Best Strategies To Take Good Care Of Your Liver

The liver is an important part of your body, and thus your health. Located on the abdomen, it is the largest organ in the body, weighing about three pounds. It filters all of your blood every day, fights off infections and is capable of regenerating when healthy. The liver also performs over 500 functions, including regulation of your cholesterol levels. 

Unfortunately, many suffer from liver damage and are among the thousands waiting for a liver transplant, a process that takes about a year. There are many diseases that cause irreparable liver damage, and one of them is the fatty liver disease caused by excess fat in the liver especially if it comprises more than 10 percent of the liver's weight. Fatty liver disease has two types: alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). 

In one interesting tidbit, one study suggested that a more severe form of NAFLD, called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), was linked to glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in America and the main ingredient found in the Roundup herbicide. NASH results in significantly higher glyphosate residues in the urine, leading to increased risk of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and higher risk of death. The problem is that avoiding glyphosate is difficult since it is used everywhere, from farmlands to residential areas, leaching into the soil, food, water and air. One solution is to read product labels carefully and avoid processed food, especially if it is contaminated by the herbicide.

The good news is that there is a machine developed at the University of Zurich that keeps human livers pumping for seven days, rather than the normal 24 hours. According to MIT's Technology Review, the machine can also help improve the livers' health, allowing many to get their transplants faster.

Although machines like the one above have the potential to save many lives, not everyone can afford to wait for a liver transplant. Thus, you do not have to rely on a liver transplant in the future because here are the best strategies for you to take good care of your liver:

  1. Exercise - Regular exercise burns the triglycerides in your body for fuel and can also help reduce liver fat.
  2. Giving blood - giving blood twice a year will decrease your iron levels, protecting your liver from damage.
  3. Optimize omega-3 to omega-6 ratio - Omega-3 is found in Alaskan salmon, mackerel, herring and anchovies. Alternatively, if you do not eat any of these fatty fish regularly, do take an Omega-3-rich krill oil supplement. Lessen or avoid intake of processed foods and use of vegetable oil for cooking.
  4. Avoid meds - just one enzyme in the liver metabolizes nearly 50 percent of all drugs in the market, which include over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Tyenol and cold and pain remedies. Over a thousand OTC medications are linked to drug-induced liver injury.
  5. Avoid alcohol if you have NAFLD or NASH - If you have either NAFLD or NASH, avoid alcohol altogether because it can increase cirrhosis risk and destroy the cells on your liver. Otherwise, it is best to drink alcoholic beverages responsibly.
  6. Optimize your gut - Because up to 75 percent of those suffering from chronic liver disease have a microbiome imbalance in the gut, it is best for you to either take probiotics or eat fermented food to keep your microbiome balanced.
  7. Take N-acetylcysteine - A powerful antioxidant, it is used in treating chronic fatty liver diseases.

liver The liver cleans toxins out of the blood and fights infection. Credit: Mayo Clinic