5 Supplements That Support Liver Health
Throughout the holiday season (and often into the new year!), many people indulge a little too much in things like rich food and alcohol. Lots of people who may not eat unhealthily or drink a lot of alcohol during other months of the year let themselves go just a little for the festive season.
But while eating less-than-healthy foods and drinking alcohol is okay in moderation, when it becomes excessive (as it often does during the holidays), it can put a lot of strain on your liver. The liver is one of the most important organs in the body and is responsible for over 500 different functions. When you overindulge, it can hinder your liver’s ability to do what it does best. So why is liver health so important? And is there anything you can do to improve it after the holiday season? Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks, plus five top supplements that support liver health.
Why liver health is important
The liver is a versatile organ that plays a role in many different functions. Everything that you eat, drink, breathe or put on your skin is eventually absorbed by the liver to be processed. The job of the liver is to filter through these substances so that it can send certain things where they need to go in the body and get rid of the rest.
Other than acting as your own personal detox machine, the liver also helps with blood clotting, fighting off infections, and regulating hormones. All these tasks, along with hundreds of other functions, are vital to sustaining life and health.
When there is too much of any particular substance in the liver, it can become strained and have a difficult time weeding out the extra toxins. If the body builds up these toxins, the health of the liver becomes overly hindered and, in turn, can lead to the development of illness or chronic disease. In the worst cases, death can even be the result of the liver not functioning as it should. This is why it’s so vital to keep your liver working at its best.
How can I improve my liver function?
If your liver isn’t working the way it should, it could be due to a variety of factors, all of which require their own treatment plan. If it has just been slightly compromised because of some holiday overindulgence, there are some things you can do, such as eating certain liver-friendly foods, to restore it back to good health.
Some foods you can eat to help promote healthy liver function include:
- Fatty fish
- Beetroot juice
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli
These foods won’t magically fix your liver if it is especially damaged, but if you keep them as regular staples in your diet, you may be able to strengthen the action of your liver after your holiday festivities.
What supplements are good for liver repair?
There are many liver-boosting supplements on the market today. Many contain various concoctions of the same ingredients. The most commonly found ingredients in many liver supplements include:
The use of milk thistle for liver health began over 2,000 years ago as an herbal remedy that seemed to work effectively. For those who stick to herbal medicine, milk thistle is often the first supplement or ingredient suggested for under-functioning livers.
According to research, the reason milk thistle can be effective at boosting liver health is because of the natural plant chemical compound it contains: silymarin. Silymarin has the ability to not only reduce inflammation in the liver, but also to regenerate liver tissue and protect liver cells from becoming damaged.
While many people use artichoke in food dishes, its leaf can also be used in medicine and is an active ingredient in many liver supplements. It has been claimed that artichoke leaf reduces the damage caused to liver cells because of its antioxidant properties. Research surrounding the use of artichoke for liver health is scarce, but some research has found that it can reduce liver disease markers.
When people think of dandelions, they’re often transported to a summer afternoon they spent in their yard, trying to dig up the weeds and get them out of their grass! However, the dandelion is quite a powerhouse when it comes to health. Dandelion root and extract are both used to treat several liver ailments.
The research behind the use of dandelion isn’t extensive; however, some has shown promising results. For example, one particular study looked at dandelion extract and found that not only can it reduce stress on the liver and aid in the production of bile, it can also help to cure certain mild liver disorders.
Licorice root is often used to help with liver health. The active compound known as glycyrrihizic acid is the reason it has been so widely accepted as a possible treatment option for liver issues. Research has found that glycyrrihizic acic can aid in the regeneration of liver cells. It has also been shown to reduce liver inflammation, which helps restore the organ’s function.
Alcohol-induced liver inflammation, in particular, was examined in an animal study. The researchers gave rats licorice root to see how it would affect their livers, and the results showed that both liver inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver were both reduced for the rats that had taken licorice root.
Zinc is an essential mineral element in the body. It is needed for a variety of functions, such as aiding in the proper functioning of both the metabolism and the immune system. It is also a vital nutrient when it comes to your sense of taste and smell and your body’s ability to heal wounds.
When it comes to liver health, studies have found that zinc is crucial in reducing or preventing a form of inflammatory stress on the body known as oxidative stress. Since inflammation of the liver can cause damage, zinc could be a helpful supplement in prevention and healing.