• Kevin Patton

Fifty Ways to Love Your Liver

Updated: Sep 17, 2019


The problem is all inside your head it’s really true The answer is easy and the habit’s easy too I'd like to help stop bad things happening to you There must be fifty ways to love your liver

You know it's really not my habit to intrude Furthermore, I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued But I'll repeat myself at the risk of being crude There must be fifty ways to love your liver Fifty ways to love your liver

Just ditch the six pack, Jack Cut out the drugs, Doug Eat more leafy green veg, Reg Now listen to me No cigarettes, Brett You getting’ the message yet? Take vitamin C, Lee And stay quite healthy

You know it grieves me so to see you in such pain I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again I see you appreciate that and now I will explain About the fifty ways

I say why don't we take the time to get it right Take a test and we will see whatever will come to light And then a course of meds will probably make everything alright There must be fifty ways to love your liver Fifty ways to love your liver

Just ditch the six pack, Jack Cut out the drugs, Doug Eat more leafy green veg, Reg Now listen to me No cigarettes, Brett You getting’ the message yet? Take vitamin C, Lee And stay quite healthy

The Liver is located behind the lower ribs on the right side of the abdomen.

The liver is reddish brown in colour. It has the consistency of foam rubber when healthy. In a child with a liver disease it is often firmer. In an adult it is roughly the size of a rugby ball.

The liver has two main parts called the right and left lobes. There are over 300 billion specialised cells in the liver. These cells are served by a well-organised intricate system of bile ducts and blood vessels.

The little bile ducts, which drain every liver cell, join together like tributaries entering a stream, to form one main duct from each lobe. These two ducts join to form the common hepatic duct.

The common hepatic duct in turn joins with the duct from the gall bladder (called the cystic duct) to form the common bile duct. The common bile duct leads into the duodenum through the ampulla of vater in the first part of the small intestine.

The gall bladder is a pear-shaped organ which rests in a shallow furrow in the right lobe of the liver. The narrow end of the gall bladder, called the neck, opens into the cystic duct. The gall bladder collects the bile, concentrates it and passes it into the duodenum following a meal. This concentration process is not essential and digestion is rarely affected by removal of the gall bladder.

The liver is a vital organ. Without it we would not be able to live. Apart from the brain, it is the most complex organ in the body.

It has a wide range of functions and acts very much like a factory. One of its most amazing features is its regenerative power. Some 9/10ths of the liver can be cut away and provided the remaining 1/10th is healthy and has an adequate blood supply, the liver will grow back to its original size.

The liver is a processor. The food that we eat passes into the stomach via the oesophagus (gullet). The food is broken down by the action of the stomach and the small intestine.

The nutrients from the food are then absorbed into the blood via the vessels in the walls of the intestines. These drain to veins which lead into the portal vein which carries the blood into the liver. The nutrients are processed in many different ways in the liver. This processing of the food is known as metabolism. The final products made are used by the body for energy and growth.

The liver is a manufacturer. The liver produces a number of vital substances. For example:

  1. The liver cells produce substances which assist with the clotting of the blood, e.g. Prothrombin.

  2. The liver cells make proteins which are carried in the blood. These have many functions. Albumin, for example, helps to control the distribution of fluid in all parts of the body and transports many substances to and from the liver and kidneys to other parts of the body.

The liver is a storage depot. The liver stores energy in the form of glycogen (sugar). It also stores a number of other substances, e.g. copper, iron and vitamins.

The liver is a controller. The liver plays an important part in controlling:

  1. The correct level of many hormones within the body

  2. The blood sugar levels. The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen when there is too much glucose in the blood and releases it when the blood sugar level falls.

  3. The amount of fluid the body retains and its distribution throughout the body.

  4. The concentration of cholesterol which it converts into bile salts.

  5. The action of many medicines by chemically changing them.

The liver is a filter .The liver removes many unwanted substances from the body. It plays an important role in controlling the harmful effects of some drugs and products of metabolism by changing them chemically before excreting them into the bile.

The liver is a defender. The liver plays an important role in fighting many types of infection. It particularly protects the body against infection which arises in the gut.

What Can Go Wrong?

If the liver cells are damaged, this causes inflammation, known as hepatitis. Depending on the cause, some or all of the functions of the liver may be disrupted to varying degrees.

There are six main causes of liver damage.

  1. An obstruction of the flow of bile out of the liver.

  2. An infection, such as a virus.

  3. Problems with substances passing across/through the cellular membranes.

  4. Metabolic disease. If one of the many chemical processes occurring in the liver is faulty, liver damage may occur. The cause is usually genetic.

