The liver’s importance to our survival cannot be overstated. Without the liver to filter toxins and assist with digestion and elimination we die without outside assistance to perform those functions. Our environment externally and internally both affect the health of the liver. The liver secretes bile to assist with digestion in the small intestine, allowing fats to be broken down (Thibodeau, 2013).
As a filter for toxins in the body, it has an immense job. There are number of diseases that can affect the liver, along with damage done by injury or scar tissue (National Institute of Health). As the body starts to feel the effects of a damaged or stressed liver, symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal swelling, fatigue and pain in the upper right abdomen may show (Mayo Clinic, 2014). Often the damage being done has no symptoms at all.
Air pollutants are connected to damage in the liver, with particulate matter (very fine PM) being isolated in the liver having entered the body through the respiratory system or ingested by the mouth (Kim, 2014). Carbon Black can also find it’s way to the liver causing significant damage. These two issues from polluted air are correlated to an increase mortality risk in diabetics, although the mechanics are not known to determine if they are causitive in that morality rate increase. Oxidative stress from air pollution may also be associated with liver cancer.
You can see that protect the health of the liver is of vital importance. Drinking plenty of water is always good for filtration and elimination. Eating antioxidants can help prevent oxidative damage to the liver. Limit your alcoholic intake and if you smoke, quit. Both are linked to liver damage. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eat whole fresh foods and get regular checkups from your doctor to make sure your triglycerides and blood glucose levels are well controlled.
Beets are excellent support for the liver, and borscht is a tasty way to get beets into your diet. You can also add them to smoothies. Get plenty of sulfurous and cruciferous foods into your diet as well, such as onions, garlic, cabbage and broccoli.
Thibodeau GA, Patton KT. Structure & function of the body. 14th ed. Saint Louis: Mosby; 2013. http://replace-me/ebraryid=11067475.
National Institute of Health. Liver disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Web site. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease. Accessed 2/06/2017.
Jong Won Kim, Surim Park, Chae Woong Lim, Kyuhong Lee, Bumseok Kim. The role of air pollutants in initiating liver disease. Toxicological Research. 2014;30(2):65-70. http://www.dbpia.co.kr/view/ar_view.asp?arid=2428732. doi: 10.5487/TR.2014.30.2.065.
Mayo Clinic S. Diseases and conditions liver disease. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/liver-problems/basics/definition/con-20025300. Updated 2014. Accessed 2/06/2017.