What to Take for Liver Health: 4 Liver Support Supplements
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
- The liver is a vital organ that deals with many functions of the body, from producing bile to filtering medications and bacteria out of the bloodstream.
- You can support your liver in many ways, including avoiding toxins and alcohols, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting enough physical exercise.
- Another way to support liver function is by taking fatty15, a C15:0 fatty acid supplement that supports liver cells and bolsters your immune system.
Have you considered your liver health lately? If your answer is no, you’re like most of us. In fact, we really have no reason to consider our livers, what they do, or if they’re operating properly until there’s a problem with them. Unfortunately, by the time a problem arises, it can be hard to stop what has already been put in motion. In other words, when it comes to our livers, it is best to be proactive in our healthcare.
How can you be proactive about an organ you really don’t know? The first step is educating yourself on the basic functions of the liver, which you’re doing right now, so good job. Next, you can make a determination as to what kinds of options are available to provide healthy liver support. And last, you can actively pursue better liver health by developing a healthcare plan that includes lifestyle changes and supplement usage that better protects our livers, giving us a chance to keep our livers healthy and fit.
What Is the Liver?
If it’s been a few years since that last biology class, here’s a brief anatomy lesson. Your liver is located in your abdominal cavity, in the upper right-hand side, above your stomach. It is a ruddy brown color, similar to that of a kidney bean. Your liver weighs about three pounds and has two separate lobes. Your liver holds about one pint of blood.
Your liver is an essential organ; you have to have it to survive. If your liver fails or your liver health begins to decline, you will experience serious health issues which could eventually be life-threatening. As such, taking care of your liver is extremely important. To understand why your liver is such a VIP, you need to understand what it does.
What Are the Functions of the Liver?
For the little attention we give it, the liver is actually a really important organ. Over 500 vital functions of the liver have been identified. For a list of all 500 processes, see your hepatologist! The main function of the liver is to detoxify the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines and aid in the digestion and creation of nutrients which are then carried to other parts of your body. Here are ten key functions of your liver.
- Creation of bile. Your liver is responsible for the creation of bile, which removes waste and helps break down fat in the small intestine during digestion.
- Creation of proteins for blood plasma. Plasma protein helps our blood clot, circulate, and deliver oxygen properly.
- Your liver makes cholesterol and proteins that help move fat through your body. It also controls the amino acids in your blood.
- The liver converts glucose to glycogen and stores it for later conversion back to glucose as needed.
- The liver is where hemoglobin is processed. Your liver takes iron from hemoglobin and stores it to later be distributed to your body as it is needed. However, if too much iron is stored or not enough is stored, you can experience issues like anemia.
- Removal of ammonia. During digestion, our bodies release ammonia as a byproduct. The liver removes ammonia and excretes it to urine.
- Filtering medications from the bloodstream. Your liver is responsible for filtering medications and toxic substances from the bloodstream.
- Blood clotting. Your liver helps control blood clotting, making sure that when you are injured, your blood clots in a fast and effective manner.
- Filtering bacteria from the bloodstream. Your liver helps aid in your immune processes by removing bacteria from the bloodstream which could otherwise make you ill.
- Removal of bilirubin from the blood. When your blood accumulates bilirubin, you are said to have jaundice, a condition best known for causing the skin and whites of the eyes a pale yellow color.
What Supports Liver Health?
There are numerous ways to give your liver a fighting chance. Some of the most important things you can do to take care of your liver are living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. To care for your liver, you can:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can lead to poor liver health. Specifically, obesity is often associated with a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is characterized by too much fat in the liver. This condition can lead to inflammation and damage to your liver cells. If you have excess weight, consider weight loss as a vehicle for feeling better and protecting your liver health. Eat a properly balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber, fruits, vegetables, and fat. It’s also important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise is beneficial to your entire body, just like maintaining a healthy diet. Regular exercise can decrease the amount of fat stored in your liver. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, with several resistance training sessions.
- Avoid toxins. Toxins can accumulate in the liver and cause damage. Check household cleaning products, sunscreens, and any other chemical-based products for known toxins that could cause potential harm. Toxins can also trigger the body to release free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress in healthy cells. This damages the cells and can cause them to replicate the damage when new cells are formed.
- Limit your alcohol use. Alcohol is toxic to your liver, and can cause permanent damage. It’s best to speak to your healthcare professional about your alcohol usage and whether or not your liver is healthy enough for alcohol consumption. The CDC recently updated its guidelines concerning alcohol consumption, stating that if you do not drink alcohol, you shouldn’t start, and that if you do drink alcohol, you should do so infrequently.
- Avoid illicit drugs. This goes without saying, but the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs is dangerous to your liver.
Other problems that could affect your liver health include contracting hepatitis B or having issues with your gallbladder.
If you’re ready to offer your liver better health through a healthy lifestyle, you may consider taking a liver health supplement.
Should You Take Liver Supplements?
Milk Thistle. Milk thistle extract is used in many liver supplements, and the part of the plant that is used is the seed. The seeds of the milk thistle plant contain a flavonoid called silymarin, which supports liver function.
N-acetylcysteine (NAS). This is a supplement used to help patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that causes the liver to store too much fat and can lead to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver. L-cysteine is also sometimes used for heart support and for helping eliminate joint pain.
Artichoke Leaf. The leaf of the artichoke plant is thought to help support proper liver function and help protect the health of the liver. Artichoke leaf extract contains polyphenols which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your healthy cells from free radicals that lead to oxidative stress.
Turmeric. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is often used to help support joint and muscle health and mobility. A few small studies have suggested that turmeric may help with liver detoxification, so it has become a popular ingredient in “liver cleanse” formulas available on the market today.
