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Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Liver

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, located in the upper right part of the abdominal cavity. The liver; has many vital functions such as storage of vitamins and minerals, production of blood coagulation factors, enzyme and protein synthesis, storage of fat and sugar, removal of alcohol, drugs, and toxic substances from the body. Because of all these, a healthy liver is needed for a healthy life.

The liver undertakes many critical vital functions. The liver has main parts: synthesizing proteins and fats, storing carbohydrates and fats, producing bile, and storing iron and vitamins such as  A, D, E, K. Nutrition is the set of integrated processes in which cells, tissues, organs, and the whole body receive energy and nutrients to maintain standard structure and perform necessary functions.

When we look at the frequently encountered problems today, it is observed that liver disorders occur due to not eating right. More well-structured approaches are being taken to establish safe and consistent nutritional diagnoses, especially in patients with liver disease. Some issues should be considered throughout life to protect liver health. Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes and unnecessary drug use, exercising regularly, staying away from stress, having regular health checks, and eating a healthy diet are among these. In particular, implementing an unhealthy eating plan causes fatigue and lubrication of the liver and damages the organ. Therefore, it is essential to take care of liver health to lead a healthy life.

Importance of Liver 

The importance of the liver in terms of human health does not end with counting; therefore, it is imperative to have a healthy liver. The liver has hundreds of functions in the human body. Some of those:

  • Making the food we have taken usable by the body
  • Breaking down the molecules in the blood coming from the digestive system and turning them into molecules can be used and stored in the body.
  • Sending valuable molecules from the digestive system to other cells through the blood
  • Sending useless molecules to the kidneys.
  • Regulating fat, protein, and sugar metabolism

The main task of the liver is to process nutrients taken through the blood.

Liver Diseases

Damage to the liver, which has many functions in the body, causes various diseases. However, the symptoms of these disorders may not manifest themselves at the initial stage. To prevent diseases, it is essential to diagnose the condition before it progresses.

liver health

The liver has a remarkable capacity to regenerate itself after many diseases. But in some cases, the liver can be irreversibly damaged. This situation can result from inherited abnormalities, excessive alcohol and drug use, cancer, or infectious viruses that cause hepatitis (liver inflammation). The most common liver diseases are as follows:

  • Alcohol-induced fatty liver
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Acute and chronic viral hepatitis
  • Toxic hepatitis
  • Liver cysts
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer

Symptoms

When liver disease is mentioned, cirrhosis and viral hepatitis come to mind first. Although the symptoms may vary according to the condition, the common symptoms of liver diseases are as follows. 

  • Jaundice: It first starts in the whites of the eyes and then appears on the skin. The reason is the accumulation of bilirubin in the skin that cannot be excreted with bile. 
  • Abdominal pain and swelling of the abdomen (accumulation of fluid called ascites) 
  • Edema of the Legs and Ankles (decreased albumin synthesis, hypoalbuminemia) 
  • Itching on the skin: In the patient with jaundice, bile salts also accumulate on the skin. This causes a very annoying itching. The patient’s body is full of itching marks. 
  • Dark, Tea-Colored Urine: Increased (accumulated) bilirubin in the blood is excreted in the urine and stains the urine red. 
  • Pale Stool Color: The substance that gives stool its color is bilirubin. When bilirubin cannot be excreted with bile, the color of the stool becomes lighter. 
  • Blood in the stool (Gastrointestinal System Bleeding): Clotting factors cannot be produced enough in liver diseases. Therefore, there is a tendency to bleed all over the body. Bleeding in the stool can be fresh blood (hematochezia) or digested blood (melena). 
  • Chronic Fatigue 
  • Nausea or Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Ecchymosis (bruising, bruises) occurs quickly on the body.
  • Detection of Liver Disease 

Liver Function Tests are a group of biochemistry tests to understand the health status of the liver. It is used to diagnose liver diseases also in the follow-up of liver diseases (e.g. hepatitis). The response of the disease to treatment and the prognosis of the disease is monitored. It is also essential to have normal liver function tests when drugs that are metabolized by the liver should be used. The most commonly performed blood tests are: 

  • Serum Bilirubin
  • Serum Albumin 
  • Serum Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) 
  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) 
  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) 
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) 
  • Gamma-glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT) 
  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) 
  • Mitochondrial Antibodies (AMA) 

Liver disease can be detected by liver function tests, which include urinalysis along with blood tests. These tests measure protein or enzyme levels in the blood or urine to determine how well the liver functions, including bilirubin clearance, protein production, and many other values.

