You already know that the liver is an amazing organ. The hundreds of vital functions that our liver performs for us daily are often taken for granted. In fact, most people don’t consider their liver until problems arise.
Weighing in at just over one kilogram, the liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. In fact, the liver is so hearty that it will continue working even when two-thirds of it has been damaged by scarring (cirrhosis).
It may seem that the liver is the last organ in need of a preventive health boost, but don’t be fooled. There are over 100 liver diseases, many of unknown cause and none curable. By the time the liver sends signals that it is in distress, its condition is usually critical.
But there are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent liver damage.
Prevention and Treatment
There are several natural ways to ensure optimal liver health or to treat existing liver conditions. The Canadian Liver Foundation recommends choosing low-fat, high-fibre, organic foods and eating small, regular meals.
The Foundation also advises avoiding alcohol, drinking six to eight glasses of water daily, exercising, and avoiding exposure to household chemicals.
Another way to protect your liver is through herbal remedies. The antioxidant properties in alpha-lipoic acid may help hepatitis C patients avoid liver transplants, and milk thistle may protect the liver from the inflammation that occurs in hepatitis C.
Other herbs under investigation include dandelion root, which has shown promise in destroying liver cancer cells, as well as curcumin extract and table beet, which may protect the liver through antioxidant action.
In addition, getting checked regularly by your doctor and keeping him or her informed about any medications, vitamins, or herbs you are taking are important steps for maintaining liver health.
Although many still believe that liver disease is caused only by alcohol, the dismantling of this myth is allowing more people to prevent liver damage or identify it early. Use these liver health tips to protect this truly vital organ–before it’s too late.
Liver Problems: What to Watch for
Our livers are hearty organs–but they’re not indestructible. Because a healthy liver is fundamental to our overall well-being, it’s important to be aware of possible signs and symptoms of liver problems.
- Discoloured skin and eyes that appear yellowish
- Pale stool colour
- Bloody or tar-coloured stool
- Dark urine colour
- Persistence of itchy skin
- Chronic fatigue
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Loss of appetite