Our liver is an amazing organ that does the dirty business of breaking down food components and toxic substances from our body.
But overburdening this large organ in the body can lead to complications – ending in liver damage. According to the WHO, one in five Indians is likely to suffer from liver disease, which is quite a lot.
An overdose of pain killer medicines like Tylenol and Paracetamol can destroy almost half of the person’s liver cells. But the healthy liver quickly regenerates and repairs itself within a month.
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While there are lots of conditions that lead to liver damage, the types that are most common among Indians are:
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): This is caused when extra fat cells in your body start depositing in the liver. NAFLD rarely has symptoms which makes it really dangerous.
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: This is seen in heavy drinkers due to long term alcohol consumption. This is often followed by liver cirrhosis (scarring).
- Hepatitis: Be it Hepatitis A, B or C, this disease is caused by viruses and leads to inflammation of the liver and may end up in cirrhosis or liver failure.
What is Liver Failure?
Liver failure is a fatal health condition when large parts of the liver get damaged beyond repair and can’t regenerate or work anymore.
Signs of Liver failure may include:
Unfortunately, medication has not evolved to treat liver damage. But here’s the good news: this damage is reversible if you make a few changes before it’s too late.
Here are 5 medically proven ways to reverse liver damage:
1. Say NO to Alcohol
Long-term alcohol consumption and heavy drinking is the cause of alcoholic fatty liver disease. Your liver being the good angel it is, breaks down the alcohol you drink so that it is removed from your body.
This process however, produces harmful substances which causes liver damage.
This can help you:
• Identify alcohol triggers to find effective ways of controlling the craving to drink.
• Moderation management: Therapist Cyndi Turner focuses on reducing alcohol use as it helps with alcohol withdrawal.
• Find a similar-minded community or support group that is choosing to quit drinking alcohol.
• Learn to say NO and turn down that drink. “I’m cutting back for my health” is the best go-to response
Dr. Joseph Galati of Liver Specialists of Texas and the Metabolic Liver Center says “The guidelines for consumption in adults is no more than one alcoholic beverage for women, and no more than two alcoholic beverages for men each day.”
2. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
In the case of NAFLD, plenty of research suggests gradual weight loss as the most effective way to reverse it. Losing 3% to 10% of your total body weight can do a lot of good to your liver than you can imagine.
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This can help you:
• Visit a professional dietician or nutritionist, who can suggest a liver friendly weight loss diet or meal plan.
• Exercising daily for at least 150 minutes over the week if you’re an adult helps you lose weight.
• Weight loss surgery is an option in case of serious weight-related health problems
• For very high BMI that needs immediate addressing, a doctor may prescribe weight loss medication.
Hepatologist Dr. Sonja Olsen says “Patients who are able to modify their diet and lose modest amounts of weight, even losing 10% of your total bodyweight, has been shown to improve liver fibrosis (early scarring of the liver)”.
3. Controlling Blood Sugar if Diabetic
Diabetes raises risk of NAFLD and people with type 2 diabetes are at an even greater risk. It’s wise to watch your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic because this combined with obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia causes metabolic syndrome which raises risk for liver damage.
This can help you:
• Know your numbers: Keep track of your blood sugar levels often, especially if you’re diabetic or at risk of diabetes.
• Taking short walks after meals have been proven to cut diabetes and heart risks.
• Take steps to reduce high blood pressure to avoid risk of metabolic syndrome.
• Consult a nutritionist who can help you cut sugar in your diet or use sugar substitutes.
Dr. M. Regina Castro, M.D. attests to liver damage occurring in at least half of the people with type 2 diabetes: “Other medical conditions, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, also raise your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”
4. Do Not Eat Junk Food
Snacking is not as harmless a vice as you think it is. Processed food is a serious public enemy for a variety of diseases and liver disease is no exception.
Eating junk food rich in fats and carbohydrates increases risk of acquiring NAFLD. Not being overweight does not save you either. Our bodies respond differently to fatty foods so you can have NAFLD even if you’re at a perfectly normal weight.
This can help you:
• Choose liver healthy foods like coffee, berries, grapes and beetroot juice.
• Stop buying junk food: if you don’t stock up on it at home, you stop eating so much of it.
• Take baby steps to reducing junk food. Going cold turkey may result in cravings and overeating.
• Join a friend to achieve your healthy diet goals together.
Dr Olsen says it is possible for people to have fatty liver before it shows outwardly as increased weight: “They’re depositing fat preferentially in their liver before they have what we call peripheral obesity, or fat deposition in their tissue.”
5. Limit Over the Counter Medicines
Over the counter (OTC) medication are basically medicines that are accessible without prescription. These are the most dangerous for your health, in terms of liver health.
The seemingly harmless Paracetamol or generic pain relief medicine that you take for mild headaches contain acetaminophen which is one of the biggest causes of liver toxicity.
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This can help you:
• Avoid those energy drinks that claim to refresh you and give more stamina.
• Do not use non-prescription products for clear skin. They have lots of unproven and untested compounds which can cause liver injury.
• Read all labels and ingredients before consuming these products. Look for warnings and stay clear of ones that are harmful for you.
Dr. Joseph Galati says the same: “The bottom line is to read all labels, be aware of over-the-counter products that are made up of multiple individual compounds”.
Liver health is much more important than you think because a simple liver failure is enough to make all other body systems go haywire.
As a last resort, doctors suggest a liver transplant in case your liver is damaged beyond repair. Liver transplant has a high rate of success but is expensive and of course – you need a healthy donor.
Fortunately, you can take care of your liver without depending on risky allopathic liver supplements. Sava Herbals(TM) brings you Livstar, a safe and healthy herbal alternative to normalising your liver function.
Livstar is enriched with the goodness of Bhumyamalaki and Guduchi which are effective in preventing liver inflammation and damage.
One thought on “5 Best Ways to Reverse Liver Damage”
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