What You Can Do / What Precautions You Can Take to Keep Your Liver Healthy

Protecting liver health is of great importance in terms of lifespan and quality. The most basic way to keep the liver healthy is to pay attention to all the foods consumed and the daily diet. Avoiding alcohol is one of the most significant precautions to take. Regular alcohol consumption directly damages the liver, and damage that progresses over the years can lead to liver cirrhosis or cancer development.

To protect liver health :

  • Alcohol consumption should be stopped.
  • Since obesity will cause fatty liver, it should be kept at an ideal weight. To lose weight, changes should be made in the diet. For this, emphasis should be placed on a Mediterranean-type diet. Sugar-rich foods, fast food products, foods containing saturated fat should be reduced. Bread, desserts, rice, pasta, french fries, fatty sauces, fatty meats, and sugary drinks should be avoided or consumed as little as possible.
  • It should be fed with a nutrient-rich diet that does not contain excessive calories and is low in saturated and trans fats.
  • Foods with additives such as salami, sausage, fatty fries, ready-made fruit juices and fast food should be avoided.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes a day at least four days a week
  • If you have diabetes, insulin resistance, and cholesterol disease, the given diet and treatments should be followed.
  • Unnecessary antibiotics, painkillers, and herbal treatments should not be used.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is one of the vaccines made in childhood. Individuals who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis B should be vaccinated.
  • Since viral hepatitis diseases are transmitted by blood and sexual intercourse; avoid using a common toothbrush and razor blade and having unprotected sexual intercourse.

How can urine provide information about the Liver?

The liver metabolizes harmful substances and is responsible for transporting the by-products formed in the liver to the bile or blood. After the products come to the bile, they enter the intestine and leave the body in feces. On the other hand, Blood by-products are filtered by the kidneys and leave the body in the form of urine. Any problem with all this physiological flow can cause biomarkers such as bilirubin and urobilinogen in the urine, indicating liver disease. It is recommended that these tests be done when signs of liver disease begin to appear. If bilirubin and urobilinogen are detected in the urine, it may indicate a problem with the liver. Color changes in the urine may be a sign that there may be a problem in the liver. For example, in liver and gallbladder diseases, the urine is orange, and the stool is yellowish. There is also yellowing on the skin of the patients. When faced with such a situation, it is necessary to see a specialist doctor. All liver function tests are usually evaluated together to diagnose the disease.

How does Vivoo measure and track liver function? 

Urine is a significant health indicator for many diseases, including those that problems in our livers can cause. The liver is also a secretory gland. The liver, which can both expand and renew itself, undertakes many critical vital functions. However, if the liver is damaged, serious problems can occur in the body. 

Vivoo’s liver parameter measures the level of bilirubin in the urine. In addition, low bilirubin may occur due to oxygen deficiency, and some medications. On the other hand, the causes of elevated bilirubin levels may be factors such as anemia, cirrhosis, blood transfusion reaction, viral hepatitis, reaction to drugs and alcohol-related liver diseases, gallstones, along diseases that cause decreased liver functions.

Related: Vivoo Liver Box

liver box

What Does Vivoo Measure?

Urine tests can measure the level of bilirubin in the urine. Bilirubin is a substance released during the body’s normal process of breaking down red blood cells and is found in bile, which helps the liver to digest food. If the liver is healthy, excess bilirubin will be removed from the body. Still, if your liver is damaged and unhealthy, bilirubin can leak into the blood and urine. Bilirubin is the urine can be a sign of liver disease.

Vivoo measures the level of bilirubin in your urine to monitor liver function. It checks for potential risks that may affect the optimal condition of the liver and provides nutritional advice.

What does the presence of bilirubin in urine indicate?

Bilirubin is a yellowish substance that is produced during the body’s process of breaking down red blood cells. This substance is found in the liver and is normally excreted from the body during digestion. If the liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak into the blood and urine. Bilirubin is the urine can be a sign of liver disease. In this case, the bilirubin test is applied to measure the amount of bilirubin in the blood or urine.

High bilirubin levels occur when too much bilirubin is produced (usually due to increased hemolysis) or when the liver does not have the capacity to remove bilirubin in a timely and adequate manner due to liver diseases such as biliary obstruction, cirrhosis, acute hepatitis, or inherited problems in bilirubin metabolism.

