Do you love Sweets? Do you love to eat packaged food and diet drinks? Are you an alcoholic? Are you obese? Are you a health freak taking Vitamin supplements? Do you love decorating your body with Tattoos? Do you take anti-depressants? Do you use lot of cleaning supplies to keep your home clean? Do you use Air fresheners?
If your answer is “YES” to at least one the above, then you are taking a step towards Liver problem…
Now, your question would be “What’s wrong with taking Vitamin Supplement?” or “Taking anti-depressant?” or “What’s wrong with Air fresheners?”
Let’s get into detail to understand more about it.
The Liver is one of the most essential organs for digesting food and getting rid of toxic substances from our body. This means that it will be the most affected too because all toxins in our body finally end up there before getting out of our system!
Let us discuss about some of the common things in our life that causes liver problems and the Prevention methods:
Always drink alcohol in moderation. Heavy drinking leads to liver failure.
Obesity can cause Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease because fat gets built up on the liver and swells up the liver.
Avoid sedentary lifestyle. Eat well and exercise.
Use less processed sugar
Avoid packaged food item, diet drinks and food items containing MSG.
Injecting drugs using unsterile needles
Prevention: Don’t share needles to inject any kind of drugs. Even unprotected sex causes viral infections which may be any kind of Hepatitis virus. It’s better to get vaccinated for hepatitis.
Prevention: If you really want to get tattooed, then select a place that follows all safety standards and is clean.
High doses of Vitamin A
Prevention: Vitamin A is very good for the health and wellbeing but when taken in higher doses can cause damage to the liver. Please consult the doctor before taking any supplements
Prevention: Though it is rare, antidepressants sometimes cause liver damage. So, talk to your doctor before taking them.
Prevention: Take prescribed/nonprescription drugs only when required. Alcohol and medication should never be taken together.
Prevention: Chemicals present in Air fresheners and moth balls cause severe liver damage. Use natural spices and ingredients to add fragrance to your rooms instead of readymade air fresheners.
Prevention: Most of the Home Cleaning products contain Ammonia that causes liver damage. Use common household items like vinegar and baking soda instead of the toxic cleaning products to keep your home clean.
Prevention: Flame retardants are those used in mattresses. They cause liver toxicity. While buying mattresses, make sure they don’t use polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin
Prevention of liver diseases would be your first step towards a healthy life.
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Our Human body requires various types of vitamins on a daily basis to keep functioning at its best. The Liver, in specific, needs almost all these vitamins to remain healthy and to carry out its everyday routine functions. There are also some precautions to be taken while choosing these vitamin supplements, as they do more harm than help. Let us discuss about each of these Vitamins and the vital role they play in the wellness of the liver.
Vitamin A is a very good antioxidant. An antioxidant is very important for the body because it prevents free radicals (that are generated from normal metabolic processes, sun light, etc.,) from damaging the organs. Antioxidants are a boon that binds with these free radicals, neutralize them, thus preventing damage to the organs.
In the case of liver, free radicals in the body cause liver scarring. Hence, an antioxidant is required to prevent the free radicals from scarring the liver. Vitamin A does the job.
Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) also detoxifies the liver.
But caution needs to be taken while consuming Vitamin A. People who already have liver cirrhosis should be more cautious about the dosage of Vitamin A. But Vitamin A can be taken in the form of Beta Carotene.
Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, fish, liver and tropical fruits.
Vitamin B-12 is a non toxic vitamin and has no contraindications or negative effects. It helps in the detoxification process. Vitamin B-12 is also used to treat Jaundice and viral Hepatitis. But Vitamin B-12 is more effective in the form of injection rather than oral supplement as it is not well absorbed due to gut flora.
Vitamin C is also a very good anti oxidant that prevents the free radicals from destroying the healthy liver tissues. In fact, Vitamin C protects the liver. Even very low doses of Vitamin C help to prevent fat from building up in the liver. Normal dose of Vitamin C helps to flush the fats from the liver. It has also been studied that high doses of Vitamin C helps in eliminating Jaundice. But the doses are determined by a doctor depending on the Bowel tolerance.
Vitamin C is also recommended for people with problems related to toxicity and oxidative stress (due to free radical).
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like oranges and berries.
Though Vitamin D is not directly used to treat Liver problems, it has been found that more than 90% of the people with Liver disease have Vitamin D deficiency. Hence, Vitamin D is prescribed for those with advanced liver disease to prevent osteoporosis and other bone related problems.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant used to neutralize free radicals. Vitamin E also protects cell membranes, softens the existing scar tissue of liver, which in turn helps in the regeneration of fresh tissues. Another job of Vitamin E is to protect Vitamin A from damage by free radicals.
