Volume IV, No. 5 By Frank M. Jordan
If You Want to Live’r Long – Treat Your Liver Right!
Read an important Health Treatment Notice about personal health issues.
Meet Your Liver!
As the largest filter, gland and one of the largest organs in the body weighing about 3 pounds, the liver is essential to good health and unique among organs in being able to regenerate itself even when damaged. The liver is exposed to, metabolizes and filters everything we eat, absorb, drink and breathe!
As a liver disease, Hepatitis C accounts for 10,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone, with an estimated four million Americans infected! About 85% of infections lead to chronic liver disease with elevated levels of iron. Hepatitis B and C are epidemic with people now affected worldwide exceeding 500 million, resulting in 1 million+ deaths annually.
The liver performs more than five hundred separate functions in maintaining a healthy and long life for you. Among the more important functions involving the liver are:
- Conversion of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids into forms usable by the body.
- Production of blood proteins needed for blood clotting and immune factor.
- Production of essential bile components which collect waste products and carry them away from the liver. The liver converts Bilirubin from the spleen into a conjugated form as a product of red blood cell hemoglobin break-down that is water soluble and thus able to be excreted into bile. Red blood cells when old are broken down by the liver with many components recycled.
- Production of phospholipids, cholesterol and coenzyme Q10 by the liver and needed by the cells of the body in proper amounts for cellular metabolism and reproduction.
- The liver through hepatocytes cells stores glucose, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, B12, folate and minerals from blood, including iron and copper. If retained, copper can accumulate in the liver leading to cirrhosis.
- Manufacture of lipoproteins (the “L” in HDL and LDL cholesterol) that transport the phospholipids and needed cholesterol throughout the body.
- Break down of excess amino acids to form urea, then delivered by the bloodstream to the kidneys and excreted as urine.
- Filtering and detoxification of every toxin and poison to which the body is exposed, including heavy metals such as mercury and also ammonia which in elevated amounts is toxic to the brain. The liver changes the toxins chemical structure to water soluble so they can be excreted as urine. If not detoxified, the toxins can lodge in cells causing multiple health problems.
- Modification and metabolization of excess hormones and inactivation to avoid imbalances. Included are the masculinizing hormone testosterone and the feminizing hormone estrogen, which are metabolized and inactivated by the liver.
- Modification and degrading of almost all drugs and alcohol. Drugs taken orally through the mouth are absorbed by the gut and transported by portal vein including blood vessel circulation to the liver where they are modified, activated or inactivated. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, but if not properly processed, cell injury and even death can result.
Liver Health and Energy Levels
Most are surprised to learn substandard liver detoxification causes low energy levels. Detoxification uses up over eighty percent of the amount of energy your body devotes to making new molecules. Your energy production each day is utilized primarily for getting rid of waste products from your body. When you put garbage in your body, most of your energy is expended getting the garbage back out of your body!
Low energy levels are often a direct result of liver overload from an intake of excess toxins the liver cannot properly filter. If you want consistently higher energy levels without constant fatigue, good liver maintenance and reduction of overload are essential.
Liver Health Challenges
Causes of liver disease range from viral, fungal and bacterial microbial, metabolic and circulatory infections to neoplasms defined as rapid abnormal tissue growth both benign and malignant present in cancer. The breakdown of liver detoxification capabilities is a major factor. The liver is involved in almost all blood-borne infections.
The liver is the most frequent site for blood-borne malignant tumor mastastases, including colorectal, breast, lung, stomach, pancreas, ovarian and malignant melanoma cancer. The primary malignant liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), most commonly occurs in patients with cirrhosis from viral infection, alcoholism and hemochromatosis (a hereditary disorder characterized by iron accumulation in tissues).
Cirrhosis of the liver is a chronic disease in which fibrous tissue replaces normal tissue, leading to the loss of functional liver cells and even death. Cirrhosis cause is alcohol abuse, nutritional deprivation and infection, particularly from hepatitis.
Pesticides are known to trigger liver cancer development, with DDE as a derivative of DDT a probable carcinogen.
Hepatitis is most often caused by three major viruses designated as A (infectious), B (serum) and C (HCV), which together infect about 500,000 people annually in the U.S. alone. Hepatitis involves inflammation and damage to liver cells designated as hepatocytes. Causes can range from viral infections, toxins and auto-immune responses by the body.
Hepatitis C is transmitted generally by blood-to-blood contact such as occurs in a blood transfusion and tattooing or drug intake with a dirty needle or razor blade. Transferal of Hepatitis C by transfusion has been almost eliminated according to the FDA after screening was begun in 1992, with the probabilities being minuscule at 1 per 2 million units transferred. The hepatitis virus can exist for 20 years or more before symptoms appear including severe fatigue and joint aches.
Toxins including alcohol, drugs or poisons, heavy metals and environmental particulates damage liver tissue; thus reducing immune defenses essential to liver health. The risk of hepatic toxicity increases significantly if more than 4 alcoholic drinks are consumed daily.
Many medications and drugs, including overuse of pain relievers acetaminophen (Tylenol, Vicodin, etc) and ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve, etc), can cause liver damage from mild to death and may not be dosage dependent. Beta glucan aids nutritionally in helping to offset toxicity from such sources.
In autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis, the immune system has been damaged or suppressed and is attacking, while even destroying parts of the liver. Needed blood flow through the liver can be negatively affected, damaging the critical filtering ability of the liver.
