Is Your Liver Headed for a Crash?
Very recently, I read a study that made me do a double take. The survival rate for a certain type of liver transplant is up. And that’s good news.
But slipped into the study was a shocking number. The number of people needing these transplants has gone up 600% in just the last 15 years.1
The problem is a fatty liver. And the number of Americans with fatty liver issues is staggering. Nearly 1 in 3 American adults now has a fatty liver. Here’s why that’s a problem… and how you can cut your risk.
The biggest problem with a fatty liver is that most people don’t know they have it until there’s serious damage. You might feel tired or “down in the dumps.” For most people, there’s no clear sign.
But a fatty liver goes hand-in-hand with some more familiar health issues. Such as being overweight – especially if you have “belly fat.” Or if you have blood sugar problems. Or high cholesterol or triglycerides.2
You see, all of these issues make your liver work harder… and contribute to high fat levels. And a fatty liver doesn’t function well.
Eventually, you can lose much of your liver function, and then you’re in big trouble. Because your liver processes toxins, excess cholesterol and other dangerous substances out of your system.
Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to keep your liver in shape…
- Drink in moderation.
- Avoid sugary and starchy foods that can raise your blood sugar too high.
- Stay active and watch your weight.
You can also take supplements that stimulate your body’s natural defenses against a fatty liver.
For example, your body uses choline to make phosphatidylcholine (PPC). PPC is part of very low-density lipoprotein – a form of cholesterol that clears fats out of the liver.
Women should get 425 mg of choline a day, while men need 500 mg. Beef liver is the best source, providing about 70% of a man’s DV per 3-ounce serving. A large egg contains about 25%.
But few other foods come close to these, so a supplement containing choline can help support healthy liver function.
Inositol is a form of carbohydrate that also appears to support lower levels of fat in the liver. It’s found in a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
In one study, animals given inositol and choline together saw a much larger drop in their liver’s fat content than with either supplement alone.3 I haven’t found a similar human study, but this synergy may occur in people, too.
To promote overall liver health, milk thistle – the source of silymarin – has an excellent track record.4 It’s widely used in Europe, and is approved for use by the German government’s commission on herbal remedies.
Green tea and dandelion are two other herbs that support liver health. Most of the studies on green tea use a flavinoid called catechin, but it’s widely available in green tea extracts.
You probably don’t think about your liver very much, but it may be your hardest-working organ. And it usually won’t give you any trouble until it’s in bad shape. But with these simple suggestions, you should be able to keep your liver humming along for many years to come.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Afzali, A., et al, “Excellent posttransplant survival for patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in the United States,” Liver Transplantation. Jan 2012; 18(1): 29-37.
2 Hjelkrem, M.C., et al, “Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” Minerva Med. Dec 2008; 99(6): 583-593.
3 Blewett, M., et al, “Inositol and Phosphorylation of Liver Lipids,” Nature, October 8, 1949; 164: 621-622.
4 Pradhan, S.C. and Girish, C., “Hepatoprotective herbal drug, silymarin from experimental pharmacology to clinical medicine,” Indian J Med Res. Nov 2006; 124(5): 491-504.