  5. Certain drugs or poisons will damage the liver.

  6. Poor blood supply.

Early Warning Signs

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)

  • Nausea, vomiting and/or loss of appetite

  • Yellow urine or dark urine in the older patient

  • Pale coloured stools

  • Change of sleep patterns

  • Vomiting of blood or the passing of blood in the stools

  • Tiredness or loss of stamina

  • Abdominal swelling caused by: A large liver or a large spleen or excess fluid in the abdomen (ascites)

  • Itch

  • Poor weight gain

  • Abdominal pain

It is rare for all these signs and symptoms to be present. Often only a few of the symptoms and signs will be noticed. Also the degree of severity will greatly vary depending upon the cause.

If you have any of these symptoms, get yourself checked out.

At the end of this blog, I will outline 50 ways to love your Liver but, just now, we’re going to look at the Top 10.

1. Watch your alcohol intake

Your liver performs 500 vital functions. Every time it filters alcohol, it has to work a little harder and some of its cells die.

Drinking large amounts, even just for a few days, may cause a build-up of fats known as alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can potentially lead to a life-threatening illness. So give yourself a break. Drink no more than 14 units of alcohol, and have at least two or three booze-free days, each week.

Need inspiration? In a recent study at London's Royal Free Hospital, regular drinkers who cut out alcohol for a month saw an average 15 per cent reduction in liver fat and significant improvements in their cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

2. Reduce your portion sizes

Alcohol isn't the only major culprit when it comes to liver health.

Around a third of the UK population suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – a build-up of liver fat that's normally associated with being overweight or obese.

In fact, some experts believe overeating will soon overtake alcohol as the main cause of liver disease. One way to trick yourself into downsizing your portions is to use smaller plates and cutlery, according to a recent study at the University of Cambridge.

Eliminating larger-sized portions from the diet completely could reduce calorie intake by up 16 per cent, and so hold the key to weight loss, say the researchers.

3. Cut down on fizzy drinks

Just one sugar-sweetened soft drink each day is associated with an increased risk of NAFLD, according to research from Tufts University in the US. So switch to diet versions – or better still, drink water instead. Talking of which...

4. Drink plenty of water

Water plays a crucial role in helping the liver flush toxins out of your system. Not drinking enough will cause the blood to thicken, making it more difficult to filter.

Everyone's fluid needs vary – but as a rough guide, you should aim to drink around 1.2 litres water daily.

5. Have a (decaff) coffee break

There's evidence to suggest that coffee may be good for the liver, too. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the US found that people who drink at least three cups of decaffeinated coffee each day had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes, suggesting that chemical compounds other than caffeine in coffee may protect the liver.

6. Stop smoking

Yes, it's that point in the feature when we remind you just how deadly cigarettes are. Smoking is a risk factor for liver disease and can exacerbate the symptoms.

Nicotine raises the levels of fat in the blood, while the liver has to work hard to filter all those smoking-related toxins. Need help quitting? Go to www.nhs.uk/smokefree.

7. Get moving

Regular exercise will boost your overall health, which in turn has a positive effect on liver function.

Remember, every little helps: any exercise, regardless of frequency or intensity, can be of benefit to people with NAFLD, according to recent research published in the Journal of Hepatology.

And prolonged periods of sitting appear to increase risk of the condition, say scientists in South Korea.

So start by trying to build more 'incidental' exercise into your day: stand up and walk around when you're on the telephone, for example.

8. Eat more nuts

Upping your intake of vitamin E can help reduce symptoms of liver disease by preventing cell damage, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in the US. Good sources include nuts, seeds, wheatgerm, leafy greens and vegetable oils.

9. Cut down on carbs

A low-carbohydrate diet could improve the liver function of people with NAFLD, according to research published in the journal Diabesity in Practise. Dr David Unwin, the study's author, believes sugar and starchy foods, such as bread and potatoes, pose a particular threat. This is because they are rapidly turned into glucose, which is initially stored in the liver while any excess is stored as body fat. But do speak to your GP before embarking on any kind of low-carb diet.

10. Take the test



If you’re at all worried about your lifestyle, as you GP to do a test to check for blood bourne viruses and arrange any vaccinations you might need.

The Fifty Ways...

What I describe here is generally thought to be a good idea, but everyone is different so check them out for yourself.

