Supplements that support health and function of liver
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a supplement is something that is added to something else in order to make it complete. A dietary supplement is a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (vitamins, amino acids etc.) that are intended to supplement ones diet. These ingredients are active components of a plant or animal products that have been isolated, extracted and concentrated into a tablet or capsule that can easily be swallowed. They are able to deliver concentrated amounts of the active ingredient, which may prevent diseases and damage to cells or organs of the body.
The liver being such an important organ in the area of cleansing and detoxification will require certain supplements to support its functions. Moreover, the liver in carrying out those functions is usually exposed to various microorganisms and toxins that can cause damage to it. It would therefore require supplements that can prevent such damage. I have already presented water and foods that assist the liver in carrying out its functions and also helping to prevent damage to the liver. However, these may not be enough, hence the need to add supplements to the diet to ensure the wellbeing of the liver. Indeed, individuals above 50 years should be on supplements daily.
Here now are supplements if taken on a regular basis will support the good health and optimal functioning of the liver:
This is a natural herb that is highly recommended for the health of the liver. It contains phytochemicals of the flavonoid/lignan group known as silymarin. Silymarin is an antioxidant with liver-protective and regenerative properties. As an antioxidant, silymarin neutralizes free radicals in the liver and prevents the lipid cell membrane of the hepatocytes (liver cells) from damage. It can also counteract toxins and prevent the liver from damage. Silymarin has the ability to cause regeneration of the liver cells, which may have been damaged.
Other conditions of the liver where milk thistle has been found to be active are acute and chronic liver hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, fatty liver, drug-‘induced liver damage etc.
Milk thistle also has several health benefits in various non-liver related conditions. It is a powerful antioxidant any where in the body and is effective against Alzheimer’s disease, lowers blood sugar, lowers cholesterol level and prevents heart disease. Milk thistle also reduces cancer cell growth and has been found to prevent breast, lung, prostate, colon and cervical cancers.
This is an herbal medicine for healthy liver function; it helps to stimulate the production of bile so as to have a large store of bile. Bile acids are involved in fat metabolism and a continuous flow of bile salts from such a large store is usually a confirmation of the wellbeing of the liver.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is produced by every cell in the body. Unlike most antioxidants, alpha lipoic acid is both water and fat-soluble. This makes it an effective free radical scavenger any where in the body. Alpha lipoic acid also helps in the regeneration of other antioxidants that have released their electrons to balance the free radicals. In other words, alpha lipoic acid prolongs the function of other antioxidants in neutralizing free radicals.
Furthermore, this supplement helps to increase levels of glutathione and the liver enzymes. It also protects the liver against inflammation and prevents the hepatocytes and their membranes from free radical damage.
This is a powerful liver tonic, which helps to stimulate flow of bile and helps the liver to digest fats. It also protects the liver from toxins and inflammation. It balances cholesterol and it is particularly useful in supporting the health of the heart.
Other supplements that are useful in supporting the health and function of the liver are: soy lecithin (phosphatidylcholine), N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), Olive leaf extract, Burdock root and Dandelion root.