Concern over too much EGCG

I just finished reading a BBC article about a man in Texas who had been taking an EGCG (extracted from green tea) supplement for 2-3 months when he found out that his liver was in very bad shape, to the point that he had to have an urgent liver transplant. His doctors ruled out everything else and concluded that this serious injury may have been caused by the EGCG supplement.

Even though I personally don’t take EGCG, I was horrified, at first. Then I read the article, which states that drinking green tea, as I do on occasion, is perfectly safe. What you have to be careful about is its extract, known as EGCG, which apparently can be toxic at certain levels, especially, e.g., on an empty stomach AND especially for certain people. Drinking alcohol or taking “other drugs” while taking EGCG might also lead to problems.

Anyway, if you drink lots of green tea and/or take large doses of EGCG (above 800 mg/day, it seems), please have a look at the article: 

Excerpt: “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.” A small percentage, but I always like to be super cautious. And that is why I’m posting about this article today!

You never know…


I realize it’s been quite some TIME since I’ve written a post, almost a MONTH!, so today I decided to sit down and write one, and it’s going to be a long one, so get yourselves some tea and get comfy…  😉 

CHAPTER ONE. PEEKABOO: in September I spent a lot of time researching possibly helpful but definitely non-toxic treatments for Peekaboo, my 11-year-old kitty whom I’ve written a lot about in recent times. She has a slipped disc, basically, and has been having a VERY hard time walking. The risk, of course, is that she’d stop walking altogether. Couldn’t let that happen!

I discovered that laser therapy might work…the vets agreed…so we planned about 10 sessions. I had to take her to the clinic for these treatments. Sounds easy, but driving with a constant whiny and quite loud “meow…meow…meow…!!!” in my ears, to and from the clinic, three times a week, in TRAFFIC (anyone who has ever driven in Florence will sympathize with me, I’m sure), almost drove me batty. The important thing, though, is that this therapy has worked quite well. She is walking again, in her own way (with her back end low to the ground), but yes, WALKING. Indeed, now that I’ve added arnica to her wet food once a day, she has also been seen RUNNING. Amazing recovery. Amazing cat.

CHAPTER TWO. PINGA. That’s our 9-year-old kitty, the apple of my eye. Stefano’s apple, too. But really, everyone adores Pinga. She’s an adorable little thing. Anyway, point is that months ago, almost suddenly, we noticed that she’d lost some weight. She’s never been an overweight cat…Her top weight was 3.5 kilos (7.7 pounds) in 2015. But before we left for Scotland, her weight had decreased to 3 kilos (about 6.6 pounds). We were worried, but to be honest, the worry over Peekaboo and her cancer had taken over our lives back in July, and we just couldn’t deal with Pinga. However, I vowed that if she weighed less than 3 kilos when we got back to Florence, I’d take her to the clinic for a checkup.

Indeed, she lost a bit more weight in August. She was down to 2.7 kilos (5.9 lbs). I took her to the clinic as soon as I could, with fear in my heart. I’d read online that weight loss could be due to a million horrible things…diabetes, cancer, etc. Scary stuff.

Pinga didn’t collaborate with the vets. She never has. Our sweet, tiny, darling kitty who will wrap her paws around your neck and purr ecstatically into your face, giving you loving head bumps, turns into a ferocious tiger whenever she smells a vet. In her file at the vet clinic, a note defines her as a “dangerous cat” (“gatto pericoloso,” in Italian). No kidding. This time was no different: three vets tried to hold her down and draw a bit of blood from her hind leg. Nope. Didn’t happen. And the screeches…mamma mia! I had to leave the exam room…too unsettling…

She had to be sedated. Under sedation, she had an MRI and a bunch of other tests…The RESULT is that she appears to have nothing more serious than a slight intestinal inflammation. That, we can deal with. Relief…So Pinga is okay, just…TINY.

CHAPTER THREE. MARGARET. Because of what had happened to me in Scotland (the leg pain/aching business that I wrote about in an earlier post), I decided to take action, even though everything is back to normal again…no leg pain, I mean. And so in mid September I joined a before-dinner Pilates class with my neighbor (also one of my best friends). Twice a week. We have an amazing instructor and love the class. So that is a good bit of news. I always felt fabulous after each class.

But…something happened ten days ago…on October 9th…the last class I attended.

Before our Pilates class, there is another class devoted to some sort of gymnastics for small children, aged five, more or less. On that infamous October 9th, once the children had left with their parents, we walked into the room, and it smelled terrible. Yuck. We opened all the windows and aired the room out for ten minutes. Clearly, not enough.

I must have picked IT up there. No other explanation.

IT happens to be bronchial pneumonia. Broncopolmonite, in Italian. A bad case, to boot. IT began on October 10th with some non-pneumonia-like symptoms, such as vomiting and extreme fatigue (I slept all day Wednesday, and then most of Thursday, too). In the beginning I thought it was “just” that well-known, pesky virus that gets me when I’m tired and/or stressed out. Indeed, perhaps it was. I felt much better on Friday, but then not so great on Saturday. The timeline is a bit fuzzy, to be honest. I didn’t write anything down. I should have.

Anyway, what’s certain is that by Sunday afternoon I had a fever of 39.8° Celsius, equivalent to 103.64° Fahrenheit. Wowsie!

Funny thing was, I felt okay even though my forehead was burning…I mean, I wasn’t delirious or anything. Gave Stefano quite a scare, though. Monday morning we called the doctor who wanted me to go over to his office, but we had to get the fever down first. So I didn’t actually see him until Wednesday morning. To get the fever down and cover a few bases, he put me on a high dose of paracetamol and an antibiotic.

The worst was the pain, which began on Monday, as I recall. IT felt as though a medieval knight had stuck his spear into me, just under my left shoulder, and had left it hanging there to torment me. Ouch. I figured I had pleurisy, which I’d already had (on the other side, other lung) many many many years ago. Same kind of persistent, awful, at times almost unbearable pain.

Okay, so on Wednesday morning, after almost 24 hours without fever, we made it to the doctor’s office. He heard some “activity” in that shoulder area and told me to go have an X-ray. Stefano drove me over to a clinic where I had the X-ray, which the doctor had marked as urgent. The X-ray technician told me that my results wouldn’t be ready, however, until the following EVENING. I almost died on the spot. Well, okay, exaggerating a bit there.

I asked her if there was ANYTHING she could do, explained about the myeloma, and that, = mentioning the myeloma!, did the trick. She said that, with my consent, she might be able to show my X-rays to another radiologist in the building. You can imagine my answer. So Stefano and I sat down and waited. After about an hour, I had my result. We drove back to the doctor’s office, which did wonders for my spear pain…ouch. He wrote a prescription for the ANTIBIOTIC BOMB that I’m going to be taking for the next ten days.

I’ve been on the BOMB for more than 48 hours now. The good news is that the spear is gone. Actually, there is only good news! All that is left is an occasional mild dagger-like pain. Yay. Yes, I’m coughing, but it’s not major coughing, oddly enough. I feel so much better, although very tired of course. And I’m slowly getting back into my household routines, such as feeding the cats, preparing and administering Peekaboo’s (non-toxic!) meds…This morning I even did some laundry! I have to be careful, I know that, so I’m also taking lots of naps surrounded by my furry nurses…and watching lots of TV series and documentaries.

Unfortunately, I think my time with Pilates has ended. I can’t risk getting sick like this again. Too bad, but oh well. I know the basics now and can do some exercises at home. I’ll figure out something…

Anyway, the main thing is that I’m going to be fine…in a couple of weeks…or less, even! 🙂