The liver is vital for filtering toxins from our blood as well as producing bile that is essential for the digestive process and for regulating blood sugar levels.
In the western world, liver disease (this includes fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and chronic hepatitis with liver fibrosis or cirrhosis) is mainly caused by alcohol when consumed in large amounts. And alcoholic liver disease is responsible for the majority of alcohol related deaths.
Even excess alcohol consumption over a short period of time can cause damage to the liver
While diseases such as the ones listed above, and ultimate death from alcohol is correlated more highly with long term and excessive alcohol abuse, even excess over a short period of time can cause damage to the liver.
There are certainly times of the year when we're more likely to overdo the alcohol and Christmas is certainly one of them - if you feel you've overdone the drinking recently then you'll be pleased to know there might be a way or offsetting the damage. It comes in the form of turmeric.
Kim Pearson, a nutritionist, says:
“The bright orange spice which has been long used in Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine, and is reported to have the ability to protect the liver from damage.
“Animal studies have shown that mice fed curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, suffered less liver damage over time compared with those on a normal diet."
Curcumin has even been found to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of liver disorders
In a study published in 2013 in the journal Comprehensive Reviews turmeric was shown to be effective in the treatment of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, drug-induced hepatotoxicity, liver cancer, biliary cirrhosis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
If you're thinking of adding turmeric into your diet, it's important to be aware that it might not be enough to rely on the spice within cooking alone to get the protective effects science is suggesting it has.
While it might be easy to consume a relatively large amount of turmeric, the beneficial compounds in turmeric are notoriously poorly absorbed by the body. It might therefore be better to opt for a supplement which has been specifically developed to guarantee optimal absorption. Just Vitamins' turmeric has been formulated with BioPerine® for optimum absorption - Bioperine® in the patented form, has been clinically tested in the United States, it significantly enhances the bioavailability of turmeric through increased absorption.
Fibre is also important
Another way to help your liver is to increase the amount of fibre in your diet. Pearson explains:
“Fibre binds to waste products and helps to remove them from the body but many of us don’t eat enough,”
“If we have a diet lacking in fibre then it can prevent healthy elimination of waste from the digestive system, closely linked with the liver.
“Fibre is naturally present in many plant foods so base meals around plenty of vegetables - particularly good sources include broccoli, brussels sprouts, avocados and kale. Vegetables also provide liver protecting antioxidants.”
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.