Liver | December 18, 2019 | Author: Naturopath
During the festive season it is hard to consider the extra burden which may be placed on our liver. Good intensions and a healthy lifestyle so stringently followed often get forgotten. Over-indulging in too much alcohol and nutrient deficient food, insufficient sleep and stress can mean the liver is put under strain. The result can be fatigue, weight gain, bowel changes, digestive upsets, sleep disturbances, brain fog, lowered immunity, along with visible changes to your appearance – blemishes and dull skin. Health conditions usually under control can suddenly cause a problem – eczema flares, migraines and food sensitivities worsen.
The liver is the main organ of detoxification in your body. Your health and wellbeing are dependent on how well the body is able to removes toxins and waste products. The more thorough and effecient this process is the better you will feel.
The liver is responsible for eliminating toxins mainly through its central role in the metabolism of substances, such as alcohol, aiding with their removal from the body.
The liver also helps manufacture and regulate numerous substances for use in body maintaining and homostasis.
There are a few simple strategies and supplements to help support your liver.
Supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals, amino acids and herbs will help combat nutrient deficiencies due to changes in eating habits, stress and excess alcohol.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum). St. Mary’s thistle has antioxidant properties to help combat potential free radical damage and can help with digestive disturbances such as bloating, flatulence and the feeling of fullness. Take mIlk thistle and help protect your liver!
Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaf helps relieve digestive symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, flatulence and cramps and helps with the production and flow of bile from the gallbladder.
Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) fruit is considered a valuble tonic for the liver.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) leaf helps relieve bloating, flatulence and the feeling of fullness.
Turmeric/Curcumin (Curcuma longa) root. Offers antioxidant support to help combat potential free radical damage, help relieve indigestion, supports gallbladder function and bile flow.
Bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum) root. This Chinese herb is considered a major medicine for protecting the liver from many toxins.
Grape seed (Vitis vinifera) – offers antioxidant defence against the damage caused by alcohol.
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Blue green algae spirulina. Spirulina contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, antianemia, immunostimulant, anticarcinogenic and a hepatoprotective activities. Worth adding to the diet for its many benefits.
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Vitamins, minerals and amino acids help to support the metabolism of alcohol in the body
B Vitamins to support healthy energy levels, replete nutrients, assists with metabolism of carbohydrates, relieves tiredness and fatigue and help reduce the damage done by free radicals. Choose a B complex or products containing:
And vitamin C and E for their valuable antioxidant and repairing activities.
Selenium - is an essential trace element which works as a powerful antioxidant to fight oxidative stress and is necessary for a healthy liver.
Magnesium – Alcohol can increase urinary loses of magnesium. It is known as the "great relaxer" and can help with sleep and support healthy stress responses. Supplementing with magnesium internally and/or externally can also help relieve tired muscles after a night of partying.
Zinc – Drinking alcohol increases the demand for zinc. Zinc has also been found to be restorative in liver disease.
Increasing fibre, water and supplementing with a good probiotic can support healthy detoxification through the bowel.
Amino acids are organic substances 20 of which are used to synthesize protein in cells. The liver is an important organ for protein synthesis and amino acid metabolism. Amino acids are involved in many and varied cellular metabolisms as well as detoxification reactions.
Some important ones include:
Eat whole plant foods. Plant food and their parts are valuable for the liver. They are sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients, such as vitamins and trace elements. Plant-based antioxidants have both preventive and therapeutic effects on the liver.
Choose green leaves, green tea, cruciferous vegetables – bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cress; citrus fruits and foods from the allium family - chives, garlics, leeks, onions and scallions. Include lots of dark berries – blueberries, raspberries and cranberries, they contain polyphenols which help protect the liver from damage.
Though people with liver disease should avoid nightshade vegetables - eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes for common examples, due to their mild hepatotoxicity. Yes, that includes the potato chip.
Eat oatmeal. Oats are high in fibre and compounds called beta-glucans – bioactive compounds in the body which help modulate the immune system, are anti-inflammatory, help with sugar balance and may help reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver.
Eat a balanced diet and avoid binge over-eating or starvation. These habits can result in abnormal digestive secretions and liver dysfunction.
Drink alcohol slowly and not too much. The liver can only metabolise a certain amount of alcohol at any given time. Too much and it will become overwhelmed.
Drink water in-between your wine (and any other alcohol). This helps you from becoming dehydrated and also slows down your alcohol consumption.
Good hydration is important for liver function. Adequate hydration is needed to dissolve nutrients and promote blood circulation; it supports bile production and metabolism which in turn facilitates the process of digestion, absorption, and excretion of toxic wastes.
Get adequate sleep. Poor quality sleep and short sleep duration can increased the incidence of liver disease. Besides, a good night sleep is needed to promote optimal health and wellbeing and keeps you looking good.
Don’t stress! Stress has been implicated in the progression and outcome of important liver pathologies. It has an influence on immunity and other inter-cellular mechanisms.
Insights into the Role and Interdependence of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Liver Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5192343/
Therapeutic Effects of Amino Acids in Liver Diseases: Current Studies and Future Perspectives https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6619856/
LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet].
Curcumin in Liver Diseases: A Systematic Review of the Cellular Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress and Clinical Perspective
The distinct mechanisms of the antitumor activity of emodin in different types of cancer (Review). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24065213
Review of natural products with hepatoprotective effects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4209543/
Short sleep duration and risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27029776
Psychosocial stress and liver disease status https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2702105/