Although the functions of the liver are not so much obvious, it is certainly one of the most important organs in our body. It is a metabolic factory included in hundreds of metabolic processes which eliminate toxins from our body, produce coagulation factors and proteins, and produce bile in order to help with absorption. The liver is also responsible for storing vitamin B12 and transformation of undegradable substances so they can be eliminated from the body.

Causes of Liver Function Damage

Liver damage can be caused by all kinds of factors, including infectious diseases (viral and bacterial hepatitis), mechanical injury, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity, and cancer. Liver damage usually goes through several steps:

1. Fatty liver – liver function is still normal, but there is an accumulation of lipids inside of the liver tissue.

2. Liver fibrosis – advanced, but still a reversible stage of liver damage which creates scars in the liver tissue

3. Cirrhosis – irreversible and progressive condition with significant scarring and progressive diminishment of liver function.

Signs of Decreased Liver Function

Accumulation of toxins in the body as a result of liver function damage produces all kinds of symptoms, some of which can be noticed in the early stage. These include: fatigue, depression, headache, excessive sweating, allergies, weight gain, itchy skin, and indigestion. Laboratory findings will show increased levels of liver enzymes, such as ALT, AST, GammaGT, and bilirubin.

How To Prevent Liver Damage

Since alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver damage, you should reduce your alcohol intake. Taking multiple mediations, especially over-the-counter should also be lowered to minimum levels. Avoid foods with GMO and pesticides and use only organic food. Proper hydration is very important for liver function, so rink at least 1.5 L of water daily. Eat a lot of vegetables rich in vitamin C and B complex. Along with a healthy diet, you should practice more physical activity in order to boost your metabolism.

There are some superfoods that you can use to improve your liver function. They eliminate inflammation, act as antioxidants, and have anticancer properties. These foods include turmeric, artichoke, and milk thistle.

References

Rivera-Espinoza Y, Muriel P. Pharmacological actions of curcumin in liver diseases or damage. Liver Int. 2009 Nov;29(10):1457-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2009.02086.x.

Gowda S, Desai PB, Hull VV, Math AAK, Vernekar SN, Kulkarni SS. A review on laboratory liver function tests . The Pan African medical journal. 2009;3:17.

McCaughan GW1, Gorrell MD, Bishop GA, Abbott CA, Shackel NA, McGuinness PH, et al.Molecular pathogenesis of liver disease: an approach to hepatic inflammation, cirrhosis and liver transplant tolerance. Immunol Rev. 2000 Apr;174:172-91.

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