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Keeping your Liver Young and Healthy

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Liver Liver Diseases Herbs Cirrhosis

The liver has as more than 500 vital functions, though not all of them are fully understood. Its primary function is the detoxification of the whole body. Everything absorbed during the toxic substances then oases what's left into the circulation. The liver removes drugs and toxins from the blood. The liver is also responsible for storing fat-soluble vitamins. It also produces cholesterol and bile in order to help digestion and it converts molecules absorbed from the intestines into fats carbohydrates and proteins.

Liver Diseases

The most common liver disorders include cirrhosis and hepatitis. Because the liver can still function even when up to 80 percent of it damaged, symptoms often go unrecognised until they become serious. Symptoms include yellowing of the eyes, pain on the right side, jaundice and yellow stools.

Dietary and environmental toxins are also responsible for a great deal of stress on the liver. May people have too much fat in their diet and this can be a problem because the liver may be unable to metabolize it all. Excessive intake of alcohol and tobacco can also adversely affect the liver.

Supplementing the diet with zinc, selenium and vitamins C and E and can help protect the liver from damage caused by free radicals. B complex vitamins are also important for cell regeneration. Lecithin can also contribute to liver healing. Not only does lecithin promote healthy liver functions, it may also promote tissue regeneration.

How to keep your liver healthy:

  • The best thing you can do to keep your liver healthy is to maintain a balanced diet.

  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake.

  • Prevent contact with other people's blood and other body fluids, to avoid the transmission of hepatitis.

  • Get a vaccine for hepatitis.

  • Some herbal supplements should be avoided, as they can be toxic to the liver. These include: pennyroyal, comfrey, kava and skullcap.

  • Maintain a healthy weight, overweight and obesity can put a huge strain on the liver so a healthy diet and regular exercise is important.

  • If you notice any symptoms of liver disease such as a yellowing of the eyes or skin, abdominal pain or swelling, continual itching or skin irritation, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Several herbs can help protect and stimulate the liver. Perhaps the most commonly known is milk thistle. Silymarin is the potent chemical in milk thistle. Several studies have shown its antioxidant affects and its effectiveness against hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Dandelion is another nutrient-rich herb, which has a long folk history as a liver tonic. Studies conducted by the German Commission E revealed that compounds in dandelion leaves and the root stimulate the production of bile.

Turmeric also has shown to have promise for liver disorders. The substance curcumin which is derived from it also increases bile output.

Because the liver is such a complex organ and we are only beginning to learn about its functions and how it can combat disease, incorporating these herbs into your regular diet may help to increase the strength of your liver functions and possibly prevent future disease.

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