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Supporting a Healthy Liver


The liver is the second largest organ in the body (your skin is the largest) and is the largest gland. The liver performs more than 500 separate jobs and is critically involved in all aspects of metabolism.

The liver is the second largest organ in the body (your skin is the largest) and is the largest gland. The liver performs more than 500 separate jobs and is critically involved in all aspects of metabolism.

It makes important cellular components, produces important blood proteins and, of course, plays a critical role in detoxification. If your liver is overloaded, you may have low energy levels, since a great deal of your body’s energy resources are needed to support detoxification. That leaves very little energy for other body processes. Improved liver health can boost energy levels to new heights.

What is the Best way to Support the Liver?

You’ve heard it before. Don’t smoke. Drink little or no alcohol. Avoid caffeine, saturated and trans fats, refined sugar, alcohol and harmful chemicals, especially those in cleaning solvents and pesticides. Do things that support good general health: Drink at least 1.5 litres (48 ounces) of water each day and consume plenty of vegetables and legumes for their high fibre and nutrient content.

Are there Supplements I Should Take?

Absolutely! A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is a must to support detoxification. It is also a good idea to regularly use a “green food drink,” such as barley and wheatgrass, chlorella or spirulina for a concentrated source of greens as well as antioxidants and soluble fibre.

Can Natural Products Address Hepatitis or Cirrhosis?

Yes. Several natural compounds have been shown to improve liver function in both acute and chronic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Statistics from the World Health Organization estimate that 350 million people have chronic hepatitis. The most serious form is chronic hepatitis C (CHC). It is suspected that there are more than five million people in the United States infected with CHC, and as many as 200 million more around the world (roughly five per cent of the world’s population). The death rate from hepatitis C exceeds that of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

In conventional medicine, alpha-interferon, a very expensive treatment that benefits only about one-third of cases, is used for chronic hepatitis. Fortunately, several natural compounds exert some benefits and may even improve the effectiveness of alpha-interferon.

  • Glucuronate is a nutritional substance that binds to toxins in the liver to help eliminate them from the system. As a dietary supplement, glucuronate reduces stress on the liver and enhances its ability to detoxify.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is a sulphur-containing, vitamin-like substance that supports energy-producing reactions and is an effective antioxidant against both water- and fat-soluble free radicals. It protects the liver from free radical damage and helps promote detoxification.
  • Silybin phytosome is a special extract of milk thistle bound to phosphatidylcholine. Research indicates that silybin phytosome is better absorbed and produces better results than regular milk thistle extract.
  • Licorice extract contains glycyrrhetinic acid, the active component shown to protect the liver from damage, enhance the immune system, strengthen the effect of the immune-enhancing agent interferon and aid the liver in detoxification reactions.
  • Curcumin is the yellow pigment of turmeric (Curcuma longa), the chief ingredient in curry. Curcumin has demonstrated significant liver-enhancing activity in clinical studies with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It improves liver function and promotes clearance of toxic compounds.
  • Panax ginseng phytosome is a highly bioavailable form of panax ginseng, which helps enhance liver function, including regulating the manufacture of proteins and the
    filtration of blood.
  • Schizandra berry extract has been scientifically shown to possess antioxidant effects and anti-stress action (much like ginseng) and an ability to protect the liver from chemical damage.
    Protect your liver so it can continue to protect you from toxins, and so you can have renewed energy.

Things that Help Support a Good Liver:

  • Drink at least 1.5 litres of water each day.
  • Consume plenty of vegetables and legumes.
  • Take mineral supple-ments and multipurpose vitamins.
  • Use natural products, such as glucuronate, milk thistle extract, and panax ginseng to address hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Things that Help Prevent a Bad Liver:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Drink little or no alcohol.
  • Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Keep use of refined sugar to a minimum.
  • Stay clear of harmful chemicals, like those found in cleaning solvents and pesticides.


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Raise a glass and say cheers to not-so-hard drinks

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD