6 Surprising Ways You Might Be Damaging Your LiverBy Dr Dunner November 15, 2018
When our digestive systems act up, we feel the effects: cramping, indigestion, bloating, gas, constipation, upset stomachs… among a host of possible symptoms. A key part of the digestive system that more frequently goes unnoticed is the liver, because the symptoms of an unhealthy liver can be less immediately obvious.
However, the liver is the digestive system’s unsung hero; it performs over 500 vital actions every day! The fact that no human organ can regrow itself except for the liver is a testament to the importance of healthy liver function. Without the liver, the body would be missing its detoxification center.
Here’s just a few of those 500 key functions of the liver:
- Produces bile to help the body absorb vitamins, break down fat and maintain healthy digestion
- Synthesizes and stores glycogen to keep blood sugar levels steady
- Metabolizes fats to fuel your body with energy
- Synthesizes triglycerides, a building block of cells that also provide energy for metabolism
- Stores essential Vitamins A, B12, D, E and K, which improve the health of the eyes, blood, bones, immune system and more
- Carries away unnecessary byproducts and toxins for disposal as waste
According to the National Liver Foundation, the kind of fatty liver disease not caused by alcohol affects a staggering 1 in 4 Americans. Fatty liver occurs when the organ is overwhelmed with too much fat, sugar, contaminants and toxins to filter. For all of the hard work of detoxification, even the liver can use a helping hand now and again! Supplementing your diet with an all-natural, contaminant-free supplement like Liver-Chol Plus can help your liver work its hardest.
It’s popular knowledge that alcohol stresses the liver, and chronic alcohol abuse destroys liver cells. However, most of us live unaware of the other factors that can harm the liver.
Here are six other stressors that make taking a liver supplement a good idea:
Studies show that one of the most common sugars, fructose, can be as toxic as alcohol to the liver when consumed in large quantities. The liver uses fructose to make fat, which our bodies need, but the liver was never built to handle our modern diets full of junk food and processed items.
Nearly all added sugars today contain a significant amount of fructose, and nearly all packaged and processed foods today contain added sugars. Not to mention the high-fructose corn syrup that characterizes soda, candy, ice cream, juice, bread and even “healthy” foods like sweetened yogurt, salad dressing and nutrition bars. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup cause unhealthy fat buildup that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Studies have used ultrasound imaging to show that blood flow in the livers of people aged 65 and older was reduced by 35% as compared to people younger than 40. That decline comes as the production and flow of bile also decreases, which impedes digestion and prompts gut discomfort. The ability of the liver to metabolize many substances decreases as the body ages.
The liver’s ability to withstand stress decreases with age, which complicates its important daily role as the body’s detoxification center. Age-associated liver decline makes the organ vulnerable to injury or illness, because the liver can no longer repair damaged cells as quickly or filter contaminants from the bloodstream at its former rate. The number of functional liver cells in the liver also decreases with age, meaning that older livers can benefit from the boost of a supplement.
Does making lean mass body gains come at a price? For bodybuilders aspiring to aesthetic perfection, “muscle-boosting” supplements can yield harmful results. Victor Navarro, M.D., a liver expert at Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center, published a study in the journal Hepatology that assessed cases of drug-induced liver injuries. The study found that supplement-linked liver injuries leapt from 7% to 20% in a decade. In the US from 2014 to 2013, there have been 45 cases of bodybuilders so damaged from performance-enhancing supplements that they required liver transplants.
Navarro’s study also evaluated bodybuilding supplements against their ingredient labels; results revealed that 80% of the bodybuilding and performance drugs’ labels did not accurately reflect their contents. Analysis showed that half of the supplements under review contained undeclared anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids like these can accumulate and cause liver inflammation (also known as hepatitis). Steroids interfere with the “pump” that transports bile out of liver cells; over time, this makes the liver resemble the livers of people with fatty liver disease and early alcoholic liver disease. Because so many performance drugs contain undeclared steroid ingredients, bodybuilders should proactively maintain liver health with products guaranteed safe — like 100% natural, contaminant-free Dr.Dünner Liver-Chol Plus.
We’ve all seen imagery of the blackening effects that smoking has on the lungs. But did you know that smoking causes liver cancer at even higher rates than alcohol does? A 2011 study showed that nearly half of all instances of liver cancer are a result of smoking — in contrast, 10% were as a result of alcohol consumption. Consumption of tobacco products suppresses the “tumor suppressor gene” to cancerous effects. However, a person who both smokes and drinks compounds the effects of each on the liver; in tandem, these substances team up to cause more destruction than either does alone. Smoking also induces oxidative stress in the liver, which leads to the development of fibrosis (tissue scarring).
Virtually any job that involves regular handling of chemicals can expose the worker to liver health risk. As the World Journal of Gastroenterology notes, “Work activities with hepatotoxin exposure are numerous and include chemists, dry cleaners, farm workers, painters, health care workers, nurses and printers. Organic solvents are used in various industrial processes such as spray painting, paint manufacturing, degreasing, metal processing, aeronautical and auto manufacturing maintenance and manufacturing, as well as various chemical storage facilities.” According to the Hepatitis Foundation, even bug sprays and household aerosols can be dangerous.
The liver filters everything that enters the body, whether orally, intravenously, or through inhalation. Even chemicals labeled “safe” may not be safe for the liver over time. When regulators test a chemical’s risk to consumer, they expose lab animals to the chemical in increasingly low doses until the animal no longer exhibits a reaction. However, inhalation of toxins over time can lead to toxic hepatitis, or scarring of the liver, and many occupational chemicals have no long-term studies on their safety.
Being Overweight or Obese
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of adipose fat tissue in the liver, which can lead to health complications. Most overweight people who have fatty liver disease are unaware, because the disease at first progresses with unnoticeable or subtle symptoms like fatigue. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) begins to develop when the liver becomes overwhelmed with fat, toxins and sugar, and begins to store excess fat in its own cells. An estimated 25 to 40 percent of people with NAFLD experience inflammation and damage or destruction of the liver cells; this progression is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Overweight and obese people can mitigate or reverse fatty liver conditions with proper nutritional intake and physical exercise. However, if fatty liver disease progresses, it can lead to cirrhosis, or irreversible scarring of the liver. Research shows preventative measures need to happen sooner in life, rather than later. A longitudinal study by Columbia University of 635 children showed that those who had a larger waist size at age 3 were at increased risk of having a marker for liver damage and NAFLD by age 8.
Although many common factors are pathways to suboptimal liver health, Dr.Dünner had liver health — and overall digestive health — in mind when we created Liver-Chol Plus. Cheers to good health!