A Nutritious Path to a Healthy Liver

Our liver is like a battery- it helps power our body by storing and releasing energy when we need it. The liver converts food into the chemicals important for life and removes toxins from the blood.  An optimal diet for a healthy liver is balanced nutritiously with protein, fat, and carbohydrates and filled with fruit and veggies. Following a nutritious diet can lead to a healthy liver.

Significance. Purpose. Effect.

The liver is the largest and hardest-working organ in the body. It is found beneath the diaphragm, nestled in the upper right part of the abdomen. Blood leaving the stomach and intestines for the rest of the body must first pass through the liver. Here we can see the liver function as the body’s refinery.  The liver processes the blood, breaking down the nutrients and absorbed drugs into forms that the body can easily use. 

The liver also makes bile, a green-yellow fluid that is essential for digestion.  The gallbladder stores the bile and releases it into the intestine after eating.  

Other functions of the liver are: carrying away waste and breaking down fats in the small intestine, producing proteins and cholesterol, converting excess glucose into glycogen for storage, regulating blood levels of amino acids, storing iron, clearing the blood of drugs and bacteria, and regulating blood clotting. If any of these functions go wrong, illness can occur.

water for healthy liver

Significance of Nutrition to a Healthy Liver

Nutrition and liver go hand in hand and work together to get things done. One example is when the intestine absolves carbohydrates and is transported through blood vessels into the liver.  There, they are converted into glycogen and stored.  The liver breaks down this stored glycogen between meals, releasing sugar into the blood for quick energy and lowering blood sugar.  This process occurs so that we can have balanced energy throughout our day.

A second great example is a protein. Food proteins are broken down in the small intestine and turned into amino acids through the liver. The liver uses amino acids to make body proteins- these contribute to the strength and beauty of our hair, nails, bones, and muscles. A toxic metabolic product known as ammonia is produced during the breakdown of body proteins. The liver detoxifies this toxin, makes it into urea, and is removed from the body through the kidneys.

Related: Lifestyle Factors That Affect Your Liver Health

Liver Friendly Foods 

In addition to fruits and vegetables being part of a healthy liver plan, some other natural foods help to protect liver health like fibrous foods such as lentils and whole grains, healthy amounts of beverages derived from natural food sources like coffee and tea.  Regular consumption of these foods and beverages nurtures healthy liver function. 

healthy liver

Let’s Take a Closer Look at Popular Liver Friendly Foods

Grapefruit:  The antioxidants in grapefruit protect the liver by helping reduce inflammation and increase its protective mechanisms.

Berries:  Berries are high in antioxidants, which help protect the liver from damage.

Grapes: Both the seed and fruit contain a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol- especially found in red and purple grapes. Resveratrol provides protection against many diseases, especially liver cancer and liver inflammation. 

Nuts:  Nut intake associated with improved liver enzyme levels in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Conversely, low nut intake is related to a higher risk of developing the disease.

Fatty Fish:  Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in protecting cardiovascular health, balancing cholesterol, preventing inflammation, and protecting liver health. Liver health-conscious should consume fatty fish at least two days a week to get enough omega 3 fatty acids into the body.

Artichoke: The component called “Ciaran” found in artichokes supports the working order of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, and the kidneys and intestines. Artichoke speeds up the flow of bile. In this way, it prevents blockages in the bile duct and protects against gallbladder diseases.  At the same time, it facilitates digestion, prevents indigestion, and increases urea in the kidneys to create a diuretic effect. 

Coffee: Coffee increases antioxidant levels in the liver, all while decreasing inflammation. It also helps lower the risk of developing liver disease, cancer, and fatty liver.

Tea:  Black and green tea may help improve enzyme and fat levels in the liver.

coffee for healthy liver

Foods the Liver Can Live Without

Our liver thrives on nutrients for support throughout its unresting work.  While fruit and vegetables are the food of choice to provide the nutrients needed for the liver to be healthy and function, things like processed food and refined sugars can do just the opposite and damage the liver.

Now that we know some of the best liver-friendly foods, let’s take a look at popular foods that the liver can live without:

  • Sugar, such as candy, cookies, sodas, and fruit juices should be consumed in moderation.

High blood sugar increases the amount of fat buildup in the liver.

  • Fried foods, such as french fries, fast food, nuggets, onion rings are super high in saturated fats and should be consumed occasionally or avoided altogether.  

Foods higher in saturated fats make it hard for the liver to work and do its jobs.

  • Alcohol.  Consuming alcohol regularly can lead to serious liver damage.

