Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Curcumin (from Turmeric)

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Curcumin (from Turmeric)

Curcuminoids are phytonutrients from turmeric that are responsible for the brilliant orange color of this culinary and medicinal spice. They have tremendous antioxidant properties and have been used for centuries as components of liver-supportive formulas in the Ayurvedic tradition. Several studies, performed in the laboratory and in living organisms, confirm the ability of curcumin to protect the liver against damage caused by hepatotoxic chemicals.18 It seems that curcumin has the ability to upregulate the function of several antioxidant enzymes, which facilitate protection of liver cells against free radical damage. Studies also show that curcumin activates the essential detoxifying enzyme glutathoine-s-transferase, which facilitates phase II detoxification activities, including conjugation of several chemical compounds with glutathione, leading to their elimination from the body.19 Being a powerful antioxidant stimulator, curcumin is a useful compound for liver health and function.

Supporting liver function by eating right, limiting alcohol, avoiding tobacco smoke, and providing it the critical nutrients and cofactors it needs to keep functioning at a high level can ensure that it will give you its best effort in keeping you healthy and fit.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Brain Health – Maintain a Sharp Mind and Support Cognitive Function

References:
18. Farombi EO, Shrotriya S, Na HK, Kim SH, Surh YJ. Curcumin attenuates dimethylnitrosamine-induced liver injury in rats through Nrf2-mediated induction of heme oxygenase-1. Food Chem Toxicol 2008;46(4):1279-87.
19. Nishinaka T, Ichijo Y, Ito M, Kimura M, Katsuyama M, Iwata K, Miura T, Terada T, Yabe-Nishimura C. Curcumin activates human glutathione S-transferase P1 expression through antioxidant response element. Toxicol Lett. 2007;170(3):238-47.

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Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Milk Thistle (silymarin)

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Milk Thistle (silymarin)

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) was used in classical Greece to support healthy liver and gallbladder function and to protect the liver against toxins. Its active ingredient, silymarin (actually a collection of related compounds found primarily in the seeds), acts to promote healthy liver cell function by stimulating the activity of antioxidant compounds, while itself acting as an antioxidant, stabilizing liver cell membranes and increasing their resistance to penetration by toxins, stimulating the regeneration of normal liver cells and promoting bile production and secretion.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Curcumin (from Turmeric)

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Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Fish Oils

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Fish Oils

Healthy fats, as those found in fish oil, may support the liver’s normal metabolic functions. Taking healthy fats also beneficially changes the ratio of healthy fats to unhealthy fats in the diet. Unhealthy fats, as mentioned above, bog down the liver’s ability to detoxify harmful chemicals. As reported in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, healthy amounts of fish oil supplements (3000 mg to 5000 mg daily) support fat metabolism in the liver, as well as bile production and liver function.3 In addition, unlike unhealthy fats, fish oils are not stored within the liver. Replacing sources of other dietary fats with fish oils or fatty fish can further promote liver health.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Milk Thistle (silymarin)

References:
3. Jonkers IJ, Smelt AH, Princen HM, Kuipers F, Romijn JA, Boverhof R, Masclee AA, Stellaard F. Fish oil increases bile acid synthesis in male patients with hypertriglyceridemia. J Nutr 2006;136:987-991.

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Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: N-Acetylcysteine

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: N-Acetylcysteine

After absorption and uptake by the liver, N-acetylcysteine stimulates the synthesis of one of the most important antioxidant compounds within liver cells – glutathione – and, as shown in a study recently published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, N-acetylcysteine promotes the health of liver cells by protecting them against harm.2

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Fish Oils

References:
2. Rana SV, Attri S, Vaiphei K, Pal R, Attri A, Singh K. Role of N-acetylcysteine in rifampicin-induced hepatic injury of young rats. World J Gastroenterol 2006;12:287-291.

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Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Green Tea Catechins

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Green Tea Catechins

One cup of brewed green tea contains about 200 mg of polyphenols, about half of which is (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). As shown in a study published in Biomedical Research, drinking green tea (which has a high content of catechins) protects the liver from the damage caused by free radicals.1 The results of another recently published study confirmed that the liver, bile duct and gallbladder all receive valuable support from the phytonutrients present within green tea.14

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: N-Acetylcysteine

References:
1. Abe K, Ijiri M, Suzuki T, Taguchi K, Koyama Y, Isemura M. Green tea with a high catechin content suppresses inflammatory cytokine expression in the galactosamine-injured rat liver. Biomed Res 2005;26:187-192.
14. Abe K, Ijiri M, Suzuki T, Taguchi K, Koyama Y, Isemura M. Green tea with a high catechin content suppresses inflammatory cytokine expression in the galactosamine-injured rat liver. Biomed Res 2005;26:187-192.