But care should be taken on the dosage of Vitamin E. Also, usage is natural Vitamin E Is essential.
Vitamin E is naturally found in Pumpkin, Sunflower oil, Sesame Oil, Mangoes, Papaya, tomatoes.
People with chronic liver conditions are more prone to bruising and bleeding as the liver cells are unable to produce enough of clotting factors. Vitamin K is prescribed for such kind of problems as it helps to reduce the deficiency of clotting factors and helps in reducing bruises and bleeding.
Vitamin K is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, mint, wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts.
Choosing the right Vitamin and the correct dosage is very important for keeping the liver healthy and managing the liver problems.
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Our Modern Lifestyle, complete with air pollution, food additives, and high amount of stress ensure that the liver has plenty to do. A mere three pounds liver works hard for you everyday than you could imagine, such as converting the food rich in carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy, detoxify blood as so on and thus in other words known as a “Gatekeeper” of your body.
Being the second largest organ in the body, it is least cared for till something really goes wrong. It performs N number of functions in the body; you may not be aware of and keeps you away from many nasty health diseases.
Strengthening our liver is one of the ways to boost energy, balance weight and for overall strengthen health.
One of the best we can do is by having a health plan based diet as it is rich in antioxidants, natural cleansing agents like fiber and water and contains non – acidic proteins that are friendlier to our body than the animal sources. Here are few healthy foods recommended for a healthy liver.
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The liver which is the largest of the internal organs, plays a major role by producing the proteins required for the body, clotting of the blood, storing the nutrients and sending nutrients to the bloodstream, producing bile which is required for digesting food, storing the sugar, and eliminating harmful substances from the blood. In this process, the liver comes in contact with various harmful substances which scar the liver.
Cirrhosis is the final stage of any type of liver damage and happens over a long period of time. The liver tissue is damaged and becomes scarred. The scar tissue cannot perform its functions thereby restricting the flow of blood and reduce the production of proteins, glucose and cholesterol.
Mostly, Cirrhosis is the result of Hepatitis C, alcohol and fatty liver. Once Cirrhosis occurs, it cannot be reversed and more and more tissues get scarred eventually leading to liver failure. Other complications are kidney failure, liver cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, gallstones, esophageal varices (the bile which cannot pass through the liver is backed up to the esophagus), edema and enlarged spleen.
Though it is fatal, further damage to the liver tissues can be avoided if detected early.
Cause of Cirrhosis
The liver can repair its damaged tissues but with long term exposure of harmful substances like Hepatitis virus and alcohol, Cirrhosis happens. It shrinks and hardens the liver tissue restricting the normal liver function.
Cirrhosis Due to Alcohol
Cirrhosis by alcohol happens when a woman takes more than 2 drinks a day and when a man takes more than three per day for more than 10 years. It however is different for each and every individual.
Cirrhosis Due to Fatty Liver
Cirrhosis due to fatty liver is due to the buildup of fat in the liver. The fat buildup can be in people who may be obese, diabetes, high BP, repeated heart problems and metabolic syndrome which is associated with the size of the person.
Cirrhosis Due to Genes
Cirrhosis can also be genetic, where the person is affected with any of the diseases such as the Wilson’s disease, galactosemia, hemochromatosis, Alpha- 1 antitrysin deficiency and other glycogen storage issues.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis
The symptoms of Cirrhosis are jaundice, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, itchiness, nose bleeding, mental confusion, swelling of the abdomen, swelling of the legs, impotence and gynecomastia where breast development occurs in men.
The doctor looks for signs and symptoms and orders for appropriate tests. The tests which can detect Cirrhosis are family history, blood count test, albumin test (shows the rate at which the blood clots), liver function tests, liver biopsy, MRI of the abdomen area, Scan of the liver, CT of the abdomen and alpha fetoprotein which detects the presence of liver cancer.
Cirrhosis when detected can be treated based on its progress. Treatments are based on the extent of liver damage. Surgery is suggested to eliminate the damaged liver tissue and saving the rest of healthy tissues. Liver transplantation is done when there is liver failure due to Cirrhosis. Doctors prescribe a low protein and high carbohydrate diet. Reduced salt intake and stopping alcohol consumption is advised. Cirrhosis can be prevented or slowed by following a healthy lifestyle and stopping alcohol consumption.
