Right now, on the right side of your body underneath your rib cage, there is a small organ that is working hard to keep you healthy. That organ is your liver, an organ you may not think about too much.
You may remember studying the liver in science or health classes, but now it’s probably something that you don’t think about on a daily, weekly, or even annual basis.
However, you should be thinking about your liver every day and making sure that you are doing what you can to help keep it healthy and working properly. If you are not thinking about your liver, then you possibly do not know that your liver is working around the clock to help keep your body healthy.
The liver has many functions for such a small organ. It is an important piece of your digestive system, making sure that everything you digest is properly broken down and distributed. It also stores the glucose for your body. Your liver works hard to help the rest of your body get rid of nasty chemicals that could harm your body by cleaning the blood that flows through it.
By storing the glucose your body needs, the liver can also give you an extra energy boost when you need it by releasing the glucose into your body. Your liver is truly an organ that you cannot live without. It provides too many advantages to your body and your health. It is our job to make sure that we keep our liver in top working order to maintain our overall health. You may be asking yourself what you can do to help keep your liver healthy, but it is actually very simple.
How To Boost Your Liver Health
Most people think that keeping an organ healthy would be a complicated process that they do not have time for in their busy lives. In reality, changing a few things in your everyday life can actually boost the health of your liver.
And by boosting the health of your liver, you are going to be able to boost the overall health of your body, because you are allowing your liver to stay healthy and you are allowing it to do its job.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
One important way to help keep your liver in top health is to limit the amount of alcohol that you consume. Most doctors will tell you that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol isn’t good for your judgment, and it takes a toll on the health of your body. But drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can actually damage your liver even more than you may think. It can cause damage to your liver cells, which will lead to swelling of your liver.
If your liver becomes swollen, you are at risk for a liver disease known as Cirrhosis of the Liver, which can be fatal. Cirrhosis of the Liver is caused by scarred tissue in the liver from excessive use. This scarred tissue cannot be cleaned out or removed by the liver itself, and once you have reached that point, there is no turning back. Your liver cannot repair itself.
This is one of the main reasons why doctors tell patients to keep their alcohol consumption to a minimum, or none at all. You may not think you are an excessive alcohol drinker, but years and years of even low levels of alcohol consumption can still cause Cirrhosis of the Liver. Putting yourself on a plan to stop drinking entirely will help give your liver the time it needs to heal itself. If it cannot heal itself, then you are at a large risk of developing Cirrhosis.
Research by the U.S. government states that men should consume no more than two alcoholic drinks in a 24-hour period and women should consume no more than one drink. This may seem like a minimal amount, and possibly a little excessive in terms of a guideline, but when you consider how many drinks that would be over the course of a week, or a month, the drinks add up to be a substantial amount.
If you are consuming more than that on a daily basis, you are putting yourself at an even greater risk.
Keep a Balanced Diet
This next step in helping to keep your liver healthy is something you have probably heard your entire life, whether it be from your medical doctor or just your mother. Keeping yourself healthy by eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a regular exercise routine will go a long way in keeping your liver in check.
By eating a well-balanced diet and exercising on a daily basis, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight and your liver will not be battling again fatty foods and other unhealthy junk items. When you eat and try to digest fatty or otherwise unhealthy foods, your liver must work overtime to make sure that everything passes through it and into your body.
The unhealthier the foods you eat, the less likely they will be able to pass through your liver. This can result in a lack of energy and that sluggish feeling you get after eating a large meal. You will also notice the effect it has on your weight.
If you are unable to keep your weight under control, you will more prone to developing NAFLD, or Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which will ultimately lead to Cirrhosis of the Liver.
Do you take medications on a regular basis, or perhaps the occasional aspirin for headaches? If you do, then you are more than likely used to hearing about the possible side effects that most medications have. It could be something as simple as developing more headaches, or something as severe as death.
