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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

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!

Read more

Liver Health: Don’t Give Your Liver a Hangover

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 Give Your Liver a Hangover

No alcohol-containing beverage is totally safe and every sip of any amount (large or small) of alcohol challenges your liver’s ability to perform several functions quickly and without error. Although every molecule of alcohol processed by your liver means one less that might affect your brain, that molecule of alcohol could work with stored fat to change a healthy liver into an unhealthy one. The risk increases with increasing alcohol consumption. In addition, alcohol is known to stimulate the liver to produce enzymes that can interfere with the metabolism of many medications, reducing their effectiveness. No matter how you look at it, there is no way to conclude that any amount of alcohol is healthy for your liver. The less you drink, the more your liver will thank you and continue performing at its best for decades.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Don’t Overmedicate Your Pain

Read more

Liver Health: Cut Down on Unhealthy Fats

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: Cut Down on Unhealthy Fats

The more saturated fats and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 PUFA) you eat, the more fat gets deposited in your liver (as well as everywhere else). When the liver stores too much fat, it becomes clogged and much less efficient at detoxifying chemicals and toxins in the blood.

On the other hand, eating healthy fats can help optimize liver function. As shown in recent research published in Circulation, omega-3 PUFA (fish oils) are utilized in cell membranes and in anti-inflammatory processes and are not stored in the liver as fat.8 One way of reducing the stress on your liver is to ease up on animal fat and omega-6 rich vegetable oil consumption on the one hand and to replace the foods that contain them with healthy servings of fatty cold-water fish and olive oil. Supplementing with a high quality dietary supplement rich in fish oils is also liver-healthy. Shifting the balance of the fats you consume away from saturated fats and omega-6 PUFA and toward omega-3 PUFA can keep your liver smiling during those extra decades of life.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Don’t Give Your Liver a Hangover

References:
8. Harris WS, Sands SA, Windsor SL, Ali HA, Stevens TL, Magalski A, Porter CB, Borkon AM. Omega-3 fatty acids in cardiac biopsies from heart transplantation patients: Correlation with erythrocytes and response to supplementation. Circulation 2004;110:1645-1649.

 

Read more

Liver Health: Give Your Liver a Vacation

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: Give Your Liver a Vacation

As we mentioned earlier, easing your liver’s burden by making healthy dietary and lifestyle choices is healthy and beneficial. For your liver’s sake, consider reducing its heavy burden by increasing the proportion of your diet that is made up of organically-grown, pesticide- and herbicide-free, preservative-free, additive-free foods. Why intentionally add to the work that must be done by a part of your body that is so very vital to staying healthy throughout many decades of life?

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Cut Down on Unhealthy Fats

 

Read more

Liver Health: Enjoy the Spice(s) of Life

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: Enjoy the Spice(s) of Life

In a presentation to the Fourth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, held in Loma Linda, CA, April 8–11, 2002, Dr. Johanna W. Lampe explained that even though they are thought of primarily as adding flavor or aroma to a meal, all of the spices found in the kitchen actually are used by the body to promote health, and many find their happiest home in liver cells, where they provide additional support for the biochemical functions that are required for detoxification.7 Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander and saffron are just a handful that are known to enhance liver function. Go beyond salt and pepper and discover the taste delight of the common as well as the rarely used spices. Flavor up your foods and spice up your liver health.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Give Your Liver a Vacation

References:
7. Lampe JW. Spicing up a vegetarian diet: Chemopreventive effects of phytochemicals. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78(Suppl):579S-583S.

 

Read more

Liver Health: Enjoy the Colors of the Rainbow

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: Enjoy the Colors of the Rainbow

No single food contains all of the beneficial liver-enhancing compounds.6 Interestingly, foods of different natural colors tend to contain greater amounts of different groups of these compounds. The varying and brilliant colors of fruits and vegetables are reflective of their differing polyphenol content. Various polyphenols are liver-supportive because they have antioxidant properties and confer additional health benefits. The truth is that if all of the whole fruits and vegetables you eat are white, or even green, you will be short-changing your poor overworked liver. (You can find charts linking the colors of foods and the nutrients they represent at http://www.5aday.org).6 Colorful meals are more than just visually pleasing – they are absolutely necessary for keeping your liver from getting old before its time.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Liver Health: Enjoy the Spice(s) of Life

References:
6. 5 a Day – The Color Way. Produce for Better Health Foundation. Wilmington, DE. http://www.5aday.org/html/colorway/colorway_home.php

 

Read more