Do they work and how to maintain liver health
The liver performs many essential functions, including cleaning the blood, synthesizing proteins, producing hormones, and aiding digestion. Some manufacturers of liver supplements claim that their products detoxify and rejuvenate the liver.
Although the liver acts as the body’s primary detoxification and filtration system, supplement makers like to suggest that the liver could use its own detoxification.
In this article, we take a look at the research on liver supplements to determine if these products work.
Advertisements for liver supplements may claim that these products do the following:
- detoxify the liver and kidneys
- promote overall liver health
- optimize liver function
- protect liver cells from inflammation
- promote bile production
- increase metabolism and promote weight loss
- support respiratory and immune function
Taking herbal and dietary supplements for any reason can do more harm than good. Available data suggests that herbal dietary supplements are responsible for
According to a study involving the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN), herbal dietary supplements may cause
Liver damage caused by these supplements can
- reduced blood clotting
- abdominal swelling
- jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes
- encephalopathy or brain damage
People with drug-induced liver damage may require a liver transplant.
The researchers behind the DILIN study found that liver transplants and death occurred more frequently in people who took herbal supplements than those who took pharmaceutical drugs.
Many liver supplements contain a combination of herbal ingredients, vitamins, and minerals.
Milk thistle, also known as silymarin, is the
Silibinin acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that contribute to inflammation.
The researchers behind a
However, the findings of a Cochrane Review and one
The authors of the Cochrane Review note that the vast majority of studies reviewed used weak methodologies.
Zinc is an essential trace element that promotes cell division, DNA synthesis and immune function. Chronic liver disease can lead to
Another older 2012 study suggests that zinc supplementation may help protect the liver from oxidative stress due to hepatitis C viral infections.
However, more research is needed to support the use of zinc in the treatment of hepatitis C or other liver diseases.
Licorice root contains an active compound called glycyrrhizic acid, which can help
According to a
According to the results, a higher proportion of individuals in the glycyrrhizin groups showed significant reductions in symptoms compared to the control group.
However, the current evidence is too limited to support the use of licorice root to treat or prevent liver disease.
The liver is a complex organ that performs a range of essential functions.
A healthy liver removes waste products from the blood, metabolizes fats, and synthesizes hormones. A damaged, diseased or defective liver can lead to dangerous and even fatal consequences.
Hepatitis refers to chronic or self-limiting inflammation of the liver.
Signs of a defective liver include:
- loss of appetite
- unintentional weight loss
- nausea and vomiting
- dark yellow urine
- gray stools
- discomfort in the upper right part of the abdomen
People with advanced liver damage may experience:
- bleeding and bruising easily
- edema, which causes swelling of the lower legs, ankles and feet
- fluid retention in the abdomen
- itchy skin
- jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes
- confusion or difficulty thinking
- memory loss
- personality or mood changes
Limit the consumption of saturated fat
Limit alcohol consumption
The liver produces toxic chemicals, such as acetaldehyde, when it metabolizes alcohol.
A person can reverse the effects of steatosis if they stop drinking alcohol. However, continued excessive alcohol consumption can lead to chronic steatosis and chronic liver disease.
Minimize exposure to toxins
The liver breaks down toxic substances in the blood.
Exposure to environmental toxins, such as cleaning products, pesticides, and tobacco smoke, can damage the liver by filtering these substances from the blood.
Avoiding chronic drug use
The liver metabolizes drugs and drugs in the blood.
Chronic use of illicit drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, can lead to inflammation and liver damage.
Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can also contribute to drug-induced liver damage.
- antibiotics, such as amoxicillin and erythromycin
- acetaminophen, which is an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer
- cancer medicines, such as mercaptopurine, lapatinib and pazopanib
- anxiolytics and antidepressants, including duloxetine and nortriptyline
- immunosuppressants, including cyclosporine and methotrexate
People should see their doctor if they have symptoms of liver disease or if they think they have been exposed to a hepatitis virus.
Most people remain asymptomatic in the early stages of liver disease. Doctors can detect the first signs of liver damage during annual checkups and routine screening appointments.
Anyone with a family history of liver disease or who has one or more risk factors can talk to their doctor about reducing their risk of liver disease.
Current research suggests that milk thistle, zinc, and licorice root extract possess anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent liver damage from infections and toxin exposures. However, all of these substances also carry health risks.
However, doctors and researchers do not recognize the effectiveness of liver supplements due to the limited evidence available.