Dandelion Root. Sold as a dietary supplement, dandelion root is typically used to help support digestion. However, it may also help support healthy gallbladder function. Because the gallbladder works directly with the liver for the storage of bile, taking dandelion root extract could have an indirect liver-supportive effect, although it is not generally marketed as a liver-support supplement.
Chicory Root. This woody herbal supplement is praised for its inulin content, a type of prebiotic fiber that can support digestion. One study found that the antioxidant properties of chicory root helped regulate oxidative stress and reduce the risk of liver damage.
Chanca Piedra. This coastal plant is most frequently thought to help with urinary tract issues. It has a diuretic effect on the body and is sometimes thought to aid with liver detox. However, the real support comes from its antioxidant load. If you decide to take this supplement, be aware it has some pretty significant side effects, like nausea, bloating, and modulation of blood sugar levels.
Glutathione. This compound is a liver enzyme you can also take in supplement form. It may help support healthy liver function in people whose liver function is already compromised.
Beetroot. Beetroot juice has been thought to have hepatoprotective effects and help with liver cleansing. In addition, beetroot is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and essential nutrients like fiber, folate, and choline, which give it other health benefits, too,
If you’ve heard that taking selenium is good for your liver, it’s best to talk to your doctor first. Selenium is necessary for a healthy, functioning liver, but it is extremely rare to be deficient in selenium. Taking selenium could have adverse effects like long-term liver damage.
It’s also important to recognize that herbal ingredients (like the kind found in many of the supplements above) aren’t tightly regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. The FDA does not test each supplement for its purity, which means it's possible your supplement might not include what it says it does or could include fillers you don’t want.
There are numerous natural ingredients that can be beneficial for aiding in liver function, but to best protect your liver health, it can be beneficial to start at the cellular level.
As we age, our cells (including those in our liver) begin to break down, leaving our livers more fragile and our bodies less energized. Science is backing a relatively new solution to this (literal) age-old problem.
Can C15:0 Help Your Liver?
It’s time to give our livers (and our entire bodies) a fighting chance in the battle of aging and decline. That chance is C15:0 (also called pentadecanoic acid), and a growing body of scientific evidence supports C15:0 as the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years.*†
C15:0 is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid found naturally in whole milk, butter, and some types of fish and plants. Because C15:0 is a saturated fatty acid, it’s not likely you’re getting much of it in your diet. Forty years ago, society began attacking dietary fats (both saturated and unsaturated) in an effort to boost our heart health. We now know that not all saturated fats are created equal. Not only did we not stop cardiovascular disease (especially among younger adults), but science now supports that removing all types of saturated fats from our diets may be contributing to the increase of conditions like:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular problems
- Liver diseases, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Clearly, we got something wrong, so what was it? Mounting evidence points to the fact that not all saturated fats are bad for us. In fact, science supports that odd-chain saturated fatty acids, like C15:0, may be beneficial for our liver health and our overall health.
Fatty15 has been shown to have direct liver-protecting activities, including:*
- Demonstrated ability to protect the liver against damage in relevant models
- 36+ dose-dependent benefits in human cell systems, including calming immune responses and decreasing tissue fibrosis relevant to liver health
- Protecting cell membranes, including liver cells, against oxidative damage
- As a PPAR-ɑ/δ agonist, regulating metabolism and calming liver immune responses
Here are just a few real customer testimonials on how fatty15 is helping to support their liver health:
"I subscribed to a 3 month supply of fatty15, hoping I would see some benefits. I took 1 pill a day for nearly 90 days and was hoping to see some real benefits but it wasn’t until I was halfway into my second 90 day order that I noticed a real difference, both in my energy and blood work. I have liver issues and my ALT, AST & ALP liver tests always showed my values at the high end of the range or a bit outside of it. The first labs I had done since starting fatty15 showed astounding results, especially my ALT, which dropped to 17. I never was even remotely close to this number and have to attribute it to fatty15 since I didn’t do anything different, always get my blood work at the same time of day, and always fast before. Thank you for this product, I am extremely pleased." - Gary M.
"This stuff fixed my liver!! My blood work just keeps getting better. I will take this forever." - Betsey
"Just had blood work done and my liver enzymes are normal! I just wanted to share this because wow. Just wow!" - A.A.
If you’re concerned that you can’t add C15:0 to your diet due to dietary restrictions or dairy allergies (or want to avoid whole-fat dairy products that contain much higher levels of the ‘bad’ even-chain saturated fatty acid — like C16:0), think again. C15:0 is available as a supplement in fatty15, the world's first and only pure powder C15:0 supplement. Fatty15 might just be the supplement your body (and liver) needs, and it’s easy for you to take.
- Fatty15 is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
- Fatty15 contains only one ingredient, FA15, a pure, powder form of C15:0.
- Fatty15 has no other ingredients like artificial colors or flavors.
- Fatty15 is vegan-friendly. No animal byproducts.
- Fatty15 is sustainable, right down the recycled package that ends up on your doorstep.
With fatty15, you now have the option to protect your health and age on your own terms.* Fatty15 can give your liver and entire body support to maintain health and wellness at the cellular level.*
Liver Health The Fatty Way
There’s no one supplement that will guarantee your liver health, but if you’re searching for a liver health formula that really works and offers additional health benefits, too, you’ve come to the right place.
Taking care of your liver is essential to your well-being, and it’s important to view liver health as a multifaceted task. Avoiding unhealthy activities, making sure you eat a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise, and taking a supplement are all ways to protect the liver and the human body.
For total body wellness, adding fatty15 to your health stack is one of the easiest and smartest decisions you can make for yourself. It will help support your body (including your liver) and give you the ability to age healthfully.
The effect of turmeric on lipid profile, malondialdehyde, liver echogenicity and enzymes among patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized double blind clinical trial | Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome.
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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