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Liver diseases are a major problem worldwide. However, the number of drugs actually used successfully in humans is very less. In this review some of the most promising studied drugs utilized for liver diseases were chosen and analyzed critically from the basic clinical point of view. Some medicines are used to prevent complications of chronic liver disease. Others are used to treat the symptoms of chronic liver disease.
Here are few Drugs suggested for Liver Disease
No treatment will cure cirrhosis or repair scarring in the liver that has already occurred. But treatment can sometimes prevent or delay further liver damage. Treatment involves lifestyle changes, medicines, and regular doctor visits. In some cases, you may need surgery for treatment of complications from cirrhosis. Blood tests, which measure liver enzymes, are done to check liver function before and during chemotherapy treatment. These tests are done to check for liver damage, especially when the drugs used have the potential to affect the liver.
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In olden days drinking was attributed to a masculine habit. Today drinking has become a social phenomenon and is one of the aspects of gender neutrality. Although social drinking is widely accepted, it is always important to know not to cross the line.
The saying –too much of anything is good for nothing, holds good for all aspects in life. For instance even water which is considered the best liquid that humans can consume should be had in moderation otherwise it may lead to water intoxication.
Considering that a harmless liquid otherwise called the elixir of life, water, needs to be consumed in moderation, then what about alcohol?
The side effects of globalization leading to bigger jobs, smaller families and greater luxuries has also led to several other not so great vulnerabilities. The only way to control it is to know what will happen when you consume too much alcohol.
Liver being one of the largest organs in the body is the worst affected among others due to alcoholism. The following are the problems you most likely would face due to over drinking.
One of the functions of liver is to convert glucose into fat and store it in various parts of our body for later use. In case of alcoholism, the liver is ruined in such a way that it stores the converted fat into itself. As a result the liver enlarges with more and more storage of fat and one may end up feeling heavy in the abdomen region.
Signs of fatty liver are when you start feeling full with very less food and when you start losing your appetite. Although these are signs of just some eating or digestion problems, if the situation is overlooked then it may lead to liver disease for this is the first step towards the same.
Resilience is a common factor of the human body but having said that there is a limit for drinking beyond which liver cells begin to get damaged. Every time the liver pumps out the toxins in the blood due to alcohol, some of the liver cells die in the process. Excessive drinking may lead to a medical condition called alcoholic hepatitis.
This is a serious condition which develops due to over drinking over a short period of time. When this disease is mild, the liver damage can be reversed if one stops drinking for good. However if the damage is high then the condition may become worse and may become life threatening.
This is almost the final stage of liver disease where the maximum damage to the liver is done. However, even at this stage, if one stops drinking permanently or stick to daily limits, their life expectancy may increase. If not there is no guarantee that one may live even for the next five years. The problem here is with identifying this disease because symptoms may not be visible.
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Despite the efforts taken by government organizations to curb smoking in public and showcasing the harmful effects of smoking you still come across a whole bunch of people who continue to smoke.
If you happen to ask a smoker why does he/she smokes the reply will definitely be one of these, ‘I’m stressed and smoking relieves stress for me’, ‘Smoking helps me think’, ‘It’s kind of cool and stylish’ or ‘I’m unable to leave it (addicted in short)’. One may think that smokers are not aware of what it may lead to. But that’s not what really happens. Most smokers are aware that it is injurious to their health and may lead to cancer.
Whether it is started for fun or out of stress, one should always know that nicotine is additive and you might not be able to get rid of it when you want to. Smoking causes a number of health related risks, including liver failure. Here are some health problems caused by smoking to liver.
The chemicals from cigarette which eventually reaches the liver create oxidative stress which means that the liver cells do not get enough oxygen supply. This is because the red blood cells which do this oxygen supply work start losing their capacity to deliver oxygen to the liver.
As a result, the liver cells begin to die. Oxidative stress ages all organs of the body by releasing free radicals which cause great harm to the body. It is as good as scaring the good tissues of the body.
Liver failure is the continuation of oxidative stress. When one does not stop smoking even after the onset of oxidative stress, then the health of the organ (liver) gets depleted and eventually reaches a stage when the organ fails to perform any of its functions.
The body becomes a toxic substance and the only way for recovery is a liver transplant, which is a high risk procedure to replace damaged liver with a healthy one from a donor. However, even if this procedure ends up successfully, the patient is expected to quit smoking to live longer.
