Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Liver health is commonly spoke about when an issue (such as fatty liver) arises but, rarely as a proactive health measure. The liver is the body’s largest solid organ and is responsive for many functions that help the body remain healthy and thriving. Not only does it assist in the digestion process but it also supports the metabolic process as well as naturally detoxing your body.
Despite all the hard work the liver does, many individuals put it through high amounts of abuse without even realizing it. This happens by consuming too much alcohol, eating processed foods, being overweight and even from side effects of certain medications. Luckily, there are supplements available to support healthy liver function along with a healthier lifestyle.
Milk Thistle is probably one of the more well-known liver health supplements on the market and honestly there is good reason behind that. Milk Thistle helps the liver by reversing damage caused by toxins and chemicals as well as reducing future damage (2). These toxins can come from various areas such as alcohol, chemotherapy and more. Utilizing milk thistle to improve liver function can also help your body’s ability for healthy weight management by balancing your metabolic processes. Milk thistle is definitely not a weight loss supplement, but there are potential benefits of targeting overall health.
Milk thistle is fascinating in that it works better with other supplements that target liver health. This concept is often called an “entourage effect”. It is a similar thought process to how you are your best self when you are with others that compliment you. Whether that’s a spouse (one additional supplement) or a group of friends (a supplemental formula). With each individual body being unique there isn’t a cookie cutter route for everyone. However, in my experience I have seen many individuals do very well with supplements that target various aspects of the liver as opposed to very simple liver formulas.
Artichoke & Dandelion
Two supplements that you will see in almost any formula with Milk Thistle are Artichoke and Dandelion. These three herbs are the perfect foundation for any liver supplement. While the Milk Thistle is repairing and protecting from damage, the Dandelion is detoxing or moving out those chemicals in the liver by increasing bile production. Artichoke on the other hand supports the milk thistle by protecting the liver on a cellular level from damage. It also helps against fatty liver disease, including non-alcoholic fatty liver.
A fascinating mineral that does great things for the entire body is zinc. In fact, the World Health Organization actually stated back in 2002 how deficiency in zinc ranked 5th as the most important risk factor for morbidity. Zinc deficiency is a link to many liver diseases including Cirrhosis and complications that come along with it. There are a number of possible cause and effect reactions that link zinc deficiency to cirrhosis but the more prominent reason seems to be oxidative tissue damage which can reduce the liver’s ability to regenerate (1). Ensuring you are supporting your body’s zinc levels is important for so many reasons including well rounded liver health.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is another supplement that seems to do wonders for many areas in the body. It has become very popular as of late due to its history of helping against emphysema pointing to its potential to help against the coronavirus, although there are no confirmed studies showing this. However, an interesting fact about NAC that many individuals do not realize is that if you are to accidentally take too much acetaminophen you are likely to receive this supplement at the hospital.** NAC works in relation to acetaminophen overdose by supporting and protecting the liver against damage. If caught soon enough it can prevent acetaminophen induced liver failure. Because of its known abilities regarding acetaminophen it is believed to be a great supplement to take to prevent and help reverse liver damage.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid also does many different things for the liver. One known benefit to liver health that ALA brings is the ability to reduce liver enzyme levels. It can also be beneficial against cirrhosis and fatty liver disease. An unfortunate side of ALA is the fact it is vastly under recognized by the more modern medicine world. The potential benefits of ALA with liver health was first recognized back in the 1970s by Burton Berkson, MD and Fred Bartter, MD. Bartter was at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the time (3).
It all started when Dr. Berkson had two patients who had acute liver failure caused by poisonous mushrooms. He was at a loss for what to do so he sought out Dr. Bartter for guidance. Dr. Bartter recommended ALA after animal studies had shown it improving severe liver damage. Two weeks after Dr. Berkson administered the ALA to his patients they were released from the hospital in good health due to the liver regeneration the ALA triggered (3).
Incidences such as this often fade into the background and become unknown due to the villainizing some doctors undergo. Dr. Berkson faced this after the hospital he was with felt he failed to follow orders and broke policy. This didn’t stop him from continuing to administer ALA to patients but there were other negative outcomes regarding the hospital altering records (3). Despite the backlash they faced all those year ago ALA still proves to be a phenomenal approach to liver health and many individuals still use their protocols today.
Selenium is a trace element that is found in our soils. It is used by the kidneys, spleen, testes, pancreas and liver. Various research points to the benefits of selenium in liver health especially for those suffering with liver disease. One study showcased the benefits of selenium in direct relation to alcohol induced liver damage. They found that therapies utilizing selenium decreased liver damage (4). Due to selenium also having the ability to boost antioxidants, it has the potential to prevent other damages to the liver.
These remedies are in no way the only option available for liver health. However, they are the most common with good reason. These remedies have not only been clinically studied but also found to be effective for years by individuals. These supplements would be great individually but have a lot to offer when combined together to target the different aspects of liver health. Doctor's Blend's Advanced Liver Formula has all of these remedies plus a few others that are great for liver health as well. Remember, to always consult your physician before starting any new health regimen.
**This statement is not intended to prescribe a method of treatment. If you find yourself in this situation proceed to a hospital immediately.
Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.
(1) Grüngreiff K, Reinhold D, Wedemeyer H. The role of zinc in liver cirrhosis. Ann Hepatol. 2016 Jan-Feb;15(1):7-16. doi: 10.5604/16652681.1184191. PMID: 26626635.
(2) Polachi N, Bai G, Li T, Chu Y, Wang X, Li S, Gu N, Wu J, Li W, Zhang Y, Zhou S, Sun H, Liu C. Modulatory effects of silibinin in various cell signaling pathways against liver disorders and cancer - A comprehensive review. Eur J Med Chem. 2016 Nov 10;123:577-595. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2016.07.070. Epub 2016 Jul 29. PMID: 27517806.
(3) Whitaker Wellness Institute. 2016. Alpha Lipoic Acid: A Miracle Nutrient For Liver Disease - Whitaker Wellness Institute. [online] Available at: <https://whitakerwellness.com/2016/03/28045/> [Accessed 3 November 2020].
(4) Adali Y, Eroǧlu HA, Makav M, Guvendi GF. Efficacy of Ozone and Selenium Therapy for Alcoholic Liver Injury: An Experimental Model. In Vivo. 2019 May-Jun;33(3):763-769. doi: 10.21873/invivo.11537. PMID: 31028195; PMCID: PMC6559901.