'Health supplements' turn blood dark green

PHOTO: 'Health supplements' turn blood dark green

After a patient's kidneys were severely damaged from taking chlorella tablets manufactured by an unknown overseas company, doctors reminded the public that maintaining a balanced diet everyday is more beneficial than relying on health supplements, especially those of dubious origin.

Physicians at the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) revealed yesterday a medical case they treated involving a patient over 60, who had a brush with death when kidney failure forced him to seek emergency care.

The unnamed patient, who according to his medical history is a carrier of the hepatitis B virus, regularly took chlorella tablets given by friends who purchased the health supplements from abroad.

Instead of improving his physical condition, the product gave him a malfunctioning liver along and kidney failure.

The patient was rescued in time, although doctors at the NTUH discovered that the long-term consumption of green chlorella tablets made of single-celled algae had turned the patient's blood into a deep green color.

Unfortunately, the patient has to rely on dialysis treatments for the remainder of his life.

Doctors stressed that in Taiwan, people can get adequate nutrition without relying on health supplements.

People can get all their daily nutrients from natural foods sources, as long as they maintain a balanced diet, they said.

Contrary to the media hype of products like chicken and clam essence, which claim to be crucial to consumer health, the doctors said these products contain mainly condensed proteins which are all available in fresh vegetables, fruits and other daily food sources.