Once upon a time, poor liver health and liver failure almost always occurred as the result of alcohol abuse. But a condition known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver has increased along with rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Many people with unhealthy livers today can trace the problem to excessive calorie intake.
The liver is a small miracle of biology. It manufactures blood-clotting factors and synthesizes proteins, including one called albumin, which helps maintain blood volume. It also metabolizes fats, including fatty acids and cholesterol. Additionally, the liver processes and stores carbohydrates, which are used for the glucose that red blood cells and the brain need. It also aids in the intestinal absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. And just as important, the liver eliminates harmful biochemical bodily products and works 24/7 to detoxify the body.
Fatty liver develops in two stages. Excess fat initially can come from consumption of unhealthy carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and too much table sugar. When the liver can’t keep up with the job of processing and breaking down fats and sugars, fat accumulate around it. In this early stage there are typically no outward symptoms. But oxidative stress on the body can impact this accumulated fat and lead to the second stage—an unhealthy inflammatory response. This may brings on functional damage, scarring and/or hardening (cirrhosis), and liver failure.
Support your liver health by eating a healthy diet and watching portion sizes. Choline is a key nutrient that you may want to include to support healthy fat metabolism in the liver. Americans in general consume far less of this important nutrient than recommended.
The following foods are good sources of choline:
- Organic eggs
- Grass-fed organic beef, veal and turkey
- Organic peanut butter
- Wild salmon
- Brussels sprouts
Liver health vitamins can be an important part of your daily wellness regimen. You should also lose any excess weight at a safe, reasonable rate (1-2 pounds per week) and increase your physical activity. Monitor your triglycerides and blood sugar to make sure they are at healthy levels.
Do you take proactive measures to support your liver health?