Tests for hepatitis C include EIA (enzyme immunoassay) or CIA and then for confirmation if positive, a RIBA or recombinant immunoblot assay. If you are confirmed positive, a physician should measure the level of the liver enzyme ALT or alanine aminotransferase. An elevated ALT indicates inflammation of the liver and possible chronic (long-term) liver disease.
Note that Hepatitis C is not spread by sneezing, hugging, coughing, food or water, sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, or casual contact. While HCV can be spread by sex, transfer by sex is rare, with Hepatitis B the primary risk.
How To Maintain or Regain Liver Health
Liver diseases are serious health challenges and should be addressed after proper testing and confirmation under physician supervision. Combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin is the treatment usually used, resulting in sustained response rates of 40% (genotype 1) to 80% (genotypes 2 or 3). Drug side effects can be drastic.
Both interferon therapy and combination therapy of interferon and ribavirin can create serious side effects including flu-like symptoms, and even liver failure or thyroid disease. Dosage reductions are required to minimize side effects in 40% of persons and interferon is unworkable in 15%. Ribavirin can cause serious anemia with low red blood cell count.
However, we can nutritionally help our bodies and our livers in promoting liver wellness with some nutritional and lifestyle aids.
- Avoid undue stress on your liver from toxins in the air, in food and those absorbed through the skin by the body.
- Don’t smoke. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Drink moderately, if at all. Avoid drugs, tattoos and body piercing, especially insertion of metals in the mouth or near vital organs.
- Avoid pesticides and solvents plus other harmful chemicals.
- Do not share razors, toothbrushes or nail-grooming items.
- Avoid saturated fats and refined sugar while promoting enzyme production with garlic, eggs and onions containing high sulfur content. Eat water-soluble fibers including Granny Smith apples and legumes plus dark vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Add artichokes, carrots, beets for liver cell regeneration, and spices such as tumeric and cinnamon. Eat green foods such as wheat and barley grass, chlorella and spirulina.
- With nutritional dietary supplements and vitamins suggested is oral intake of:
- A high potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement with vitamin K2 and minerals to support detoxification.
- Milk Thistle (Silymarin) as a flavonoid with 200 mg three times daily suggested as a potent liver antioxidant and free radical scavenger with no side effects. Silibinin, as the main component of Silymarin, promotes enzymes produced by the liver needed to break down and eliminate toxins.
- MG Beta Glucan (Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan) as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger to aid in digestion and removal of cellular debris with 20-60 mg daily of the MG Glucan recommended. Beta glucan is also demonstrated to be a potent natural antiviral and immune response booster, particularly for the Kupffer white macrophage cells in the liver. Research indicates Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan can nutritionally aid in reducing toxic liver effects of acetaminophen (Tylenol, Vicodin, etc.) Extensive beta glucan research is reported at www.betaglucan.org.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid of 300-1200 mg daily as a sulfur-containing substance acting as a potent antioxidant effective against both water and fat soluble free radicals and nutritionally beneficial in the detoxification reactions of the liver.
- Deglycerized Licorice (DGL) of 250-500 mg 3 times daily under doctor supervision for anti-viral properties, with monitored reactions of blood pressure and electrolytes for adjustment if needed.
- NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine) of 50 mg daily as an amino acid to promote natural antioxidant glutathione production which aids in toxin breakdown in the liver and removal of toxins, particularly heavy metals.
- Glutathione of 500 mg twice daily on an empty stomach to protect and detoxify the liver, including heavy metal elimination. When the liver viral load increases, glutathione levels decrease and should be supplemented.
- L-Arginine as directed on the label to detoxify the liver. Use L-Cysteine and L-Methionine of 500 mg each, twice daily on an empty stomach with water or juice but not with milk. Take with 50 mg of B6 and 100 mg of Vitamin C (amounts usually in a multiple vitamin) for better absorption.
- Aged garlic as a potent liver protectant with beneficial sulfur properties if natural garlic is not eaten in needed amounts.
- Green tea polyphenol catechins with antioxidant properties beneficial to liver issues and a protectant against pesticides.
- Essential Fatty Acids such as primrose oil are important sources of essential lipids, plus combating inflammation of the liver and lowering serum fats that contribute to an unwanted and dangerous fatty liver.
- Curcumin isolated from Turmeric to inhibit free radical induced lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative (free radical) damage of liver mitochondria.
- Dandelion herb to increase needed detoxification enzymes.
- Vitamin C of 40-100 grams orally or intravenously under physician supervision with the amount depending on individual Vitamin C tolerance.
In today’s world our livers are assaulted constantly with toxins resulting in overload, fatique and disease. Liver diseases and challenges are serious health issues requiring proper diagnosis and treatment under physician supervision. Nutritional supplements and natural substances can aid in promoting liver health.
The liver is a vital organ in need of extensive support and care, to assure functioning at an optimal level. If you want to Live’r long, treat your Liver right!
For detailed research sources go to www.betaglucan.org, a non-commercial website dedicated to beta glucan research and information.
About the Author: Frank Jordan has a post-graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a co-patent holder on U.S. patents issued or in application related to the immune response in conjunction with researchers at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Dept. of Microbiology. Jordan also hosted Healthy, Wealthy and Wise as a tional radio show heard in all 48 continental U.S. states weekdays. Learn more about Frank Jordan on the web at www.frankjordan.com .
Reprinted with permission from Immunition Reports.
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