Do you take any supplements for weight loss that contain green tea extract? If so, you may be putting your liver in danger.

By now, most health-conscious individuals are familiar with at least one of the many touted health benefits of green tea, such as its ability to raise one’s metabolic rate, decrease blood cholesterol levels and support healthy cardiovascular function. But did you know that a cup of green tea and green tea extract aren’t the same thing? And did you know that high concentrations of green tea extract can actually do more harm than good?

According to Jeneen Interlandi, an Investigative Health Reporter with Consumer Reports, high levels of green tea extract powder, like those found in some popular weight loss supplements, may be dangerous to the average consumer. "Higher concentrations of green tea extract…can potentially cause serious liver damage [and] have been found to alter the effectiveness of a long list of drugs, including certain anti-depressants and anti-clotting medications," says Interlandi.

Researchers at Consumer Reports suggest that nearly 10 percent of all people with acute liver failure suffer from the disease because of high levels of green tea extract. In large doses, the extract can elevate your heart rate and raise your blood pressure, something researchers believe is responsible for the extract’s liver-damaging effects.

"The manufacturers who make these supplements are not required to prove to federal regulators that their products are safe, that they're effective or even that they're accurately labeled, so you really don't know what you're buying," said Interlandi. Because liver damage associated with high concentrations of green tea extract can be fatal, Consumer Reports has added green tea extract powder to its list of 15 Supplement Ingredients to Avoid.

It’s also important to note that other studies have found that green tea extract isn’t likely to help you lose weight, regardless of the dosage. "It's true that green tea can raise your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories, but that's probably just due to its caffeine and catechins it contains. Catechins are antioxidants that are found in green tea," said Interlandi.

To reap the health benefits of green tea without putting your liver at risk, stick to drinking a few cups of the beverage daily. For a stimulant-free way to aid your weight loss efforts with no known side effects, try our HungerBlocker™ natural appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. It contains no green tea extract and is effective at suppressing even the toughest hunger.