Love your liver

January is Love your Liver month. This is a campaign by the British Liver Trust to educate people about the importance of caring for your liver. Their campaign focuses on three main threats to the liver which include:

  • alcohol
  • Non-alcohol related fatty liver disease
  • viral hepatitis

3 different ways to “Love your Liver”

  1. Take at least two days a week off from drinking alcohol- even better give up!

  2. Try supplementing with N-Acetylcysteine or  Milk Thistle Extract

  3. Drink coffee!

These suggestions are for healthy people, those with liver disease need to follow their doctor’s advice.

N-Acetylcysteine or  Milk Thistle Extract

N-Acetylcysteine is a form of the amino acid l-cysteine. N-Acetylcysteine one of the most powerful naturally occurring antioxidants. When supplemented it increases production of glutathione which is the body’s most potent detoxifying antioxidant. According to Patrick Holford “Liver disease and dysfunction are strongly associated with long-term glutathione deficiency. People with chronic hepatitis C also tend to have lower glutathione levels and, as a consequence, they are at greater risk of developing liver cirrhosis and cancer of the liver.”

Studies have shown N-Acetylcysteine to improve liver function in conditions such as Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Milk Thistle is a traditional herbal product. “Milk thistle contains silymarin, which has a number of unique functions and is a particularly powerful antioxidant. Silymarin also increases glutathione levels. Another way the liver can be damaged is through the action of substances known as leukotrienes. Silymarin prevents these leukotrienes from attacking the liver.”

Both these products – not to be taken at the same time though, offer benefits for healthy people wishing to support the health of their liver.

Drinking Coffee

“At last, liver physicians have found a lifestyle habit that is good
for your liver!” Professor Graham Alexander

In June 2016 The British Liver Trust published a report into coffee consumption and its potential benefits. It concluded that “moderate coffee consumption is related to a lower risk of liver cancer and slowing of disease progression in liver fibrosis and alcohol-related cirrhosis. There is also evidence that moderate coffee drinking could be beneficial in slowing the progression of viral infections of the liver.”

The benefits of coffee are available for everyone – choose organic coffee, and remember to drink it in the morning so sleep is not disrupted.

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