology. Her essay posed more broad questions about whether imbibing green tea could help prevent liver cancer in humans.
Malhi noted that the study’s evidence that Theaphenon E could help prevent liver cancer is in line with a few large studies that have examined green tea’s possible effects on large groups of people. One study conducted in China compared about 200 people with liver cancer with about 400 cancer-free individuals and found that more green tea consumption was associated with a lower risk of such cancer. The group with the lowest risk of liver cancer included those who had drunk the beverage for longer than 30 years—they had a 56 percent lower risk of the disease compared with those who didn’t drink green tea.
Another study of East Asian populations, which included 465,000 people who experienced 3,700 cases of liver cancer, found that consuming green tea was associated with a 12 percent reduced risk of the disease.
A European study including data on nearly half a million people with a median of 11 years of follow-up among them concluded that green tea was tied to a 59 percent lower risk of liver cancer.
Importantly, these studies are all limited by the fact that they were observational in nature. Because they did not randomize a study group to drink green tea or refrain from doing so, they could not determine a cause-and-effect relationship between the beverage and liver cancer.
Asked whether individuals could try to replicate the effects of green tea extract as seen in the mice he studied, Chung says that to achieve an equivalent dose of Theaphenon E by simply drinking green tea would require individuals to consume an impractically massive amount of the liquid.
“You’d need to drink a couple thousand cups of tea a day,” he estimates. “So it’s not realistic.”
Could individuals go for green tea extract instead then?
“I don’t think it would hurt,” Chung says, but underlines the need for clinical trials of the extract’s effects in humans.
His team is already doing just that, studying whether among those with cirrhosis of the liver, a green tea extract called polyphenol E can prevent liver cancer. This clinical grade of extract is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and thus manufactured under strict protocols to ensure its potency and consistency.
Chung’s study about g-OHPdG is limited by the fact that it was based on tissue samples from only a small number of humans. Additionally, his group was not able to determine whether levels of the biomarker are independently associated with health outcomes after controlling for other known factors that predict liver cancer prognosis, including tumor size, the number of lesions on the organ and others. The researchers also could not determine whether g-OHPdG itself actually causes the progression of liver cancer.
All that said, Malhi argued in her essay that in g-OHPdG, Chung and his team had found an important biomarker “that can help select a subgroup of patients who may benefit from Theaphenon E/green tea consumption.”
- #green tea
- #hepatitis B
- #liver cancer
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You probably only donate to charity a few times a year, at most — around holidays, in response to tragedies or maybe just when you finally think of it.
Doing your part is both impactful and rewarding, but sometimes it can be discouraging to try to find the right cause, then fill out a lengthy form with your personal and financial information. What if, in addition to your regular donations, you could give a little bit every day without even needing to think about it?
Well, you can, armed with a few Google Chrome extensions designed to help the busy — and maybe even lazy — socially conscious Internet user automatically donate to charity.
See also: 6 Apps That Fit Charity Into Your Daily Routine
App developers, nonprofits and companies alike have created various add-ons for the popular web browser to fit charity into your daily online routine. These Chrome extensions help you support good causes at no cost to you, and with little-to-no effort.
1. Tab for a Cause
Tab for a Cause helps you raise money for a charity of your choice every time you open a new Chrome tab. By adding the extension, you’ll get a new, customizable homepage where you can add widgets, themes and charity information. Tab for a Cause collects ad revenue from banner adds in each tab; every time you open a tab, you rack up points (or “Hearts”), which the extension transforms into profits donated to a charity for human rights, water, education, health or the environment.
Each tab raises between one-tenth and one-third of a cent, which definitely adds up. In fact, Tab for a Cause has raised thousands of dollars since it launched.
Image: Tab for a Cause
This extension redirects every Amazon product link to a link for AmazonSmile – Amazon’s program that donates 0.5% of every purchase to a charitable organization (at no cost to you). You can support a charity from a list of nearly one million organizations, just by purchasing items on Amazon as you normally would.
