Your liver plays a major role in your everyday health. It’s responsible for filtering toxins and other harmful substances from your blood. It also assists with digestion, makes hormones and proteins, and regulates your cholesterol and blood sugar.
That’s not all! Your liver also stores important nutrients such as vitamins, iron and glucose, and breaks down sugar into a functional source of energy when your body needs it. On top of that, it’s the liver’s job to break down hemoglobin and destroy old blood cells.
That’s why a healthy, functioning liver is so vital. Unfortunately, liver damage is increasingly common and is often a major contributor to many other diseases. If something prevents your liver from doing its job – or from repairing itself – the consequences for your health may be very serious.
The good news is that the liver has the amazing ability to regenerate after injury – if you allow it to do so.
While we most often associate liver damage with drinking too much alcohol, this is only one of the possible causes. There are many different factors involved in liver damage, and some are not self-inflicted at all.
Viruses or toxins from medication and pollutants can all cause serious harm to the liver. So too can genetic liver diseases or autoimmune disorders such as autoimmune hepatitis. Examples of liver disease include:
Alcohol dehydrates your body, forcing the liver to draw water from other sources. If you continue to drink excessively, your liver will be unable to process fat fast enough, causing the fat to accumulate. This buildup can lead to fatty liver, which in turn results in inflammation and scarring, alcoholic hepatitis and eventually cirrhosis. (1)
Cirrhosis occurs when liver cells become so damaged they are replaced by scar tissue. This scar tissue slows the flow of blood and other fluids through the liver, impeding its ability to flush out toxins.
Treating a damaged liver in the inflammation stage is crucial. If someone with a damaged liver continues to drink alcohol or consume other toxins, cirrhosis and liver cancer can lead to irreparable damage that may be fatal.
However, there are many ways you can give your liver a chance to heal itself and recover.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the biggest cause of liver damage – and death from liver disease – is chronic alcohol consumption. It’s also the third most common cause of liver transplants.
Your liver has the job of processing alcohol and filtering it out of your bloodstream. This is why it is so vulnerable to alcohol-related injury.
Dramatically reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake is the only way your liver has any chance of recovery.
If you have serious alcohol-related liver damage, the first thing you must do is stop drinking altogether: simply reducing your intake won’t be enough. Although fibrosis cannot be reversed, cutting out alcohol completely will at least prevent any further damage. (2)
Along with the alcohol, you must also cut out the ‘junk’ foods that are taxing on your liver. This includes processed foods, fatty foods, sugars and foods containing artificial ingredients. These must all be filtered by the liver, which means it has to work harder.
Instead, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and antioxidants can do wonders for a damaged liver. Foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals are not only easier for your liver to process, but they will provide your body with the nutrition that it needs to recover.
Choose brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens and berries, as these contain the highest amounts of antioxidants. (3)
Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are highly beneficial to cell regeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids also help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Another everyday source of toxins to the body is cigarette smoke. Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals including nicotine, formaldehyde and even lead. These will only add to the burden on your liver. If you smoke, quit! Cutting these toxins out will give your liver a better chance of recovery.
Environmental pollutants are less easy to avoid. If you live in a city, you’ll likely be exposed to pollutants and other airborne toxins on a regular basis.
You can try to balance this out by wearing a face mask in the worst areas, and also spending as much time as possible in filtered air or amongst the trees.
Take extra precautions around aerosol sprays, spray paints, insecticides, fungicides and any other form of chemicals.
Exercise helps to reduce stress on the liver by burning off excess fat. Regular physical activity also helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which reduces the risk of obesity – another major factor in liver damage.
Research has shown that daily physical activity such as walking and muscle-strengthening exercises can significantly reduce the risk of fatal liver cirrhosis.
Adults who walk regularly were shown to have up to 73 percent lower risk for cirrhosis-related death than those who were less active. The risk was even lower for those who combined their walking with muscle-strengthening exercises. (4)
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. This can be as simple as a brisk walk, jogging, swimming or even gardening.
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be harmful to the liver if taken for long periods of time or in large doses. If you are taking medication, talk to your doctor about how it may affect your liver and whether there is an alternative option.
Avoid taking OTC painkillers too often, as these can be extremely taxing on the liver if taken regularly.
Here are the top five natural supplements for liver repair. These are all included in our Liver Support supplement, along with a total of 11 liver-supportive ingredients!
Milk thistle is one of the most powerful liver herbs. Milk thistle seeds contain a flavonoid called silymarin, an important antioxidant.
Milk thistle supports and protects your liver by optimizing its daily function and detoxification. It also helps to repair damage to liver cells from disease, alcohol and drugs.
Numerous reviews have shown milk thistle’s active compounds to be a promising treatment for chronic liver disease. (5)
Studies have shown that milk thistle supplements can reduce liver inflammation and damage, and neutralize free radicals, the unstable electrons generated by your environment, stress and diet. Free radicals can cause serious damage to your cells, as well as speeding up the ageing process and increasing your risk of disease.
NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is an important antioxidant that plays a role in restoring your body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione. NAC is derived from cysteine, a semi-essential amino acid required for the normal function of the liver. Cysteine is only ‘semi’ essential because your body is able to make adequate amounts itself. However, what your liver really needs is NAC.
Glutathione is essential for helping your liver to carry out its many detoxification processes. It also aids in maintaining the health of liver cells. (6)
Artichokes contain two important compounds: cynarin and silymarin. These work to improve the overall health of the liver by clearing the buildup of toxins and eliminating them from the liver and the body. Most importantly, they help your liver to flush toxins out of the body by stimulating the flow of bile.
Artichoke extract can also help treat chronic liver diseases and restore liver health after injury (7). Animal studies have shown it can protect the liver and possibly even help liver cells regenerate. It may even lower lipid levels in the body, which helps to speed the recovery process.
Turmeric is not only a powerful antioxidant, it’s one of the most effective anti-inflammatory herbs on earth. Its active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to help treat liver damage caused by progressive inflammatory conditions.
Studies involving mice with chronic liver inflammation have shown that regular doses of curcumin over several weeks can help to clear blocked bile ducts. The curcumin also appeared to significantly reduce the risk of damage and scarring in liver cells. (8)
Researchers believe that curcumin works by interfering with several pathways involved in the inflammatory process, while also warding off harmful free radicals.
Dandelion root has been used to treat liver conditions for centuries, and it continues to be an effective herbal remedy. Like milk thistle and artichoke extract, dandelion root appears to boost the flow of bile.
A 2017 study suggested that dandelion root contains important polysaccharides that can support liver function. Another study involving mice showed that dandelion root extract helped to significantly slow down the progression of liver fibrosis. When delivered as an extract, dandelion root appeared to inactivate the main cells involved in fibrosis. This helped to significantly reduce oxidative stress on the liver, allowing the liver cells to heal and regenerate.
Optimizing your liver health can involve a number of steps. Eliminating toxic exposure to substances like alcohol, cigarette smoke, and air pollution will alow your liver time to repair itself. Certain highly processed foods should also be avoided.
There are some natural supplements that have been shown to aid the liver in repairing itself. These include milk thistle, NAC, and dandelion extract. All of these and more are included in our Liver Support formula.
Here are a few key reasons why Liver Support is so effective: