Milk thistle is one of the most popular liver supplements on the market today by far, and that makes sense because it is also one of the botanical ingredients that has been studied the most in terms of its liver effects. Its active component, silymarin, has shown benefits for problems such as alcoholic hepatitis, liver poisoning, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, and alcoholic fatty liver disease. In studies, people with liver diseases have shown improvements in their liver function after taking milk thistle supplements. It is believed to work by reducing the damage that free radicals cause to your liver.
Milk thistle might be the leader in liver supplements right now, but dandelion could give it a run for its money as its extract has demonstrated great benefits for liver health. In folk medicine, the root of the plant has long been considered a liver tonic, and its polysaccharides have been shown in studies to enhance liver function. Dandelion can help detoxify the liver, relieve liver disease symptoms, and clear up eye and skin problems. It can be taken in supplement form, consumed raw or cooked like a vegetable, or used to make a tea.
Choline is an essential nutrient that your liver makes in small amounts, but most of it must come through your diet. It’s not a vitamin or mineral, although it does bear some similarities to vitamin B. A deficiency in choline can cause liver disease, and studies have shown that women with the highest choline intakes have a 28 percent lower risk of developing liver disease than those with the lowest intakes. It can be found in supplements as well as foods like eggs, cod, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, and beef and chicken liver.
Alpha lipoic acid
This organosulfur compound that is produced naturally by your body neutralizes harmful free radicals and regenerates antioxidants that protect your liver, like glutathione, coQ10, and vitamins E and C. It also binds to heavy metals like lead and mercury and detoxifies them. Experts say alpha lipoic acid can lower liver enzymes, alleviate the symptoms of liver disease, and reduce viral loads.
This antioxidant is gaining attention for its liver health benefits given the important role it plays in liver detoxification. It is found in every cell of your body and is composed of amino acids. One recent study found that it can be used to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and it can also help reduce oxidative stress. In people with fatty liver disease, whether it’s the alcoholic variety or not, it can improve levels of bilirubin, protein and enzymes in the blood.
Liver problems are more common than you might think. In fact, the most common liver ailment in the U.S., non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, affects between 80 and 100 million people right now, and the rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity is only expected to make these numbers rise. Consider these natural liver health boosters to keep this vital organ running smoothly.
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