The liver is the largest organ in the body, lying below the diaphragm on the right hand side of the body. In an adult the liver weighs between 1200 and 1500grams. The liver fulfils many functions and can be likened to the chemical processing plant of the body.
Amongst it’s many tasks it breaks down haemoglobin, forms bile and bile salts, is involved in the breakdown and storage of fats, the breakdown of proteins, synthesises vitamin A which it stores together with vitamins B12, D and K, produces blood clotting substances, metabolises drugs and medicines.
A proportion of the drugs taken by mouth do not reach the circulation as they are consumed in the liver. This is why some medications are given through the use of skin patches, under the tongue or rectally.
The liver plays a major role in the absorption of food, keeping blood sugar levels stable and eliminating toxins from the body. For these reasons, keeping the liver healthy is vital to overall good health.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Milk Thistle||Enhances liver function and stimulates the replacement of damaged liver cells with healthy cells.||175 – 525mg per day|
|Alpha Lipoic Acid||Protects the liver from toxic damage and is detoxifying.||60 – 120mg per day|
|N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)||Essential for the liver’s detoxification process. Efficient detoxification ensures that harmful toxic compounds are not able to build up in the liver. Cysteine also has antioxidant properties, which further enhances its liver protective abilities.||60 mg per day (away from food)|
|Dandelion Root||Enhances bile flow, thus improving conditions such as liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstones, and jaundice.||250 – 500mg per day|
|Antioxidant formula||Antioxidants are required to protect liver cells from the damaging effects of toxins as they are processed and detoxified by the liver.||As directed|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
In order to keep your liver functioning and your health at optimal wellness, reduce, or ideally completely avoid the following:
- Caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, chocolate, cola which are all toxic to the system and place additional burden on the liver.
- Sugar which is acidic and toxic to the immune system.
- Refined carbohydrates.
- Saturated and trans fats.
- Fried foods
- Inorganic food.
- Food additives which add to the chemical load on the liver.
Increase your intake of:
- Complex carbohydrates
- Vegetables (especially cruciferous)
- Fruit (especially citrus)
- Nuts and seeds
- Oily fish
- Whole grains
- Organic food
Limit your exposure to environmental toxins
Avoid smoking and passive smoking
Take regular exercise
Suggested further reading:
- Liver function explained
- Improving liver function