Keeping Your Liver Health: Top Lifestyle Tips
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
Your liver is an important organ with hundreds of functions.
Liver health is supported by numerous lifestyle habits.
Taking a liver-healthy supplement, like fatty15, can help support your goals of a healthy liver.
No one likes the idea of losing their health, but as we age, our organs and systems can begin to decline, leaving us with illnesses that we didn’t expect. One way to ensure we stay healthy longer is by making sure we take better care of our livers.
The liver is a vital organ (the second largest in the body) that has more than 300 known functions. Because of some of its functions, it’s subjected to harmful substances (like toxins, bacteria, and waste products) on a regular basis.
While the liver is accustomed to these compounds, prolonged exposure to some of them can cause liver damage and liver disease. In addition, lifestyle habits can contribute to compromised liver health. Together, we’ll talk about liver function and health and discuss ways to support your liver and keep it healthier for longer.
What Does the Liver Do?
The liver has hundreds of functions that keep us thriving. Here, we’ll look at some of the most important.
Filtering the Blood
All the blood in your body is filtered through your liver. Your liver removes toxins, dangerous substances, and bacteria from the blood to ensure you stay healthy and unharmed.
Albumin is a protein that prevents the fluid in your blood from leaking into other tissues in your body. It also transports nutrients and enzymes to other organs. The liver is the only organ that produces albumin. It also produces globulin, another vital protein that makes up your blood plasma.
Maintaining Levels of Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The liver ensures the levels of amino acids in your bloodstream are well-regulated and available for the creation of protein.
Bile is an important fluid that has two purposes. The first is to serve as the vehicle for the waste your liver filters from your blood. The second is to help break down the fats in your diet. Both are essential for a healthy body.
When you eat food, your blood sugar levels rise. The pancreas produces insulin to remove the glucose from the blood and send it to the cells that need it for energy production. Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen.
When needed by the cells, glycogen can easily be converted back into glucose and reenter the bloodstream.
You’ll never have to worry about these functions if you have a healthy liver. If not, these functions will decline, resulting in liver disease and damage.
Risk Factors for Liver Disease
Certain lifestyle habits and underlying medical conditions can lead to an increased risk of poor liver health.
- Excessive alcohol use. Alcohol misuse affects about 30 percent of the population over the age of 12. Alcohol damages the liver each time it is consumed. Over time, that can lead to cirrhosis, where scar tissue develops in the liver. It can also lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease, where excess fat is stored in the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption.
- Being overweight. Being overweight or obese can place you at higher risk for an unhealthy liver. Certain metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can also lead to unhealthy liver conditions. Your weight may place you at a higher risk for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, where excess fat is stored on the liver in a person who consumes little to no alcohol.
- Certain medications. If you are on a medication that affects your liver, your healthcare provider will give you medical advice about lifestyle changes to make to avoid damaging your liver.
- Not having had a hepatitis vaccine. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are all damaging to the liver. These infections (which can come from viruses in the case of viral hepatitis) can be transmitted through blood, bodily fluids, and through contaminated water and food.
Talk to your doctor if you think you could be at risk of developing an unhealthy liver. In the meantime, here are our top tips for keeping your liver healthy.
8 Tips for Liver Health
Keeping your liver healthy requires a few lifestyle adjustments and a bit more attention to your habits.
1. Drink in moderation.
Alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s best in moderation. Liver cells are damaged when you consume alcohol, but the liver can usually restore and repair itself when alcohol is consumed in moderation.
The amount of alcohol you drink is important. Current CDC guidelines recommend that you do not start drinking if you don’t drink and that if you do drink, you only consume one drink per day for men and two drinks per day for women.
2. Limit your use of over-the-counter medications.
Some over-the-counter medications can be hard on your liver. Many of them are processed through the liver, which means your liver is doing extra work to filter and rid your body of them once they are no longer needed.
If you are concerned about your medications, talk to your doctor to make sure they are safe.
3. Keep your produce clean.
Certain insecticides can be toxic to your liver. The best way to avoid these toxins is by buying organic produce or washing your fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
4. Get vaccinated for hepatitis.
Vaccinations can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A and B. Adults may not have received this vaccination, so talk to your doctor about whether or not you should consider it.
5. Be safe.
Safe sex can reduce your risk of developing hepatitis B and C, which is spread through blood and bodily fluids. You can also reduce your risk of developing these infections by not sharing personal items (like toothbrushes, razors, scissors, and needles).
6. Maintain a healthy weight.
If you are overweight, weight loss can help support your liver health and your overall wellness. Maintaining a body weight with a BMI of less than 25 can reduce your risk of liver disease and also your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
7. Eat a balanced diet.
It’s no secret that more fruits and vegetables are good for us, but you can avoid liver issues by choosing more whole grains and complex carbohydrates and avoiding sugar. A healthy diet can improve your overall health.
