How to Have a Healthy Liver:
Can Protect Yourself Against Liver Damage
Dr. Ben Kim
study published in the July 5th, 2006 edition of the Journal of the American
Medical Association indicates that taking the maximum recommended dose of
Tylenol (acetaminophen) for fourteen consecutive days can cause acute liver damage.
researchers who co-ordinated this study had 106 participants take 4 grams of acetaminophen
(the equivalent of eight 500 mg tablets of extra-strength Tylenol) every day for
two weeks. Thirty-nine participants received placebo pills.
key results were as follows:
the particpants who took acetaminophen, almost 40 percent showed signs of acute
who showed signs of acute liver damage continued to show signs of liver stress
four days after they stopped taking acetaminophen; it took a full eleven days
for their liver enzymes to return to normal levels
is your liver so susceptible to damage by acetaminophen? Because almost everything
that enters your mouth, travels down your digestive tract, and gets absorbed into
your blood stream must travel directly to and through your liver before it travels
through the rest of your circulatory system.
liver acts as a processing plant. It receives everything that you put into your
mouth and that ends up in your blood stream, does its best to sort out useful
nutrients and harmful substances, and then packages these nutrients and harmful
substances to be delivered to your cells and eliminated from your body, respectively.
certain drugs like those that contain acetaminophen reach your liver for processing,
they can cause direct injury to your liver cells, sparking an inflammatory reaction
that leads to increased production of liver enzymes, which a standard blood test
can detect. If your liver cells are injured repeatedly, they can go through a
series of degenerative changes, the last ones being cirrhosis (hardening) and
cancer of the liver.
drugs that list liver damage as a potential "side" effect and all forms of alcohol
are the two groups of substances that can most efficiently and predictably cause
liver damage in the fashion described above.
yourself against liver damage must begin with avoidance of said medical drugs
(whenever possible and under the guidance of your doctor) and alcohol. It's true
that not everyone who takes medical drugs and drinks alcohol regularly over many
years ends up with irreversible liver damage. Genetics and lifestyle changes can
help to ward off liver damage despite a history of alcohol and drug use. Still,
you should be aware that any amount of these two substances can and do heap unnecessary
stress onto your liver cells.
doing your best to avoid drugs and alcohol, here are some additional steps that
you can take to protect yourself against liver damage:
- Stay away from
foods that are high in unhealthy fats and/or sugar. Donuts, deep fried fast food,
and soda are three of the worst foods for your liver. And yes, chicken McNuggets
and McChicken sandwiches are deep fried.
mainly fresh, minimally processed foods. Focus on green vegetables and produce
that comes in rich colors like field tomatoes, carrots, avocado, mango, blueberries,
and blackberries. These richly colored fruits and vegetables contain naturally
occurring antioxidants that can help to protect your liver cells against physical
extreme caution and common sense when it comes to being physically intimate with
another person. Hepatitis B and C are viruses that can cause significant liver
damage. These viruses live in all body fluids, including blood and seminal fluids.
- Be aware
that hepatitis C is most commonly spread via blood, and can be acquired through
contaminated needles used for IV drug injections, body piercing, and tattooing.
to stay away from chemicals of all types, particularly pesticide and insecticide
sprays, which can inflict direct damage to your liver cells once
they make their way into your blood stream. Many chemicals are capable of entering
your blood stream through your skin, so try to use on your skin only those products
that you feel comfortable eating.
final note: if you rely on regular intake of acetaminophen to deal with intolerable
pain, I encourage you to try taking a high quality cod
liver oil or fish oil for their
omega-3 fatty acids, which can be extremely effective at decreasing inflammation.
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