Important Nutrition For A Healthy Liver – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 57
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Your liver is an amazing organ. It has hundreds of important jobs that we’ll go over in today’s episode. Its size can vary considerably; it can be as small as about a pound and a half and as big as four pounds in a healthy liver. In a sick liver, you can actually remove up to 75% of a persons liver and it will regrow back to its original size. It has to have that kind of resilience because your liver deals with things like toxins and bacteria.
What is the function of the liver in the body?
Your liver regulates things like protein synthesis, blood clotting and it creates a hormone that strongly impacts blood pressure. It also is the major detoxifier in your body, which is why it has to be so good at regenerating itself. It has to remove substances like old drugs, pesticides, excessing hormones, chemical pollutants and microbes from your digested food.
When you digest your food in your digestive tract, it enters this big vein and goes into the liver. The liver has these large, stay-put immune cells that remove things from the blood and the food that is in the blood before the food enters your circulation. If that does not happen, bacteria would get into your circulation. This is why it is dangerous for individuals with severe liver disease; they can get an infection in their heart because the liver is not appropriately removing bacteria, viruses and toxins from your digested food. So your liver is extremely important for overall health.
Your liver loses some of this capacity to remove toxins as you age. There is also a genetic variability for how well your body can remove toxins from your body through your liver. But there are certain foods and nutrients that can help you restore detoxification.
How Alcohol Impacts Your Liver and Overall Health
It is thought that one drink a day for a fully grown man is safe. More than two drinks a day becomes dangerous. For women it’s one drink a day or less. Alcohol is toxic and causes inflammation, can damage the digestive tract, can damage the liver and all types of ramifications come out of that damage.
When you drink alcohol, the liver converts it to aldehydes. Some of them are very common, like formaldehyde. But the liver converts alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is about 30 times more toxic than the original alcohol. This is what is pretty much responsible for your hang over. The effect of alcohol on your brain in the first place includes being severely dehydrated. But you can breakdown these aldehydes and help prevent a hangover.
Natural Ways to Support a Healthy Liver
To complete this breakdown, you have to increase the activity of an enzyme in your liver called aldehyde dehydrogenase. The best way to do that is by taking certain nutrients before bed, after drinking.
If you have Vitamin B6, it will help. But the supplement NAC, which is actually very good for the liver and the brain, is great at 600mg. And another nutrient which from the tea plant – L-Theanine – at 200mg, with a snack is another great option. This will stimulate the breakdown of aldehyde and converts it into something similar to vinegar – benign and won’t hurt you. This can help prevent a hangover.