Liver Health

Last Updated: August 16 2022

Liver health refers to the absence of liver disease and reduction of damage to the liver.

What does liver health encompass?

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.

How could diet affect liver health?

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.[1] Also, limited evidence has found an association between increased consumption of coffee and nuts and reduced liver disease.[2]

Which supplements are of most interest for liver health?

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.[3][4] 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.[2] 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.

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