Two MIT students developed SmileAlways in 2013, dedicating it to the memory of the late coder and digital rights activist Aaron Swartz.
AngelClicks suggests relevant charities based on the content you view as you browse the Internet. By designating a specific charity, you can easily make donations via your PayPal ID through the extension, and then track your impact with the mobile app (available for free on iOS and Android).
4. Coupons 4 Charity
With the Coupons 4 Charity extension installed, you’ll get notifications for deals and sales while shopping on participating retailers’ websites (which include big names like Sears, Macy’s and Target). When you use one of the extension’s coupons, you save money while a portion of your purchase goes toward your favorite charity.
Image: Coupons 4 Charity
This extension comes from the same company behind Goodsearch, an alternative search engine for social good. By shopping at one of Goodshop’s 5,000 participating stores (including Gap, Old Navy, Sephora and Best Buy), a percentage of your purchase is donated to a cause of your choice.
And, similar to Coupons 4 Charity, Goodshop lists more than 100,000 coupons and deals. You can also apply these benefits to your mobile purchases by downloading the iOS app.
The extension and app have raised more than $11 million for charity, according to Goodshop’s website.
A legend this good-hearted should be true. But it’s not. And a lot of really nice people end up sadly disappointed when they eventually discover all their hard work pretty much went for naught.
Pull tabs have no special value that makes them redeemable for time on dialysis machines, or indeed which make them worth far in excess of their ordinary scrap metal recycle value. While a handful of charitable concerns (including McDonald’s Ronald McDonald House and Shriners Hospitals for Children) accept donations of can tabs, said tabs fetch such groups no more than the items’ ordinary recycle value (more on that later in this article).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) says this of the dialysis rumor that has been dogging them for quite a while:
A false rumor that has plagued the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the aluminum industry for decades has recently resurfaced, perhaps fueled by the Internet. Individuals and groups believe they can donate the pull tabs on aluminum cans in exchange for time on a kidney dialysis machine.
Such a program has never existed through the NKF, nor have there ever been programs through the foundation allowing people to exchange any type of item (box tops, product points, etc.) for time on dialysis.
I don’t think anyone is ever going to figure out where what have come to be called “redemption rumors” first came from. The notion of something of little value (pull-tabs, empty cigarette packs) being collected by good-hearted people and then turned over to a public-spirited company who would redeem them for an item that would help the less fortunate (time on a dialysis machine, a wheelchair, a seeing eye dog) goes back a long way — ours is far from the first generation to fall for this canard.
A 2002 article described a common experience with the rumor:
Back when 15-year-old Elizabeth Bohli was in the third grade, she had a friend who had a friend who had leukemia. Word was that the sick girl’s doctor told her about a program in which the Coca-Cola Co. would pay for one chemotherapy session for every 1,000 aluminum pop-tops collected.
Elizabeth remembered that program when her 12-year-old sister, Jenny, was diagnosed with melanoma in September, and a massive collection drive began at Pelham High School.
For two months, students, teachers and parents brought in thousands of the tiny aluminum objects.
Soon, other schools were calling, asking how they could donate their pop-tops. Word spread to churches, which eagerly jumped in to help. And one friend told another, and another and another.
Since then, the pop-tops campaign has gone, well, a little over the top. As of this week, more than 276,000 had been collected.
And they’re still pouring in.
But none of that metal will translate into free treatments for Jenny. “It was just an old myth,” she said this week.
Jenny’s mother, Jo, called Coca-Cola recently, feeling as though she held a winning lottery ticket in her hands. Then she asked how she could cash in the pop-tops for money to pay for her daughter’s immunotherapy treatments.
At first, there was laughter. Then the voice on the other end told her there’s no such program.
“She actually laughed because she couldn’t believe that the kids had collected so many,” Bohli said. “To me, it was just so outstanding that these kids made such a fantastic effort to help Jenny.”