Alcohol is removed from the body through the liver.  The liver breaks the alcohol down into substances that can be removed.  However, the substances are more dangerous than the alcohol itself.  Following moderate alcohol consumption guidelines can prevent liver damage.

  • Salt must be consumed minimally. 

Too much sodium can cause reactions that lead to liver fibrosis.

  • Refined carbohydrates like white bread, rice, and pasta must be consumed in moderation. 

Due to a lack of fiber, this carb type is known to raise blood sugar.

  • Meat and meat products should be consumed occasionally.

Red meat and processed meats such as deli meats have many negative effects on the liver, especially high in saturated fat.  Overconsumption of these food products can lead to serious problems, specifically insulin resistance and fatty liver disease.

Vivoo Liver Box

The Vivoo Liver Box is used to track liver health and monitor the state of liver function. This is done by measuring the level of bilirubin in the urine and from the results, establishing what the state of the liver is and what should be done, if anything, to improve liver health.

The Importance of the Liver

The liver is one of the most important, and largest organs in the human body. It is also the body’s heaviest organ and is responsible for vital functions. For example, the liver makes bile, builds proteins, processes nutrients, metabolizes drugs, and gets rid of toxins. It has other vital functions like breaking down fat and producing cholesterol, boosting immunity, and converting glucose to glycogen. Let’s look at these functions in a little more detail:

Building Proteins

The liver builds different kinds of proteins; like the type of protein responsible for clotting of the blood in the body.

Processing Nutrients from Food

The nutrients we digest are processed in the liver, according to the body’s needs, while some are stored in the form of energy.

Getting Rid of Toxins

All blood flows through the liver, and while this happens, the liver metabolizes all of the toxins in the blood, such as proteins, damaged cells, and old hormones.

Related: 5 Ways to Detoxify Your Body

Making Bile

The liver produces bile which is necessary to digest food. After its production, it is stored in a sac known as the gallbladder.

Liver Diseases

Liver diseases are all conditions that affect the liver. They may develop for various reasons, but they are all harmful and will lead to a deterioration in liver function. Since the liver is a highly vital part of the body and has a critical function, it is a life-threatening situation when or if it becomes diseased.

Symptoms

There may not always be visible signs and symptoms, and sometimes, these symptoms may be different depending on the cause. However, if there are signs and symptoms, then these general symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Chronic Weakness and Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite

Risk Factors of Liver Diseases

Certain factors increase the likelihood of developing certain liver diseases.  The most well-known risk factor is heavy drinking.

Some risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Getting piercings or tattoos using non-sterile needles
  • Exposure to pesticides or toxins
  • Taking herbs or supplements, especially in large amounts
  • Having a family history of liver disease

Detection of Liver Disease 

Liver disease can be detected through liver function tests, either via blood tests or urinalysis. These tests measure protein or enzyme levels in the blood or urine, to ascertain how well the liver functions are being carried out, which include: clearing bilirubin, producing protein, and others. 

How can urine provide information about the liver?

The liver metabolizes harmful substances. The by-products formed here are thrown into bile or blood. Bile by-products enter the intestine and leave the body in the form of feces. Blood by-products are filtered by the kidneys and leave the body in the form of urine. Any problem with all this physiological flow can cause changes in the biomarkers such as bilirubin and urobilinogen in the urine, indicating liver disease.

How does Vivoo measure and monitor liver function?

Vivoo measures the level of bilirubin in your urine to monitor liver function. It controls potential risks that could affect the optimal function of the liver and provides nutritional advice.

liver box

What does the presence of bilirubin in urine indicate?

Bilirubin is found in bile fluid which helps digest foods under the liver’s control. If your liver is healthy, it will excrete most of the bilirubin out with your feces. However, if your liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak into the blood and urine. Bilirubin in the urine can be a symptom of liver disease.

Lifestyle Factors That Affect Your Liver Health

Your liver is one of the most vital organs in your body. The liver is only found in vertebrates and is necessary for digestion and growth. Your liver is crucial in living a healthy life, so much so, if you have a bad liver you will likely need a transplant or your life could be at risk. However, many people don’t take the time to understand how different organs in their bodywork. In fact, it’s very common for people to now know much about what is going on in their body, which can put them at serious risk. If you are unfamiliar with liver health, its functions, and what affects it, this post will act as a brief guide for what you need to know.

Understanding the Liver

It’s crucial that you know how different organs in your bodywork and how to keep them healthy. By understanding the basic functions of organs, you will be able to preserve your health while also knowing when something could be going wrong. It’s important to understand the liver no matter your age, but as you get older, you become more at risk for liver disease and issues having to do with the liver.