8. Get the right type of fat.
Fat is an essential macronutrient your body needs to function properly, but the messaging surrounding fat has been confusing for the last several decades. Dietary guidelines issued in the 1970s advised us to decrease our intake of saturated fats.
We are now learning that there are good and bad saturated fatty acids and even a particular saturated fat that is essential for our cells and bodies to thrive. That essential saturated fat is C15:0. It is essential to your cells and helps support your liver health, too.
C15:0: The Right Fat
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, was discovered as a beneficial fatty acid by a veterinary epidemiologist studying how to continually improve the health and welfare of older dolphins.
This epidemiologist found that some older dolphins, but not all, developed aging-associated conditions. One of the key differences? The healthier, older dolphins had more C15:0 in their diet.
Furthering her research, she learned that this dietary fat could have the same geroprotective effects in humans. Three years and eight studies later, she found that C15:0 was not only associated with better health but also the cause of better health.
C15:0 has since been proposed as an essential fatty acid, the first to be discovered in over 90 years.This research was published in Nature's Scientific Reports in 2020. Since that time, there have been over 70 publications supporting the benefits of C15:0 to our health. These publications can be found at DiscoverC15.com.
What C15:0 Does
C15:0 protects your cells (including the ones in your liver) as they age. As cells age, they lose their function and eventually die or reach a state of cellular senescence, a “zombie-like” existence where they neither die nor are eliminated from the body.
C15:0 helps restore cellular health by:
- Increasing cell membrane strength. Cell membranes keep our cells protected and give them their shape, but over time, they become flimsy and weak. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that armors our cell membranes against age-related breakdown. Studies have shown that pure C15:0 improves cellular strength by 80%.
- Clearing damaged cells. The zombie cells that don’t die and don’t get eliminated by the body can cause a toxic and inflammatory atmosphere. C15:0 activates AMPK, which the body uses to clear out these damaged cells.
- Regulating inflammatory response. Chronic, low-level inflammation can lead to numerous age-related illnesses. C15:0 significantly calms and lowers proinflammatory cytokines, which are associated with your body’s inflammatory response.
- Restoring mitochondria function. C15:0 repairs mitochondrial function, keeping your cells functioning and increasing ATP (energy) in your cells by 350% (as evidenced in peer-reviewed studies). Simultaneously, C15:0 reduces the amount of reactive oxygen species produced by the mitochondria by 45%.
- Activating AMPK. AMPK controls homeostatic functions like glucose uptake and immunity. By activating AMPK, C15:0 can help restore balance to these functions, which are often unbalanced as we age.
- Activating PPARɑ and PPARẟ receptors. These receptors control functions like sleep, mood, and even appetite. They also support metabolic, immune, and liver health. By activating these receptors, C15:0 helps restore homeostasis and balance.
C15:0 is a giant leap in the direction of better liver health and total wellness. It’s one of the best decisions you can make to support your cellular health.
How To Get C15:0
C15:0 is found primarily in whole-fat dairy products, however consuming more of these may not be the best solution. Whole-fat dairy products provide a wallop of calories, including sugars, and more of the “bad” proinflammatory even chain saturated fatty acids. .
The calories in whole-fat milk likely explain why a large-scale recent study showed that adults who drink more dairy milk are more likely to have a higher body weight. Further, the movement to more plant-based milk and meat replacements is driven by a desire for more animal-free products and less methane production. Interestingly, plant-based milk replacements lack C15:0 altogether.
A solution? Fatty15.
Fatty15: The C15:0 Supplement That Supports Your Liver
There are a few reasons why taking fatty15 to obtain c15:0 may be beneficial. First, numerous studies, including this one, support that fatty15 can protect your liver. Second, it's made ready to absorb into your cells. In milk (and other foods), C15:0 is attached to branches of lipids called triacylglycerides, aka triglycerides.
That means our gut has to use digestive enzymes to break down these triacylglycerides to release C15:0 as a free fatty acid. Once C15:0 is released, it is ready to be absorbed. These multiple steps can make our absorption of C15:0 from foods less efficient.
In contrast, FA15™ in fatty15 is our proprietary pure-powder, vegan-friendly, sustainably-produced and award-winning C15:0 ingredient that is already in its most bioavailable free fatty acid form. Less work for the gut, more good C15:0 for our bodies.
Second, It's not mixed with bad saturated fats. While the good C15:0 fatty acid is present in whole-fat dairy products in trace levels, there are much higher levels of even-chain saturated fatty acids (the “bad” ones) that continue to be associated with poorer health. Fatty15 provides just the good fat without the bad fats.
Taking fatty15 is a great way to get the C15:0 your body needs, no cow or calories needed. Taking it can help support your liver health and increase your overall wellness.
Broader and safer clinically-relevant activities of pentadecanoic acid compared to omega-3: Evaluation of an emerging essential fatty acid across twelve primary human cell-based disease systems | PLOS ONE
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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