Walker Jones, community relations director for Coca-Cola in Birmingham, said that while the company works with some cancer-related charities, it does not redeem pop-tops for medical treatments.
Jones doesn’t know who perpetuates the pop-tops rumor, but it has been fizzing around for some time. “I think the myth has been going on for over 20 years,” she said.1
There’s nothing special about pull tabs which makes them exchangeable for time on a dialysis machine. These bits of metal are worth nothing more than the ordinary recycle value of the aluminum they contain.
Though rumor claims pull tabs are especially valuable because they’re made of “pure aluminum,” they’re actually formed from an aluminum alloy, just like the rest of the can (albeit of a slightly different type).
A million pull tabs have a recycle value of about $366 U.S. And that’s before you factor in what it costs to collect, store, and transport them to a recycling center which will pay cash for them. When you consider the time and effort it takes to collect a million of anything, it’s a wonder anyone would go to all that trouble for a mere $366. Far better to ask everyone you know for a penny in place of each pull tab they would have given you — at least then when you were done collecting your million, you’d have $10,000 to donate to your charity.
To put this in even clearer perspective, 100 pull tabs have a scrap metal value of about 3½¢.
That old “something for nothing” dream gets people every time. Spring 1997 produced a poignant example of this madness in the form of a news story about a crippled child in a remote Canadian community and that community’s good-hearted belief that if only they could save up eight million pull tabs, they could get her a much-needed wheelchair. The local community health center made a project of collecting these little bits of metal, and it was only after they’d gathered more than a million that they realized not only didn’t they have a buyer for them, they also hadn’t figured out how they were going to transport them from their town (roughly 2500 miles north of Montreal) to any place with a recycling plant:
“We just thought we needed eight million tabs,” said Linda Tucktoo, who helped organize the drive and assumed there was a program to trade tabs for wheelchairs. “I didn’t know it was so much trouble.”
Charity groups and the aluminum industry say they have been fighting misconceptions about collecting pop can tabs for years. “Unfortunately, it’s one of those urban myths,” said Denise Bekkema, executive director of Storefront for Volunteer Agencies in Yellowknife. “We actually get calls, probably about two a year, from people who have collected oodles and oodles of tabs from pop cans and then wanting to donate them to make wheelchairs. But there’s actually no such program.”
This tale had a happy ending in that the Royal Canadian Legion arranged and paid for the transportation costs of getting all those pull tabs to a recycling centre, someone else donated a used wheelchair, Air Canada shipped the chair for free to the little girl, and a Canadian wheelchair manufacturer also offered to make a brand-new chair for her.
Others whose hearts were in the right place haven’t been as fortunate. The experience of Dave and Beryl Hodge of Houston is typical. They saved pull tabs for two years, enlisting the help of friends, neighbors and relatives in their project. A local service club (who had themselves been taken in by this rumor) had led them to believe these tabs could be redeemed for dialysis treatment for a kidney patient:
“It’s folklore. It’s something that people want to believe, and people are just heartsick when they find out no one will redeem these things.” Mrs. Hodge, 64, said she was indeed heartsick when she recently learned her time, energy and tabs were devoted to a non-existent cause.
“We had so many people saving these for us that it reached the point where every time we’d see a friend or neighbor, they’d hand over some tabs to us,” she said. “We had family back in Connecticut mailing them to us. We were turning cans without the tabs over to the senior citizens at the YWCA, and they in turn were giving us their tabs.”
Rumor not only dashes the hopes of those trying to do a good deed; it also causes endless headaches for those in the recycling business:
“We don’t even take tabs and we’ve never advertised that we do,” says Phil McEvers of Houston’s American Reclaiming Corp. “But it’s not unusual for us to get 30 or 40 calls a day from people who say they’ve heard these things.” While some Houston recycling companies do buy tabs, dealers say the prices range from about 10 cents to 28 cents per pound — much less than prices purported for gallon quantities.