For example, an expert from a company that handles in-home senior care pointed out that seniors over the age of 65 who have been diagnosed with a Hepatitis C viral infection (HCV) are at a higher risk of liver fibrosis than a younger adult who was diagnosed with an HCV infection. This is because HCV infection causes liver inflammation. With that being said, here are some things you should know about your liver.

liver health

Where Is the Liver Located in the Body

The liver is located in the upper right abdomen in the human body, under the diaphragm, and overlies the gallbladder. This vital organ is reddish-brown and is wedge-shaped. The liver typically weighs about 3.3lbs and is connected to two large blood vessels.

What are the Duties of the Liver?

One can not live without his or her liver this is due to its crucial functions in the human body. The liver is an accessory digestive organ that produces bile and alkaline fluid that contains cholesterol and bile acids which help breakdown fat in the human body. A majority of the duties of the liver are carried out by the liver cells. The liver is estimated to be a part of up to 500 functions within the body. The most notable being:

  • Blood supply
  • Biliary Flow
  • Carbohydrate, protein, amino acid, and lipid metabolism
  • Lymph production
  • Blood reservoir
  • Breakdown of insulin and hormones

What Affects Your Liver Health?

Because your liver is so crucial to living a healthy life, it’s important that you know what can affect it. This is particularly important when it comes to liver disease. Though the liver disease is often inherited, it can also be caused by a number of other outside factors, such as the few listed below.

Healthy Liver Foods

Your Diet is Key

Overall, your diet is key in living quality and long life; this is especially true when it comes to the liver. A balanced diet is best when it comes to maintaining a healthy liver. A balanced diet should typically include:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, and eggs
  • Unsaturated fats and oils
  • Foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt and kefir
  • Beans
  • Starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, and wholegrain pasta

 Liver-Friendly Foods to Consider

Some specific foods to try to incorporate into your diet in regards to your liver include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Grapefruit
  • Blueberries and cranberries
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish

Foods that Negatively Impact the Liver Health

When it comes to food that can negatively impact your liver, you should do your best to avoid the following:

  • Red meat
  • White bread/pasta
  • Salt
  • Fried food
  • Food that contains added sugar
  • Soda

Certain Cooking Methods

Preserving your liver health when it comes to diet is mostly controlled by the types of foods you are ingesting, so when it comes to cooking methods, it’s best to simply choose the healthiest option. A few cooking methods to try in order to preserve your liver and overall health include:

  • Cook with olive oil
  • Eating raw vegetables
  • Grilling rather than baking
  • Broiling your meat
  • Steaming veggies and fish

Healthy Food

Your Level of Activity

Obesity is one of the main causes of liver disease; so in addition to eating a well-balanced diet, one must make it a point to stay as active as possible to avoid obesity. Likewise, obesity and fatty liver disease are also associated with hypertension and high cholesterol.

Staying active will improve your overall quality and longevity of life as you will also avoid diabetes, heart disease, and many other ailments that are associated with being overweight.

liver friendly nutritious foods

Your Social Behavior

Alcohol consumption is also strongly associated with liver disease, and heavy alcohol consumption can damage the liver significantly. Because the liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a time, when someone frequently has too much to drink, the liver cells begin to break down. It’s also important to know that you should not combine any medications with alcohol as this can severely damage the liver as well.

Smoking can also cause severe damage to the liver as toxic chemicals cause inflammation and eventual cirrhosis.

The Use of External Drugs and Supplements

Certain medications, both over the counter and prescribed, can cause toxic liver disease which can be life-threatening. To prevent this, follow the advice given by your doctor. Some drugs that have been known to cause liver damage include:

  • Antifungal drugs
  • Arthritis drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Acetaminophen
  • Antiviral drugs

It’s important to also point out that certain supplements can also damage the liver. If you need to take any of them, you should follow your doctor’s control and advice.

Preserve Your Liver Health and Function

In order to live your life to the absolute fullest, you must make it a point to take care of your entire body, both internally and externally. After reading this post, hopefully, you have a better understanding of your liver and its function. Be sure to watch out for some of the signs of liver disease or damage, such as:

  • Fever
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Jaundice
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Weight loss
  • White or gray stool
  • Nausea
  • No appetite

Being aware of these common symptoms could potentially save your life, or someone you love’s life. Be proactive and do all that you can to protect your liver and your overall health and wellness.

Related: 5 Ways to Detoxify Your Body