While our brains never stop working, the liver is still one of our body’s largest and busiest organs.
On a daily basis, it performs approximately 500 different functions, including cleansing the blood of toxins, storing glucose in the form of glycogen for energy and producing bile.
“It’s an organ you could easily trash if you don't take good care of it,” Dr. Rohit Satoskar, of MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, told WebMD.com. “And once you trash it, it’s gone.” (Ref. 1)
Watch the drugs
Excessive use of over-the-counter medication is one of the quickest ways to burn out your liver.
While the list of drugs that can cause liver damage is exhaustive (click here to find out if yours is on the list) the popular painkiller acetaminophen is the most talked-about offender.
Taking too much of the drug – the most widely-used painkiller in the world (Ref. 2) - can lead to health problems including potentially-fatal liver damage.
What happens is that glutathione – the most important antioxidant in the body and the one that detoxifies the liver – becomes overloaded by a key ingredient in acetaminophen, and that ingredient accumulates to dangerous levels in the liver, acting like poison. Mixing in alcohol only escalates the dangers. (Ref. 3)
Around age 45, our glutathione levels begin to decline, which is unfortunate, because it is also the same time we’re usually prescribed drugs for other illnesses, and when many of those prescribed medications mix with acetaminophen, the damage to the liver can intensify.
Foods can strengthen the liver
A quick look at your diet, and some appropriate changes, can help improve your liver health, strengthening the organ that does so much and supporting it, even if you are taking medications.
Foods to support liver health include:
- Avocados. This vegetable is packed with good fat and it also has high levels of the liver-friendly antioxidant glutathione. (As if you needed a reason to add more guacamole to your diet.)
- Garlic. Garlic contains high levels of allicin and selenium, two compounds that help antioxidants and other nutrients cleanse the liver.
- Grapefruit juice. Packed with antioxidants, grapefruit juice also helps the liver flush out toxins, including those from medications such as acetaminophen.
- Sugar beets. Not only is this flavonoid-rich veggie beneficial to help support the body’s health, it can also help improve liver function.
- The cruciferous family. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower help boost our body’s levels of glucosinolate, which stimulates the production of an enzyme needed for digestion while supporting against oxidative stress.
- Leafy greens. Spinach and lettuce are powerful greens, because they contain nutrients that help the body manage free radicals. The darker the leaves, the more nutrients they contain. (Iceberg lettuce may have the least nutrients, but it’s made mostly of water, so it hydrates your cells while adding criso, desirable texture.)
- Lemons. Like grapefruit juice, lemons are packed with vitamin C. They also help work with the liver to whisk away toxins.
- Green tea. There’s so much about green tea that’s good because it contains the special plant antioxidant catechins, which has been shown in studies (Ref. 4) to help support liver function while helping the body manage oxidative stress that can damage liver cells.
- Turmeric. Considered one of the most antioxidant-rich spices we can include in our diet, turmeric helps stimulate the production of bile, which helps the liver excrete toxins effectively.
- Walnuts. Not only are walnuts high in the liver-friendly antioxidant glutathione, these tree nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which offer important liver support. (Ref. 5)
Supplements to support liver health
In addition to eating a diet rich in liver-boosting foods, consider adding Xtend-Life’s Omega-3 Premium or Omega 3 QH Ultra fish oil, Total Balance and Zupafood GREENZ or ELITE to your diet.
We’ve already learned that omega-3 fatty acids help provide liver support, but our Omega-3 Premium also contains astaxanthin – a power-packed antioxidant that according to a 2002 study helps the liver in two ways, first supporting it from oxidative stress (which ages and damages cells) and also by boosting the levels of detoxifying enzymes in liver cells, making them better at removing contaminants from this vital, busy organ. (Ref. 6)
And as for our Zupafood GREENZ, it offers three liver-friendly ingredients – wheat grass, spirulina and Chlorella – that support the organ’s health and your well-being.
The organic wheat grass in Zupafood GREENZ contains numerous essential vitamins and minerals, including some that help support liver health and function.
Spirulina offers antioxidants that have been shown in studies to support liver health by reducing the effects of certain enzymes that can be harmful to the liver. (Ref. 7)
Chlorella naturally cleanses the body’s cells, helping rid the body of waste along with the liver.
Our Total Balance formulas provide the liver-friendly antioxidant glutathione in small-molecule form, so it can pass through the walls of the intestine to reach the bloodstream. Many supplements use cheap Glutathione with molecules that are too large, and instead pass through the body unused.
We also use Nutrateric II enteric coating on our Total Balance supplements. Nutrateric II is the most natural form of enteric coating available, and it we specially developed for premium quality dietary supplements. This protects the potent and important ingredients such as glutathione against damage from stomach acids, so your body – including your liver – can reap the full benefits of the nutrients.