Good liver function is essential to optimal health because it is your body’s natural detox organ and performs more than 500 biological functions, including a major role in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids and lipids (fats), as well as regulating glycogen storage and hormone production, and storing glycogen, iron, copper and vitamins A, B12, D and K. Keep your liver in good health with these supp recommendations from the independent experts at Examine.com.
1. Milk thistle
Silybum marianum, also known as milk thistle, is a herb traditionally used as a detoxifying agent. It’s best known as a treatment for the effects of death cap mushroom poisoning, and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the presence of liver toxins. There’s some evidence that it increases the DNA and protein synthesis rates in the liver. However, supplementing with milk thistle is only necessary for people who are using compounds that may harm the liver, excluding alcohol or medication.
Although similar to a B vitamin, this compound is actually a methylation agent, which means it supports levels of S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) in the liver. Low levels of SAMe are associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Though methylation agents won’t cure the disease, they are thought to reduce the risk of accumulating liver fat in the presence of compounds that may harm the liver, such as alcohol. You can take SAMe supplements but they’re significantly more expensive than choline.
This compound – NAC for short – is used for producing glutathione, low levels of which are associated with inflammation and oxidative stress (both are associated with age-related disease). NAC supplementation will support glutathione levels and is often used in cases of liver failure and toxin-induced liver damage, such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdoses. Low doses of NAC are a cheap and effective way to support liver antioxidants.
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