The liver is our largest and heaviest (weighing in at three pounds) internal organ, as one might expect considering the vital functions it performs on our behalf. Its central role is to process whatever we consume – whether it be food or drink – either metabolizing it for our body to use or eliminating it as waste. Also, the liver stores vitamins and works 24/7 to help detoxify our body.
If the liver isn’t functioning at an optimal level, possible problems could involve our metabolism, circulation, digestion, and/or hormonal balance. Among the culprits that can damage our liver are excess alcohol, too much sugar (to include soft drinks), being overweight, painkillers that contain acetaminophen, some prescription medicines, and viruses such as hepatitis, per liversupportreviews.com.
How the Liver Works
Part of what makes the liver indispensable to our health is its uncanny ability to spot toxic substances in our body and turn them into harmless material that can then be expelled from our body, per draxe.com. Essentially, it regulates our blood supply, to include storing blood and making clotting possible.
Along with that, the liver supports the smooth and clean flow of blood in and around our circulatory system, while also communicating with other bodily organs involved in digestion, such as the gallbladder, stomach, and spleen.
Vitamins and Supplements for Liver Health
As with any body organ, keeping a liver healthy starts with proper nutrition. At the top of the list are anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens; fruits high in antioxidants such as berries and melons; coconut oil, which helps protect the liver from damaging free radicals; and locally produced raw honey that’s not refined or heated. Per draxe.com, raw honey works well as an antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal compound.
Sometimes, our standard diet isn’t sufficient for our liver health, such as when the liver has been damaged. That’s the time to augment what we eat with vitamins and supplements known to support liver health, being diligent, of course, to consult with a doctor before beginning a new regimen.
Following is a list of vitamins and supplements known for being supportive of liver health:
- Turmeric. This is an herb known for lowering inflammation. It also contains curcumin, which helps in several ways, to include combatting the buildup of toxins. Other herbs known to be beneficial to the liver include parsley, cilantro, and oregano.
- Coconut oil. A rich source of medium-chain fatty acids with various properties that assist in detoxifying the liver while also cutting back on cravings for unhealthy foods.
- Milk thistle. Perhaps the most oft-mentioned compound when it comes to supporting liver health. Per liversupportreviews.com, it can help people with alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic hepatitis, and liver disease linked to toxins. It can also guard against liver scarring.
- Holy basil. Composed of essential oils that help protect against bacteria, heavy metals, and some fungus strains that have the potential to damage the liver.
- Dandelion root. Its natural diuretic properties enhance the liver’s ability to efficiently rid the body of toxins, thus strengthening the immune system and alleviating indigestion, among other benefits.
- Selenium. A trace mineral, per livestrong.com, that has antioxidant characteristics and can help protect liver cells from damage.
- Alpha-lipoic acid. An antioxidant compound that bolster’s the liver’s ability to detoxify the body.
- Artichoke. It contains cynarin, a substance that aids the liver in boosting the production of bile that helps speed up the movement of food and waste.
- B-complex vitamins. This includes the likes of vitamin B12, which, per healthyeating.sfgate.com, is involved in the production of the amino acid methionine, which in turn is converted into a compound known as SAMe used in the treatment of liver disease. B12 is believed to be the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver.
- Vitamin A. Per thejakartapost.com, vitamin A works best when in tandem with iron to resolve iron deficiency anemia better than either vitamin A or iron alone.
- Vitamin D. Researchers in Tennessee have determined that more than 90 percent of patients with chronic liver disease are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency to some degree or another.