“People will come up here and just swear to you that these tabs can get an hour for somebody on a (dialysis) machine, and nothing you tell them will convince them that it’s not so,” says O’Neil Short, president of Houston’s Micon Recycling. “Some of them come with the gallon containers wanting $75 a gallon, and when we explain it’s not worth $75, they pull out of the driveway mad.”
“They just flat think we’re lying to them.” Micon no longer will buy the tabs at all, said Short.
One of the many companies victimized by this rumor is Reynolds Aluminum. They’ve come up with an effective reply to the pull-tabs question: a redirection of these lovingly-collected tabs into their normal recycling program, for which they pay standard scrap metal rates. (Obviously, collecting whole cans would be far more effective, but facts have never slowed down anyone running with a good rumor firmly between his teeth.) As one of their 1993 brochures read:
Keep Tabs On Your Cans
This Program Might Have A Familiar Ring
False rumors have plagued the aluminum industry and the National Kidney Foundation for years concerning beverage can pull tabs and kidney dialysis. Across the nation, at various times, word has spread that aluminum can pull tabs could be recycled in exchange for time on a kidney dialysis machine for someone with kidney disease. Many well intentioned yet misinformed groups and individuals collected pull tabs only to find that there was no pull tab/kidney dialysis donation program. It never existed. Anywhere.
In some cases it was even very difficult to collect the tabs because of the fact that many cans now have a device called Stay-On-Tab ™, a design improvement to all-aluminum cans which keep the tab attached to the can after opening. Yet even then people would remove the tabs and bring them to a Reynolds Aluminum recycling center, only to find the sum of their efforts much less than they had hoped . . . no dialysis and much less money than if they had brought the cans that were originally attached to the tab.
There was nothing they could do, and nothing we could do . . .
. . . Until Now
Reynolds Aluminum Recycling Company (RARCO) and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF)
affiliates and chapters have initiated this “Keep Tabs on Your Cans” turnaround drive. RARCO and NKF are seeking groups and individuals who will recycle aluminum through Reynolds, donating the proceeds to the National Kidney Foundation local chapters and affiliates.
The group or individual collects recyclable used aluminum beverage cans, aluminum pie plates, foil, frozen food and dinner trays, as well as many other forms of recyclable aluminum, then brings it to a Reynolds recycling center. The recycler then requests that the money earned from the recycling transaction be donated directly to the National Kidney Foundation. Reynolds provides the recycler/contributor with an itemized receipt for record keeping and tax purposes. Periodically, the donations are totaled, and Reynolds sends a donation to the nearest chapter or affiliate of the National Kidney Foundation.
How Will This Donation Help?
Diseases of the kidney and urinary tract are a major cause of illness and death in the United States. The National Kidney Foundation and its 50 affiliates and 200 chapters comprise the primary health organization in the U.S. which fights this disease. Your donation will finance research, treatment, diagnosis, detection, and cure of kidney and urinary tract diseases.
From Hoax To Help
Bring your aluminum cans and other household aluminum to any Reynolds Aluminum Recycling center and ask to have the proceeds sent to the National Kidney Foundation. For the location and schedule of the (Reynolds Aluminum) recycling center nearest you, simply call (toll-free) , or for more information write the National Kidney Foundation, Inc., 30 East 33rd Street, New York, New York, 10016.
(Reynolds has since sold off its recycling operation to Wise Metals.)
Seeing as how folks were bound and determined to collect pull-tabs for charity, in 1987 McDonald’s found it a good idea to get into the act. Their Pop Tab Collection program is a response to pull tab mania, and it at least provides folks with a place to dump the tabs they’ve been hoarding over the years in the belief they could use them to purchase dialysis time for an ailing child. Tabs dropped off at various McDonald’s are taken to a local recycling company, and the money made from selling them for their scrap value is given to the local Ronald McDonald House to help defray operating costs.
