Liver Support Supplements: Should You Take Them?
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 health care 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 conversation 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 translate to accumulated fat on your liver, which can put you at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- 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 storage on your liver.
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoid illicit drugs. This goes without saying, but the use of illicit drugs, and the abuse of prescription drugs is dangerous to your liver.
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?
The use of natural supplements to benefit the liver is not new; supplements have been used to help support liver health for centuries. Some of the most popular liver supplements are:
- Milk thistle. Milk thistle 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.
- Artichoke leaf. The leaf of the artichoke plant is thought to help support proper liver function and help protect the health of the liver.
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 overall health. Scientific evidence is increasingly supporting benefits of C15:0 in your diet, including the following:*†
- C15:0 helps support immunity. As we age, our immunity loses its zen; basically, it becomes unbalanced. C15:0 naturally binds to receptors throughout your body that regulate immunity, helping to keep your immune system balanced and under control.
- C15:0 promotes a thriving metabolism. Metabolism affects more than just maintaining a healthy body weight. By regulating our metabolism, science supports that C15:0 can help maintain healthy glucose and cholesterol levels.
- C15:0 helps take care of red blood cells. Your red blood cells have a huge job; they deliver oxygen from your lungs to all the other parts of your body. When our cells age, they become more fragile and their functionality is compromised. By incorporating itself into red blood cell membranes, C15:0 can help red blood cells stay strong and function longer.
- C15:0 is a liver supporter. By protecting liver cells against injury and keeping your immune system under control, C15:0 can support healthy liver function. In fact, studies have shown that people with higher C15:0 levels are more likely to have healthier livers.
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.*
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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