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Protect your liver

Your liver is one of the strongest organs in your body, and one of the most important, but it is not indestructible.

Although only a small percentage of people suffer from liver disease, we should still pay more attention to the organ that performs many essential bodily functions.

The liver controls metabolism where nutrients are broken down into usable byproducts and toxins into waste. The liver stores glucose that is released when you need energy. It also holds numerous substances required for various bodily functions. For example, bile is used to carry away waste and digests fat in the small intestine.

Basically, whatever you eat, drink, breathe and absorb through your skin eventually reaches the liver. If your liver becomes ill, you can imagine that your body will face serious functional problems.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the top cause of liver disease. There are two kinds of liver disease caused by too much drinking — alcoholic hepatitis, a liver problem that causes serious but usually reversible liver damage, or cirrhosis, which causes irreversible liver damage.

Viral hepatitis can lead to serious liver problems and is the most common type of liver disease. Hepatitis causes inflammation to the liver but can be easily prevented by getting vaccinated for type A and B.

There are various supplements to give your liver some support if you think you’ve put it through too much stress during holiday binges, or too ward off the onset of liver disease.

Sea buckthorn berries are having a revival as a supplement to protect the liver. This indigenous berry found in the mountainous regions of China and Russia is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties but recent studies show that the leaf extract significantly reduces liver damage.

Red clover is a herb that is traditionally used as a way to purify the blood by helping the body get rid of excess fluid, clearing lungs of mucous and cleansing the liver. More recently, studies have shown that red clover contains isoflavones — plant-based chemicals that produce estrogen-like effects in the body — that have the potential to treat menopausal symptoms.

Milk thistle, also known as silymarin, has potent antioxidants that protect the liver from damaging toxins and free radicals. This herb stimulates healing and produces new liver cells. Most importantly, milk thistle helps the liver to speed up the production of glutathione — the body’s most essential antioxidant and detoxifying substance.

Burdock contains vitamins B1, B6 and B12, E, and sulphur necessary for liver detoxification processes. Burdock also contains other substances such as arctiin that improve liver and gallbladder function.

Dandelion extract, like burdock, is armed with a wealth of B vitamins and nutrients that reduces the damaging effects on the liver. Not only does it cleanse the liver but it also increases the production of bile. It is traditionally used to treat all liver diseases, including hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice.

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