All medications have some form of side effects and your doctor or pharmacist will most likely alert you to these effects before you begin taking a new medication. But there is something extra you need to look out for when you are due to begin a new medication: What effects might it have on your liver? If you take medication for your cholesterol, you should speak with your doctor about your liver health.
There are some cholesterol medications that can cause adverse side effects to your liver, which can lead to liver damage. Some medications will say directly on the bottle not to take them with alcohol as it may intensify the effects that the medication has on your liver. You should always follow the directions of your doctor and pharmacist while taking medication, whether it is for a short period of time or a long period of time.
Taking acetaminophen for headaches, fevers, or muscles aches can also have an adverse effect on your liver. Taking too much acetaminophen can hurt your liver and can also do damage to other internal organs if you are not careful about how much you are taking.
Make sure to do some research, whether on your own or through your doctor, to make sure that you are not combining acetaminophen with other medications that it should not be combined with. Doing so could speed up the damage to your liver. While you should always be careful when consuming alcohol in any amount, you most certainly need to be extra cautious of it when you are combining it with acetaminophen.
Always keep your doctor in the loop about what you have been taking in regards to over the counter medication, and call if you are not certain you can take that medication with alcohol or if you are unsure if it will do any damage to your liver.
Watch Out for Hepatitis
The disease known as Hepatitis is also a contributing factor in liver disease. There are three strains of this disease and two of the three have a vaccine available for them. Most of the vaccines are given as children and teenagers.
Hepatitis A is usually contracted through eating food or drinking water that has been exposed to the disease. You are more likely to find this in third world countries, and there is a vaccine you can get before you go on a trip to help prevent any damage being done to your liver.
Hepatitis B and C are spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. You are more likely to contract this disease through unprotected sex, sharing of toothbrushes, or shaving razors. You will also find this disease in communities of people who are using needles to shoot drugs into their veins.
Due to the lack of symptoms associated with Hepatitis, you may not know that you have been exposed to the disease until you are past the point of no return. You should always speak with your doctor if you believe you may have come in contact with the disease or if you have been overseas for an extended period of time.
Your doctor will be able to perform a blood test on you to see if you have contracted one of the strains of Hepatitis. While there are vaccines for strains A and B, there is no vaccine for strain C.
The FDA and U.S. government recommend that all children born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for Hep C, as they are more likely to develop it than are the children born after 1965.
Avoid Harmful Chemicals
Another way to help keep your liver happy and healthy is to be careful when you are cleaning your home. That may sound a little crazy but think about it. You may be exposing yourself to harmful chemicals while scrubbing your bathtub or mopping the floors. Depending on what type of cleaners you use, you may be inhaling toxins and not realize it. You may be so used to cleaning with certain supplies that you simply don’t think anything of it.
Cleaning products and other items in aerosol cans may contain chemicals that can damage your liver, so it is best to avoid direct contact with them. If you are doing a deep cleaning of your house or you are working in an enclosed room with little to no ventilation, make sure to wear a mask to keep the chemicals and fumes out of your nose and mouth. Try wearing rubber gloves when you are scrubbing with chemicals. This will keep your hands safe and will prevent you from getting chemicals onto your hands and then wiping your face.
On top of the side effects and diseases that cigarettes are known to cause, there are also additives in cigarettes that can cause liver damage. Since you are inhaling the additives directly into your throat and blood stream, they will have to pass through the liver in order to get to other places in your body. The longer you smoke the more damage you do to your liver.
Even if you have only smoked for a year or less, you are still doing significant damage to your liver. Once you have reached a certain point, there is no going back and you will be unable to save your liver. So if you are smoking now, it is important to talk with your doctor and come up with a plan of action to help you to quit. There are also services that can help hold you accountable for your actions and keep you on track.
The sooner you quit smoking, the better chance your liver has to recover and repair itself.
Even touching the additives in cleaning products and cigarettes can allow them into your body to create havoc and do damage to your liver. If you are cleaning and get any chemicals on your hands, make sure to wash your hands immediately. Try not to touch your face, mouth, or other surfaces.
