Eli5: How is Tylenol bad for the liver??


Eli5: How is Tylenol bad for the liver??

In: 51

When broken down by the liver one of the byproducts is toxic oxidising chemical (NAPQI). Your liver has a small reserve of an anti oxidant that can deal with it but if too large a dose is taken thst reserve runs out and the toxic by product starts attacking (oxidising) anything it can find damaging the cells.

Your liver breaks Tylenol down into two different chemicals, one of which is toxic. Under ordinary circumstances, the toxic chemical is then immediately broken down into other, non-toxic chemicals.

Your liver has a virtually unlimited capacity to break Tylenol down, which means that the more of it you take, the more of the toxic byproduct that your liver will produce. On the other hand, your liver’s ability to break down that toxic byproduct is limited. If you just sit there popping Tylenols, you will eventually reach a point where your liver is producing more of the toxic byproduct than it can deal with, and that toxic byproduct begins to build up.

Buildup of the toxic byproduct damages and eventually kills your liver.

Under normal circumstances, your liver has more than enough capacity to deal with Tylenol. Other than people deliberately OD’ing on it, the vast majority of Tylenol overdoses comes from one of two situations:

1) Someone is taking multiple products that contain Tylenol without realizing it (ie, they take the recommended dosage of Norco, Nyquil, and Tylenol at the same time – all of which contain Tylenol).

2) They normally take another painkiller, like ibuprofen, and are used to being able to take a lot more than the recommended dose without serious side effects. Then, one day, they decide to try Tylenol and don’t understand that you can’t just take 5 Tylenols every 4 hours and walk away with an upset stomach.

Good ole Tylenol. See, Tylenol is a pretty flashy dude. Always wearing cologne. His fave cologne is called NAPQI. The thing about liver is that he hates that stuff. He hates being around it but he tolerates it. Well, one night, liver was working a shift at the Glutathione Pathway club as a bouncer. Here comes Tylenol wanting to get in. Everybody knows that Liver has been a bouncer for years and has to scan everyone that comes into the club. Tylenol comes in reeking of NAPQI. It’s like the guy got this thing on sale. Liver smells it buts he’s fine. All he’ll do later is have his bestie kidney come and help him clean up the smell by putting it in the urine that leaves the body anyway. He knows he can handle the smell a little but hopes no more Tylenol shows up. Well, must be his lucky night because here comes 10 more Tylenol wanting to get into the club. Liver starts patting them down, but as he’s doing this, he starts to feel sick. But he’s still doing his job. But the more Tylenol that tried to get in, the more of that stinking NAPQI cologne they bring in and at this point, liver has had it. He starts to cough, he’s clutching his lobes and turning yellow. Oh no!