(Ronald McDonald houses are inexpensive family lodgings located near hospitals. Families of sick children stay there so as to be close to their hospitalized child. Typically, it costs the house $40 a night a room to operate and families are asked to make a donation of $10 a night when they stay. The shortfall is made up through various charitable endeavors, of which the pull-tab collection and recycling program is but one.)
It needs be stressed yet again that pull tabs are far from “found money” — even the Shriners Hospitals for Children, another organization that uses money received from the recycling of aluminum tabs for a good cause, noted in April 2007 that the recycling price for aluminum tabs is $0.50 to $0.70 per pound, which means that even at the upper end of that price range, they’re only getting about $427 per million tabs collected. Prospective donors could still do far more good by organizing a local soda can recycling program and donating the proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House (or any other charity).
The Bottom Line: No charitable organization will pay out a premium (in cash, goods, or services) for pull tabs from aluminum cans. Some of them will indeed accept donations of pull tabs, but all they pay (or receive) in exchange for those tabs is their marginal value as scrap aluminum. Anyone gathering pull tabs for charity would do far better to collect whole cans; accumulating nothing but pull tabs is like eschewing quarters in order to collect pennies.
(From time to time, various companies will run programs under which they offer to donate money to charities in exchange for consumers’ collecting and returning some item of product packaging , but such companies only accept packaging from their own products, and their object in operating these programs is to promote and advertise their brands.)
Next time someone asks you to donate a few pull-tabs for a good cause, donate a few facts instead. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.
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- “Wham” by Lonnie Mack
- “What Is And What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin
- “What It’s Like” by Everlast
- “Wheels” by Chet Atkins
- “When I Come Around” by Green Day
- “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles
- “Whisky Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alisson Krauss
- “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
- “White Room” by Cream
- “Who’ll Stop The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
- “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
- “Why Georgia” by John Mayer
- “Wicked Game” by Chris Issak
- “Wicked Garden” by Stone Temple Pilots
- “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones
- “Wild World” by Cat Stevens
- “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
- “Witchy Woman” by The Eagles
- “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles
- “Woke Up This Morning” by B.B. King
- “Woman From Tokyo” by Deep Purple
- “Wonderful Tonight” (Acoustic Version) – Eric Clapton
- What I Got
- Who’ll Stop The Rain 1
- Who’ll Stop The Rain 2
- Who’ll Stop The Rain 3
- Who’ll Stop The Rain- Chords And Lyrics
- Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
- Wipeout by The Surfaris
- Wonderful Tonight – Intro – Lead Guitar
- Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
- Working Class Hero by John Lennon
- “Yellow” by Coldplay
- “Yesterday” by The Beatles
- “You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty
- “You Know You’re Right” by Nirvana
- “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel
- “You Only Live Once” by The Strokes
- “You Shook Me All Night Long” by ACDC
- “You’ll Be Mine” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Yesterday-The Beatles (Intro)
- You’ve Got A Friend by James Taylor
- You’ve Got A Friend- James Taylor (Verse Part 1)
- Your Move by Yes
- “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie
- “Zombie” by The Cranberries
- Ziggy Stardust- David Bowie
Congratulations! You’ve found the home for the most accurate guitar tab on the internet. You can learn how to play your favorite guitar songs note-for-note, just like the original artists. Download the full guitar tab, listen to audio samples, watch video demonstration, and more. We’ll provide you with everything you need to learn.
Tablature (tab for short) is the best way to learn new songs. It only takes a few minutes to learn how to read tablature. Guitar tab will show you exactly what notes to play and what guitar techniques are used in songs.
Downloading Full Transcriptions
Most of our songs have downloads to the full transcription. You’ll have to have the following programs installed in order to open them:
- You MUST have the Adobe Acrobat Reader to download the PDF files, which most everyone already has. It can be download from adobe.com
- If you want to download the PTB files, you will need the PT Editor. Click Here to download it.