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Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Selenium

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver:
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Selenium

This group of nutrients forms the foundation of the liver’s ability to protect itself from the “collateral damage” that could be caused during the chemical reactions it performs when regulating energy flow to the body, rebalancing amino acids, packaging and repackaging fats and cholesterol, producing bile acids, and converting toxins to harmless compounds. A large body of scientific evidence conclusively demonstrates that each of these nutrients works individually to control free radical production while they cooperate in controlling overall cellular exposure to harmful chemicals.13 By recycling other antioxidants within liver cells, alpha-lipoic acid increases their efficiency and vastly enhances the antioxidant capacities of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and the carotenoids. Because it can function both within the interior of a cell and within its membranes, alpha-lipoic acid is the most versatile of all antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid also protects hepatocytes from free radical damage caused by excessive heavy metal exposure. In addition, the antioxidant actions of alpha-lipoic acid serve to normalize the overall inflammatory response.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver: Green Tea Catechins

References:
13. Bilska A, Wlodek L. Lipoic acid — the drug of the future? Pharmacol Rep 2005;57:570-577.

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Liver Health: Supply Your Liver with the Cofactors It Needs

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Liver Health: Supply Your Liver with the Cofactors It Needs

Most of the machinery your liver cells need to preserve health is generated within liver cells themselves. However, the machinery requires additional tools in order to function at its absolute best. Most of these tools can be obtained from eating healthy foods, especially colorful raw fruits and vegetables. However, our diets are often low in many of the necessary foods and, in some cases, it might take an enormous amount of certain foods everyday to satisfy your liver’s needs. In those cases, dietary supplements can allow you to keep your liver fully supplied while still satisfying your food preferences.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Critical Tools for a Healthy Liver

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Liver Health: Support Your Gallbladder along with Your Liver

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Liver Health: Support Your Gallbladder along with Your Liver

Fat floats. This is a problem because fats in most of the foods you eat (if not all) cannot pass through your small intestinal lining to reach your blood stream and the rest of your body without first being dissolved in water. Your liver, gallbladder, pancreas and small intestine team up to accomplish this very complicated chemical feat. In its part, your liver passes along to your gallbladder bile acids and bile salts that help fats in your gut dissolve in water, as well as excess cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins, steroid hormones, and other metabolic wastes that do not otherwise dissolve in water. Some of the materials sent to the gut by the gallbladder are later excreted in the stool. This represents a major pathway for the removal of estrogens, cholesterol and some “detoxified” toxins from the body and is a vital component of health maintenance. As is evident, the gallbladder is a major contributor to the overall detoxification process.

The smooth operation of this system requires the routine production of healthy bile by the liver. Several studies point to dietary and lifestyle measures that can help to promote the efficiency of the gallbladder, lending support to this vital portion of the detoxification system. Papers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Epidemiology, the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that eating peanuts and mixed nuts, and drinking coffee or tea every day, while decreasing animal fat consumption and trimming your waistline, are all factors that can help your gallbladder continue humming along in good health.9,10,11,12

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Supply Your Liver with the Cofactors It Needs

References:
9. Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Spiegelman D, Colditz GA, Giovannucci E. A prospective study of coffee consumption and the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men. JAMA 1999;281:2106- 2112.
10. Ruhl CE, Everhart JE. Association of coffee consumption with gallbladder disease. Am J Epidemiol 2000;152:1034-1038.
11. Tsai CJ, Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. The effect of longterm intake of cis unsaturated fats on the risk for gallstone disease in men: A prospective cohort study. Ann Intern Med 2004;141:514-522.
12. Tsai CJ, Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Prospective study of abdominal adiposity and gallstone disease in US men. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:38-44.

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Liver Health: Stop Smoking!

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Liver Health: Stop Smoking!

Tobacco smoke contains at least 40 recognized carcinogens that can cause harm to many parts of the body besides the lungs, including the liver. In addition, there are over 2000 separate chemicals in cigarette smoke that are capable of oxidizing cell membranes and proteins. Certainly, nicotine is an addictive drug, much like alcohol. And just as certainly, both alcohol and nicotine are hepatotoxic. No matter what other “protective” steps you may take, continued cigarette smoking will continue to damage your liver and lead to early liver disease.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Support Your Gallbladder along with Your Liver

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Liver Health: Don’t Overmedicate Your Pain

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Liver Health: Don’t Overmedicate Your Pain

Several over-the counter and prescription pain medications have well-known liver damaging side effects when used chronically. All of these medications are metabolized by the liver, increasing its metabolic burden and, with excessive use, they may cause the liver harm. As with any other condition, prevention of pain always is preferable to treatment. Controlled exercise, improved posture, chiropractic adjustments and stress reduction, as well as a good night’s sleep, can help decrease the need for pain-relieving medications. In addition, a slow-down in the pace of life can help prevent minor accidents with their annoying consequences.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Stop Smoking!

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