It is common knowledge that smoking leads to lung cancer. But with smoking, the chances of getting liver cancer are high and this is not something that commercials mention. It is widely accepted through research that smoking leads to almost a quarter of the liver cancers in the world. Because of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes the liver gets damaged as explained in the process above and fails to pump out the toxins in the body. This results in liver diseases and liver failure. People with liver disease who continuously abuse smoking worsen the situation leading to death of more liver cells and multiplication of tumors leading to liver cancer.
This is a rare disease where a metal like iron or some other metals present in the powder form in cigarette deposits in the liver. This causes scars in liver that is irreparable and eventually lead to other liver diseases.
Most often such iron deposits and diseases thereof would require a liver transplant.
Smoking though might not seem to be affecting liver, sure does have a deeper connection with the liver and its functions leading to serious diseases. It is always better to be afar from nicotine to lead a disease free happy life.
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It is normal for one to give more care what they see, such as your skin, hair and so on and not what makes them look this pretty, the backstage organs such as the liver, kidneys and so on. Liver is one of the back stage workers and plays a very important role in the function of your body.
It performs more than 500 functions. Liver helps to process nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals from the food and helps to get rid of toxins and microbes. It also plays a major role in clotting of blood. It plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s metabolic balance.
Certain unhealthy lifestyle practices and habits may cause liver diseases which can be overcome if you know how they are caused and what you need to do to stop it.
Causes of Liver Diseases
The liver is infected by Viruses and Parasites which causes inflammation in the liver and reduces its routine function. This viral hepatitis is caused by Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are the main causes for liver cancer. Hepatitis can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, allergic reactions, drugs particularly paracetomol and other drugs used to treat cancer and obesity.
A healthy tissue is replaced with scarred tissue which is a slowly progressing disease reduces the liver function is called Cirrhosis. Due to cirrhosis the blood which passes through liver is blocked. It also reduces the processing of nutrients, hormones, naturally produced toxins, production of proteins etc.
Cirrhosis is mostly caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, overloaded iron or bile duct disease, obesity and diabetes. Other causes of this disease include prolonged exposure to the environmental toxins, parasitic infections and reactions to drugs.
The National Institutes of Health had announced that this Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of the death by disease in the world.
Overuse of Medications
Undue use of over the counter medication will lead to many problems. One of the most badly affected organs due to overuse of medications is Liver. Certain prescription drugs also contain harmful chemicals and may cause liver damage. These medicines include corticosteroids which are used for treating inflammation, antidepressants, mood stabilizers and pain killers.
Some herbal medications also damage the liver. Since liver is the major detoxifying organ it is subjected to variety of drugs and chemicals. Over the counter medications like paracetamol can cause liver failure.
Never choose self medication, medical prescription from a practitioner is safer. Before using the medicines one should see the side effects.
Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Excessive alcohol consumption leads to liver failure. Liver absorbs the alcohol and converts it to a less toxin form. However when the amount of alcohol exceed the capacity of liver, it remains unattended to.
More absorption of alcohol leads to fatty liver, cirrhosis and inflammation of the liver and is called as alcoholic hepatitis. Though smoking does not harm the liver directly but the harmful chemicals from the cigarette smoke will increase the oxidative stress and cause irreversible damage to the liver.
Obesity and Diabetes
Obesity is one of the major problems for many diseases. Due to excess amount of fat in the body the liver also gets surrounded by these fats. This accumulation of fats in the liver leads to fatty liver disease. Obesity also leads to cirrhosis of liver and liver failure.
Diabetes is also plays a major role in increasing liver disease by 50 percent. When you are infected by diabetes the insulin level will increase in the blood which tends to abdominal weight gain. This leads to more fat storage in the liver which causes fatty liver disease.
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You probably are not aware of the huge number of functions your liver does to maintain your overall health. In fact liver is the most important organ in your body and plays a definitive role from digestion to accumulation, generation of blood to secretion of hormones and even in your general immune system.
Almost 500 functions are performed by this football sized organ and hence should be treated rightly to keep you staying healthy throughout your life.
There are some things that you need to keep your liver healthy such as following the right kind of food habits, a good fitness regime, drinking lots and lots of water and having a good night’s sleep.
Well, there are some other things which you should not do, because these deeds of yours would damage your liver. Some such activities which you must avoid are discussed here.
10% of the overall fat that is present in your body goes directly to your liver and gets accumulated there. So for every 100 gm increase in fat your liver gets 10gm fat. The total weight of your liver is 1.36 kg; even an increase in 10 grams would mean a 10% increase t its normal weight.
Now imagine if the accumulated fat was the bad cholesterol or the saturated fat, the amount of harm it would cause to your liver and therefore your body would increase many fold almost instantly.
