Did you know that in most cells, the first step of glucose metabolism is performed by an enzyme called hexokinase. In the liver, however, it is performed by glucokinase. Because glucokinase doesn’t metabolize glucose as quickly, other cells can get the glucose they need before the liver readies the rest for storage.
Liver health refers to the absence of liver disease and reduction of damage to the liver.
The liver is the largest solid organ in the body, with vital functions that include digesting food, storing energy, and removing toxins and waste from the blood. Liver health encompasses reducing damage to the liver and preventing the development of liver disease.
Because the liver is a digestive organ, diet plays a major role in its health. A healthy, balanced diet and a healthy body weight are conducive to liver health, and unbalanced, hypercaloric diets (especially ones that increase risk of metabolic syndrome) are not. Fat intake may influence the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but fat type and total calorie intake matter. Also, limited evidence has found an association between increased consumption of coffee and nuts and reduced liver disease.
Supplements of the greatest interest for liver health include antioxidants like vitamin E and glutathione, polyphenols like resveratrol and curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, and milk thistle. There are also a number of dietary supplements that have been associated with liver damage, such as pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing herbs, kratom, large doses of green tea extract, kava kava, black cohosh, and Garcinia cambogia. The dosages at which these supplements reach hepatotoxic levels are unknown, and therefore, avoiding formulations that contain one or more of these ingredients can help to support liver health.