My Liver and I

Fatty liver disease found lurking in nearly one third of American adults

My Liver and I, Healthy Living Magazine, Health

My Liver and I, Healthy Living Magazine, Health

Without a liver, the human body wouldn’t be able to detoxify poisonous chemicals; stockpile vitamins and minerals; convert food to stored energy; manufacture blood, bile and proteins; or metabolize cholesterol and hormones. Therefore, an overburdened liver can do a lot more than exacerbate allergies. It can result in:

• toxic overload,
• poor food utilization,
• chronic fatigue,
• overweight,
• water retention,
• hypoglycemia,
• hyperthyroidism,
• high cholesterol,
• poor skin,
• fatty deposits.

Even one drink a week can stress somebody’s liver, especially if they are immun ecompromised, unwell or on medications that interfere with alcohol metabolism.

According to the American Liver Foundation, about one in 10 Americans are or have been afflicted with liver and biliary (bile duct) diseases. A study found hepatic steatosis, also known as fatty liver disease, in nearly one third of American adults in a large urban population sample. 80% of the participants afflicted with this potentially lifet hreatening disease, however, had normal blood tests. This shows sub-clinical liver disease – liver disease that flies below the clinical radar – is common.

At high risk of developing liver disease are people who:
• have a family history of liver disease;
• are obese;
• eat a highfat, high cholesterol diet;
• drink alcohol;
• take multiple over the counter or prescription drugs;
• abuse illegal substances;
• have unprotected sex with partners;
• had a blood transfusion before July 1992.*

Yet because of the “toxic environment payment” for the tech progress, everyone is vulnerable to developing liver problems. Every day the liver must deal with additives in food, pesticides in fruits and vegetables, hormones and antibiotics in meats, heavy metals in seafood, fumes from cars and chlorine in drinking water and cleaners.

Herbs that have been shown in scientific studies to work directly within the detoxification organ to stimulate antioxidant production and regeneration, can be used preventively and with a professionally designed health program.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle, also known as St. Mary’s thistle, is one of the most well validated single herbs for liver disease. This stout annual or biennial plant is found in dry rocky soil of southern and western Europe and portions of the United States, including the West coast. Its leaves are green and shiny, with scalloped edges and white streaked veins. During the flowering season from June to August, the flower heads thicken and turn reddish purple.

Its chemicals include silymarin, a mixture of flavonolignans such as silibin, silidianin, and silichristine. It is thought that silibin is the chemical portion of silymarin with the greatest therapeutic value. The plant is widely used in Germany for persons with jaundice and biliary derangements.

Much of this herbal medicine’s healing power is related to its ability to prevent further liver damage and improve liver function as well as stimulate cell regeneration so that new cells replace those that are old and damaged.

Often, the liver is damaged from chemical exposures that cause massive releases of oxidizing molecules—free radicals. These damage the liver’s cells. Silymarin, the active chemical in milk thistle, is a potent antioxidant that stops this damage. It also acts as an antagonist in many experimental liver damage models; in particular, death cap mushroom poisoning. The therapeutic activity of silymarin is based on two sites or mechanisms. To begin with, it alters the structure of the outer cell membrane of the liver cells (i.e., hepatocytes) in such a way as to prevent penetration of the liver poison into the interior of the cell. Second, it stimulates the action of nucleolar polymerase, a process, which results in an increase in ribosomal protein synthesis and thus stimulates the regenerative ability of the liver and the formation of new liver cells.

Licorice Root

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) contains glycyrrhizin. This chemical is metabolized into glycyrrhetinic acid, which exhibits profound pharmacological activity, including antiviral and antiinflammatory properties. Glycyrrhizin has been intravenously used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B in Japan and improves liver function with occasional complete recovery from hepatitis, note researchers from the Department of Virology, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan. “This substance modifies the intracellular transport and suppresses . . . hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HBsAg) in vitro.”


Traditional Chinese Medicine offers aid to people with hepatitis. A formula known as Shosaikoto combines bupleuriroot or Chinese thorough wax (Bupleurum falcatum) with six additional herbs: licorice root (Glycyrrihiza glabra), jujube fruit (Zizyphus jujuba), ginger root (Zingiber offcinalis), Panax ginseng root, Chinese skullcap root (Scutellaria baicalensis) and half summer root (Pinellia ternata). The formula exerts anti-inflammatory effects that may protect the liver and may reverse hepatitis B. In one study seven of 14 children with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection treated with the formula became HbeAg negative in about six months (with a range of about three to nine months), showing no signs of the illness. This healing rate was much better than the 22.7 % rate among the 22 untreated patients.

Artichoke Extract

Artichoke extract has been shown to enhance detoxifcation reactions as well as protect the liver from damage. This combination of effects is special to healthy liver function. During detoxifcation in the liver, the substance is often initially converted to an even more toxic form. Without adequate protection, every time the liver neutralizes a toxin, it is damaged in this process. Artichoke extract has been shown to provide this valuable protection.Once the liver has modified a toxin, it needs to be eliminated from the body as soon as possible. One of the primary routes of elimination is through the bile. However, when the manufacture of bile is reduced or the secretion of bile is inhibited, toxins stay in the liver and body longer. Once again, artichoke extract can help. Artichoke extract is not directly validated to help in hepatitis but is clearly an excellent liver protectant without any complications or drug interactions. Its powerful antioxidant properties make it ideal as a liver health supplement.


A large evergreen tree, with a spreading crown and drooping branches, common in most parts of India, the stems of Terminalia arjuna (arjuna) are rarely long or straight, generally buttressed and often fluted. Its bark is very thick, gray or pink or green, smooth, exfoliating in large thin irregular sheets. Its leaves are oblong or elliptic and its flowers are panicled spikes; fruits are nearly glabrous, ovoid with five to seven hard winged angles. The part used is the bark, which contains beta-sitosterol, ellagic acid and arjunic acid. It has been said to have a diuretic and a general tonic effect in cases of cirrhosis of the liver.

Wild Chicory

Cichorium intybus (Kasani or wild chicory) is an erect, perennial herb with a fleshy tap root. It is native to the temperate regions of the world. Its roots are brownish yellow outside, white within, bark is thin, leaves are broadly oblong, forming a rosette arranged spirally on the stems. The part used is the seed, which contains many polyphenolic compounds, mainly flavonoids. The seeds have a carminative action and are used in bilious vomiting. The plant extracts have a liver protective action which may be due to their ability to suppress the oxidative degradation of DNA in tissue debris and thus prevent oxidative damage by free radicals. An alcoholic extract of the plant was found to be effective against experimental chlorpromazine induced hepatic damage.

Negro Coffee

Also known as Cassia occidentalis in Latin and coffee senna, foetid cassia, Negro-coffee, rubbish cassia, stinking weed, this plant is found throughout India up to an altitude of 5000 feets. Cassia occidentalis is an erect, annual herb or undershrub. The seed powder is externally applied in cutaneous diseases and eruptions. The seed is bitter and has tonic, febrifugal and purgative properties. It is considered to be a blood tonic and excellent diuretic. The seeds are useful in cough and whooping cough, convulsions and in heart diseases.

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