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How to Optimize Liver Health

The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and is vital for a wide range of essential tasks that contribute to our overall well-being. It is one of the main detoxification organs in the body, produces bile to drive digestion, stores a massive amount of nutrients, and plays a major role in hormone regulation. Your liver works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep you healthy and vibrant, and is often overworked with alcohol, processed food, and lifestyle toxins. Fortunately, the liver has the incredible ability to regenerate under the right conditions, and by making conscious choices to prioritize liver health, we can optimize its functioning and safeguard our overall well-being [1].

Main Functions of the Liver:

  1. Detoxification - the liver is known as the detoxification organ. All of the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver to be cleaned, at any one time, 10-15% of the total volume of blood in the body is in the liver. The liver removes ammonia (a waste product from protein metabolism), alcohol, drugs, and other toxins from the blood on a continual basis [2]
  2. Bile Production and Digestion - the liver produces bile which aids in the digestions of fats. It also helps to break down fat-soluble toxins in the intestines 
  3. Nutrient Storage and Metabolism - the liver stores an enormous amount of nutrients, especially iron and copper. It also is responsible for the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D and E 
  4. Glucose Regulation - the liver converts and stores excess glucose (blood sugar) after eating and releases it back into the bloodstream to provide energy when blood glucose levels drop too low 
  5. Protein Production and Regulation - the liver is the organ responsible for the regulation of blood protein levels such as hemoglobin, produces fat carrying lipoproteins (cholesterol), and other amino acids necessary for immune health and general wellness [3]

Liver Health Concerns:

  1. Cirrhosis - when the liver is damaged, scar tissue replaces normal liver tissue, reducing its function. Scarring of the liver is most commonly caused by alcohol, poor diet, toxic overload, metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and infections 
  2. Alcoholic Liver Disease - when excessive, long-term alcohol consumption can produce a wide range of liver ailments, due to the fact the alcohol is primarily metabolized by the liver. Around 35% of problem drinkers will develop ALD [4]
  3. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) - when fat builds up in the liver due to a diet high in processed and fried foods. This type occurs more frequently with obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. NAFLD has become a leading cause of chronic liver disease in Western countries [5]
  4. Hepatitis - when the liver enlarges, usually due to viruses such as usually caused by viruses like hepatitis B, A and C. Hepatitis can also be caused by heavy drinking, drugs, allergic reactions or obesity
  5. Drug overdosing - any drug entering the body at some point passes through the liver or one of its metabolites passes through the liver. Chronic overuse or acute toxicity (such as an acetaminophen overdose) can lead to liver failure [6]

Keys to Optimal Liver Health:

  1. Diet - following an anti-inflammatory diet and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially organic, provides fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants to support liver health. Equally important is the elimination of fried and processed foods and artificial ingredients [7]
  2. Reduce Alcohol Consumption - eliminating or reducing alcohol consumption greatly reduces the burden of detoxification on the liver, allowing it to perform its other functions optimally and keep the liver cells healthy. The less you drink, the better off your liver will be 
  3. Exercise and Hydration - while not the first organ that comes to mind when exercising, the liver also benefits from exercise and increased hydration (with water and electrolytes) helps to aid the liver in detoxification [8]
  4. Eliminate Toxins - the less toxins you expose your body to, the less work the liver has to do to excrete them. Eating organically, cooking with non-toxic cookware, using non-toxic skincare and cleaning products, quitting smoking, and  improving indoor air quality all reduce the burden on the liver and detoxification pathways 

Supplements to Support the Liver

  1. Milk Thistle - used for centuries to protect the liver, modern studies have shown that the active ingredient, silymarin, acts as a free radical scavenger and modulates enzymes associated with the development of cellular damage, fibrosis and cirrhosis [9]
  2. NAC/Glutathione - glutathione is one of the body’s main antioxidants and is found in large amounts in the liver. The liver relies on it to process and detoxify harmful substances and increased amounts can protect liver cells from damage 
  3. Curcumin - a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has been shown to support liver health [10]
  4. Sulforaphane - a polyphenol found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, it is a powerful antioxidant and also has been shown to boost the liver’s detoxification enzymes and pathways 
  5. Alpha Lipoic Acid - a water and fat soluble antioxidant that has been shown to be an effective liver protectant  [11]

These fantastic liver protecting supplements can be found conveniently all together in Pure Encapsulations LVR and Liver - G.I. Detox supplements and in happy being nourished meal replacement powder. To speak with our Wellness Counselors about your specific health condition, schedule for FREE here



  2. Grant D. M. (1991). Detoxification pathways in the liver. Journal of inherited metabolic disease, 14(4), 421–430.
  4. Osna, N. A., Donohue, T. M., Jr, & Kharbanda, K. K. (2017). Alcoholic Liver Disease: Pathogenesis and Current Management. Alcohol research : current reviews, 38(2), 147–161 C5513682/
  5. Maurice, J., & Manousou, P. (2018). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Clinical medicine (London, England), 18(3), 245–250.
  6. Almazroo, O. A., Miah, M. K., & Venkataramanan, R. (2017). Drug Metabolism in the Liver. Clinics in liver disease, 21(1), 1–20.
  7. Mega, A., Marzi, L., Kob, M., Piccin, A., & Floreani, A. (2021). Food and Nutrition in the Pathogenesis of Liver Damage. Nutrients, 13(4), 1326.
  8. Oh, S., Tanaka, K., Warabi, E., & Shoda, J. (2013). Exercise reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in obesity-related liver diseases. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 45(12), 2214–2222.
  9. Gillessen, A., & Schmidt, H. H. (2020). Silymarin as Supportive Treatment in Liver Diseases: A Narrative Review. Advances in therapy, 37(4), 1279–1301.
  10. Panahi, Y., Valizadegan, G., Ahamdi, N., Ganjali, S., Majeed, M., & Sahebkar, A. (2019). Curcuminoids plus piperine improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A clinical trial. Journal of cellular biochemistry, 120(9), 15989–15996.
  11.  Bustamante, J., Lodge, J. K., Marcocci, L., Tritschler, H. J., Packer, L., & Rihn, B. H. (1998). Alpha-lipoic acid in liver metabolism and disease. Free radical biology & medicine, 24(6), 1023–1039.