1: Don’t take unnecessary meds. Too many chemicals harm your

liver

2. Don’t mix medicines without the advice of a doctor. You could

create something poisonous that could damage your liver badly

3. Cut down on drugs. Street drugs cause serious damage and

scar your liver permanently

4. Don’t drown me in beer, liquor or wine. If you drink alcohol,

have two or fewer drinks per day

5. Never mix alcohol with other drugs & medicines. See above.

6. Be careful when using aerosol cleaners. Your liver to detoxify

what you breathe in, so when you go on a cleaning binge, make

sure the room is well ventilated or wear a mask.

7. Be careful what you breathe. Bug sprays, paint sprays and all

those other chemical sprays you use can harm your liver too.

8. Watch what gets on your skin! Those insecticides you put on

trees and shrubs to kill bugs can get to your liver right through

your skin and destroy some cells Remember, they’re serious

chemicals.

9. Organic foods supply nutrients without pesticides and

chemicals

10. Vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage increase liver enzymes

to flush carcinogens

11. Beetroot and carrots promote increased liver function with

beta-carotene

12. Healthy fats such as olive, coconut and flax seed oils protect

against gallstones

13. Garlic and onions activate liver enzymes flushing toxins

14. Dark chocolate -- 85 percent cocoa or better -- provides

antioxidant protection against cirrhosis

15. Drink half your weight in ounces daily in filtered, fluoride-free

water. There are 20 fluid ounces to a pint.

16. Avocados and walnuts provide glutathione to cleanse toxins

17. Apples are high in pectin removing toxins from the digestive

tract, protecting the liver

18. Two tablespoons of lemon juice daily with water alkalizes the

blood and detoxifies

19. Non-GMO lecithin (found in Egg Yolks) supports the liver and

gallbladder in fat digestion. Lecithin can bought as a

supplement, but I prefer to use naturally-occurring sources as

there are micro-nutrients that act in synergy with the active

constituent.

20. Leafy green vegetables stimulate the flow of bile

21. Take a lot more Vitamin C. Even doses as low as 500

milligrams daily helps prevent fatty build-up and cirrhosis.

5,000 mg of vitamin C per day appears to actually flush fats

from the liver.

22. Take vitamin B - Especially vitamin B-12, which significantly

reduces jaundice, anorexia, serum bilirubin, and recovery time.

23. Regular exercise stimulates digestion and reduces the burden

on detoxification

24. Chew food well to release digestive enzymes

25. Encourage sweating to remove toxins through the skin, relieving

the liver

26. Maintain intestinal health by avoiding toxin build-up in the bowel

27. Avoid smoking cigarettes

28. Use chemical-free, cleaning and personal care products

29. Avoid chemical yard and bug sprays

30. Milk thistle fights oxidation and free radicals, reversing cirrhosis

31. Burdock root cleanses the liver

32. Green tea is high in catechins that support liver function

33. Dandelion is a natural detox flush

34. Turmeric reduces inflammation relieving symptoms of cirrhosis

35. Cinnamon reduces blood levels of glucose and fructose slowing

development of fatty liver disease

36. Aloe vera is a digestive tonic and pain reliever

37. Alpha Lipoic Acid possesses antioxidant properties; supporting

healthy liver function

38. Activated charcoal protects the liver by absorbing toxins

39. Ayurveda suggests cleansing the liver with highly alkaline

sugarcane or pomegranate juice

40. Mix turmeric powder with milk and drink daily

41. Chewing fennel seeds after meals aids digestion

42. Avoid supplementing with iron unless under medical supervision

43. Use caution and common sense regarding intimate contact

(Hepatitis viruses live in body fluids, including blood and seminal

fluid).

44. The hepatitis B virus also lives in saliva and, unlike the AIDS virus,

can be transmitted through this fluid with relative ease.

45. Hepatitis C spreads primarily through direct blood contact, can

be transmitted through contaminated needles use in tattooing,

body piercing, or IV drug injection.

46. Untreated, chronic hepatitis B and C can cause cirrhosis and

liver cancer and is the most frequent reason for liver transplants.

47. Many infected people do not have symptoms until liver damage

occurs, sometimes many years later.

Don't die of embarrassment.

48. Teach your children what a syringe looks like and tell them to

leave it alone.

49. Never, ever touch a discarded syringe or needle.

50. If anyone in your family or a sexual partner tests positive for the

hepatitis B virus, ask your doctor to test you for the virus. If the

test is negative, your doctor will vaccinate you against the virus.

A simple series of three vaccinations over six months will

protect you against the virus for many years.


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