Thus fatty food consumption has to be minimized, concentrate on avoiding processed and preserved food such as pizzas and burgers.
The main function of liver is cleansing your system; this implies that all the toxins, impurities and the non digestible waste would go to the liver for further filtration.
Preservatives, as the name suggest preserve food substances from the attack of microorganisms. Thsese microorganisms though cause harm to our body, still are living things. So basically the preservatives act against the functions of a loving thing to inhibit it from growing on a food substance. It is thus, a proven toxic product acting against the growth of a living being.
When these toxins reach the liver they cause irreparable harm to the liver and sometimes lead to serious liver conditions.
Too much of alcohol consumption is considered to affect the functioning of liver directly. This is because when liver processes fats it converts them to sugars and sends it to through the blood to be used as energy. Alcohol hinders this conversion of fat to sugar.
Thus, fat remains as fat in liver rather than being converted to sugar. This leads liver conditions such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and even cirrhosis.
Medications, especially over the counter medications have to be taken only under unavoidable circumstances. The drugs such as painkillers and even vitamin additives do not get metabolized completely in the digestive system.
Some chemicals in them remain circulating further and reach the liver. Here they hinder the normal functions of liver and cause damage to it.
Using glucose is good for your health because it gives energy to perform your normal activities. However artificial sweeteners which are cheaper than sugar and give instant sweetness to juices and food do not give glucose.
They are made of sucrose or fructose. These sweeteners cannot be easily metabolized and hence leave behind toxic impurities that are carried away to the liver. In the liver they affect the bile production and also other hormonal production processes harming liver and its functions.
Some of the above activities seem to be a normal thing you do in your day to day life, and may not have looked so harmful too. However in the long run you would end up with liver conditions if they are not checked.
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Liver is an important part in the human body which acts as an inbuilt filtering organ. Liver removes harmful substances from the bloodstream and gives fresh nutrition to the body and helps the body to remain healthy.
Intake of unhealthy foods will damage your liver and leads to serious problems in the body. The important sources to keep your liver healthier are only through consuming healthy nutrients foods and avoiding harmful foods. It helps the liver to do its regular multi functions.
Here are some tips to keep your liver healthy.
Drinking plenty of water between eight to ten glasses every day is essential. Water helps the liver to flush toxins way from your body.
You know lemons have high amount of Vitamin C. Lemons have a natural cleansing property and hence clean the toxic materials and helps in digestive process. It thus enhances the liver detoxification abilities.
Lemon is recommended for the persons having liver diseases owing to the electrolytic properties of lemon acting as a natural replacement of salt. So drinking plenty of fresh lemon juice in the morning stimulates the liver.
Garlic is one of the best cleaning agents of the liver. It has an ability to activate the liver enzymes which helps the body to get rid of toxins. Garlic has a high amount of allicin and selenium which acts as the two powerhouse nutrients for the liver. Garlic is a liver friendly food. Use whole garlic cloves rather than the processed ones to keep your liver healthy.
Beetroots are natural cleansers and purify the blood. They are high in plant-flavonoids thereby boosting the overall functions of the liver and nutrient production in the body. They also contain pectin which removes the toxins from the liver.
Green tea is a rich source of catechins that are believed to improve the functions of liver and thereby keeping liver healthy. Green tea also contains alkaloids that are beneficial for the liver function.
Apples are high in malic acid which helps to cleans by removing carcinogens and other toxins in the blood. It is also very rich in pectin. This pectin helps to remove the toxins and cholesterol from the blood.
Avocados – Avocados help the body to produce an antioxidant known as glutathione. Glutathione is one of the important components which help liver in filtering the harmful toxins.
Walnuts – Walnuts aid the liver to detoxify ammonia since they are rich in amino acid arginine. Walnuts also have very high amounts of glutathione and omega – 3 fatty acids which is helps in the liver cleaning process.
Grapefruit – Grapefruit is rich in vitamin C as well as antioxidants. These two components improve the cleansing processes of the liver naturally. They also helps to remove carcinogens and toxins.
It is important to keep your body fit and free of bad cholesterol. Liver has the tendency to accumulate cholesterol and owing to bad lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits if you manage to accumulate cholesterol, most of it would be I the liver.
Once cholesterol accumulates in the liver, its general functions would be affected and also production of bile juice, which is important for digestion of fat, would be produced in lesser quantities. Hence beat the road at least thrice a week and burn the extra fat.
For more information on liver health, click HERE.
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