Writen by Koay Lay Sin, AA Pharmacist.

The liver is the largest and essential organ in the body. All nutrients, medication and toxic substances are processed, stored, altered, detoxified in the liver. Liver acts as a stronger defender to resist infection by producing various immune factors and removing bacteria from the blood. Besides, liver helps with blood clotting and plays an important role in storing vitamins and minerals. 

There are 3 main metabolisms carry in the liver such as:

1. Fat Metabolism
– The liver produces bile to break down fats which turns into energy.
– It controls the production and excretion of cholesterol.

2. Carbohydrate Metabolism
– The liver helps to regulate the blood glucose level. High level of blood glucose will be converted to glycogen stored in liver.

3. Protein Metabolism
– Liver cells convert amino acids into energy under stress or in times of shortage of glucose. Simultaneously, it converts ammonia to a much less toxic substance called urea to be excreted out from the body.

There is a common disease processes occur in the liver. Start with the fatty liver (Steatosis) which is the abnormal buildup of fats in liver cells. The handling of fat by liver cells is disturbed if liver overproduces or has trouble in excretion. Further stage of fatty liver is with inflammation known as steatohepatitis. Besides, liver inflammation (hepatitis) can be induced by viruses, drugs, alcoholic, obesity, autoimmune or chemical toxins. As a result, the liver cells are damaged and forced to be replaced with scar tissues.

Symptoms of liver diseases include:

  • Weakness and fatigue,
  • Weight loss,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting, and
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin (jaundice).

The treatment of a particular liver disease depends on its specific cause. 

The Common Liver Function Tests:

A. Liver Enzyme Tests
Below is a list of liver enzymes found large amount in the liver. High levels of all these enzyme can be a sign of liver inflammation and malfunction:

  • Alanine Transaminase (ALT)
  • Aspartate Transaminase (AST)
  • Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
  • Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT)

B. Liver Protein Tests
Three main proteins found in the blood; globulins, albumin and prothrombin. Improper amount of these protein can be a sign of liver damage.

C. Bilirubin Tests
Bilirubin is a yellow fluid when red blood cells break down. If liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak out from liver into blood and lead to jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes).

Who Needs Liver Tonic:

  • Long term use prescription drugs or OTC drugs
  • Liver damage
  • Excessive intake of alcohol
  • Smoker
  • Large consumption of sugar, fast food, chemical food additives or highly processed food
  • Regular exposure to engine fumes, smog, crowded dirty places, water chlorination, fluoride and heavy metals
  • Regular exposure to toxic chemicals and pollutants

Liver Tonic (Excessive intake of alcohol) - AA Pharmacy Health Tips

Excessive intake of alcohol

Supplements For Liver

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
It has been used as an herbal remedy to protect the liver from the toxins. Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to repair liver itself by growing new cells while removing toxins from liver.

Dandelion root
It has protective effect against liver toxicity due to its antioxidant properties in removing harmful radicals from the liver.

Phospholipid
Phospholipids is the main building block of the liver cell membranes. Supplementary of this item restores back normal cell membrane which in turn, supporting the vital functions of the liver.

Natural Detox Food

Olive oil

Olive oil opens the bile duct in the liver to ease the flow out of the bile acid. More bile acid is available to break down the excess lipid.

Lemon Juice

It contains citric acid which triggers the digestive juice secretion and breaks down food more efficiently.

Turmeric

It contains high antioxidant with the asisting enzymes in liver to boost the detoxification process.

Beet and Carrot

Plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene are extremely high in both of these plants which supports the liver functions via their antioxidant features.

Reference:

  1. Abdel-Misih, Sherif R. Z.; Bloomston, Mark (2010). “Liver Anatomy”. Surgical Clinics of North America. 90(4): 643–53. doi:10.1016/j.suc.2010.04.017. PMC 4038911
  2. Rui, Liangyou. “Energy Metabolism in the Liver.” Comprehensive Physiology 4.1 (2014): 177–197. PMC. Web. 1 Mar. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4050641/
  3. Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM (2017) Liver disease, Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/liver_disease/article.htm (Accessed: 18/2/2018).
  4. Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD (2016) Hepatitis, Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/viral_hepatitis/article.htm#viral_hepatitis_facts (Accessed: 18/2/2018).
  5. Laurie Barclay, MD (2001) Liver Detoxification, Available at: https://www.webmd.com/men/features/liver-detoxification—-fact-fad#1 (Accessed: 18/2/2018)
  6. Asghar Z, Masood Z. Evaluation of antioxidant properties of silymarin and its potential to inhibit peroxyl radicals in vitro. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2008;21(3):249-254
  7. Jeon HJ, Kang HJ, Jung HJ, Kang YS, Lim CJ, Kim YM, Park EH. Anti-inflammatory activity of Taraxacum officinale. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jan 4;115(1):82-8
  8. Küllenberg, Daniela et al. “Health Effects of Dietary Phospholipids.” Lipids in Health and Disease 11 (2012): 3. PMC. Web. 1 Mar. 2018.
  9. Baggio, G., Pagnan, A., Muraca, M., et al. “Olive-oil-enriched diet: effect on serum lipoprotein levels and biliary cholesterol saturation.” Am J Clin Nutr. (1988): 960-964
  10. Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM (2017) Does Lemon Juice Detox the Liver?, Available at: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/does-lemon-juice-detox-the-liver/ (Accessed: 18/2/2018)
  11. Braun, Lesley, and Marc Cohen. “Herbs and Natural Supplements, Volume 2: An Evidence-Based Guide, Volume 2.” Elsevier Health Sciences, 30 Mar. 2015.
  12. Váli, László, et al. “Liver-Protecting Effects of Table Beet (beta Vulgaris Var. Rubra) During Ischemia-Reperfusion.” Nutrition, vol. 23, no. 2, Feb. 2007, pp. 172–178.

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