If you touch your face or mouth, you can send those chemicals straight into your body. If you work at a place that puts additives into cigarettes or other tobacco products, you may be required to wear gloves and other protective materials. However, you need to take steps on your own to make sure that you do not have any extra exposure to the additives that are being used.
Be careful when considering dietary supplements and be sure to use them sparingly. Research has shown that using these items can cause damage to your liver. There are some supplements on the market today that claim to help prevent damage to the liver and actually restore and fix the liver. However, these claims have not been distributed by the FDA or federal government and should be taken with a grain of salt.
While these supplements and herbs claim to be helpful when it comes to your liver, they may be doing more harm than good. This is why it is important to do your own research on a product and consult with your doctor before you begin taking anything over the counter. Always check recall lists to make sure that something hasn’t been recalled. Sometimes you might find a product still on the shelf because the list has not made it to the distributor.
If you are in the market for a dietary supplement, there are some specific ingredients to be wary of. Anything that has milk thistle seed, borotutu bark, and chanca pierda in it can cause an adverse reaction to your liver instead of the help that the supplement claims to bring you. The reason consumers are asked to be so cautious around these ingredients is due to lack of evidence that they actually help the liver.
This is why you should always consult with your medical professional before beginning a dietary supplement. They have access to thousands of records on medications and will be more likely to be able to tell you if this is something better that you can be taking.
While there is still ongoing research being done in regards to the effects of dietary supplements on the liver, results have come in for the herbs. These are the herbs that have caused the most problems to the liver: cascara, chaparral, comfrey, kava, and ephedra. When you are taking medications, especially over the counter medicine, make sure that these herbs are not on the list of ingredients.
These have shown in research to actually cause damage to your liver, in some cases actually speeding up the process of Cirrhosis of the liver. While everyone is different and their bodies react in different ways to different medications, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your liver.
Even if your friend took a dietary supplement and had no immediate issues that does not mean that you won’t develop issues, or that they won’t have issues down the road.
A recent liver research study shows that drinking coffee can actually be good for your liver. Now this is black coffee we are talking about, not coffee laced with a pound of sugar and two bottles of creamer. This falls under your diet and exercise category. Drinking coffee laced with a ton of sugar and creamer is not good for your waistline or for your liver.
In the research studies that have been conducted, no one is quite sure exactly why drinking coffee is good for your liver, or how it works, but research shows that it does. It can actually help you to reduce your risk of getting liver disease. You should still drink coffee in moderation, as we all know there can always be too much of a good thing. A cup or two of coffee every day should be enough for you to get your caffeine fix as well as help prevent any liver disease.
While we do not know exactly what coffee does to help keep the liver healthy and disease free, more research is being done on this topic and it is something that doctors and scientist are keeping their eyes on. So it is something that you will want to keep your eyes on as well, especially for those of you who enjoy having coffee on a regular basis anyway.
Final Thoughts On Live Health
There are many benefits to keeping your liver in top working condition. Not only does it help with releasing the right amount of glucose when you need it, it also helps keep you and your other organs healthy. Making sure to take steps in the right direction to keep yourself on track and pushing towards a goal of a healthy liver is crucial.
Keep track of your liver health by visiting your regular medical doctor every year for a health and wellness exam to make sure that your liver is working the way it is supposed to. Your doctor can also help you to keep track of your eating habits and can suggest changes to make in regards to eating better. He or she may also suggest that you seek out a nutritionist if you need extra help.
A nutritionist would also be good if you are looking to improve your liver health after having prior problems with it. They would be able to help you choose the right foods in the right amounts to help maintain a better overall health.
Making sure to treat your liver well will end up serving you well in the end. By putting a stop to bad habits like drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating poorly, you are giving your liver a chance to rebuild and repair itself. And by doing this, you are in turn giving yourself a chance to live a long and happy life with a liver that will thank you for being so good to it.
It is not too late to start a makeover on your liver. Make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss a plan of action for taking back you health.
You’ll be very glad you did.