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Protect Your Liver, Protect Your Life

The liver's many life-saving functions

Your liver is your primary detoxification organ. It produces a wide range of essential enzymes, like the awesomely powerful Cytochrome p450 enzyme family, which can oxidize almost any organic substance and deliver it safely out of the body. The liver can even regenerate itself when it’s damaged.

But, as powerful as your liver is, it has limits. If you overload your system’s ability to detox, or you damage it faster than it can heal, you can cause permanent damage that can be life-threatening. Here’s how to protect your liver, and your life.

Control your blood sugar levels
If you suffer from diabetes, protect your liver health by regularly checking your blood sugar levels

How The Liver Protects You

Your liver’s hepatic cells convert carbohydrates in the food you eat into simple sugars, called glucose. Any excess glucose that’s not needed is removed from the blood during a process called glycogenesis. This is when the liver stores unused sugar as glycogen for later use.

When your body needs sugar again, the liver initiates glycogenolysis, which is the process of mobilizing sugar from liver reserves. If you do not eat for long periods of time, the liver (along with help from the kidneys) will make up any sugar shortfall by using amino acids, lactic acid, and glycerol to create glucose.

This process is called gluconeogenesis. The liver can also convert sugars like sucrose, fructose, and galactose into glucose if you don’t get enough in your diet.

And, while your body’s liver is fully capable of controlling your blood-sugar level, you can also check it periodically to make sure you’re within a normal range, not eating too much or too little. This is done with OneTouch Glucometers, the kind you can find through LifeScan Canada Ltd.

A quick prick is all it takes. Yes, usually diabetics use these meters, but anyone can use them - most health-conscious people do.

Avoid Large Doses of Iron

Large doses of iron place excessive stress on the body. If you’re popping iron pills, reconsider. You should be able to easily meet your iron needs through a healthy diet that is rich in organ meats and green, leafy, vegetables along with vitamin C (which helps your body absorb iron better).

Excessive iron intake can lead to iron overload, an oxidative state where your body is damaged from the excess iron. Iron that is consumed in excess of what is needed is retained in the liver, and may also be stored in other organs or areas of the body. The only treatment for this condition is phlebotomy.

People with a hereditary condition that causes them to store excess iron have what’s known as hemochromatosis and must get regular blood draws to keep iron levels from rising.

Eggs provide dietary choline
Eggs are a good source of dietary choline, which acts protectively for the liver.

What To Do If You Suspect Liver Damage

If you suspect that you may have liver damage, fatty liver, or some other problem with your liver, contact your doctor immediately. Serious liver damage can be life-threatening. If your doctor discovers you have fatty liver disease, you may be asked to change your diet.

You will need to increase the amount of choline you consume, either through supplementation or through diet - the richest sources of dietary choline are eggs and beef liver. Coconut oil, betaine (TMG), and b-vitamins may also be protective.

If you have other types of liver damage, or a viral hepatitis infection, you will need to coordinate with your doctor about drug interventions, diet, and lifestyle changes to help your liver heal.

About the author
Robert Drury is a health care worker of many years. When he gets some free time, he likes to sit down and share what he has learned by posting online. Look for his informative posts on a variety of today's websites and blogs.

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