Essential nutrients for restoring liver function
by Dr. Paul Stallone —
The liver is an amazing organ that cannot be replaced. This vital gland aids in or carries out more than 500 functions within the body. With the liver doing so much to protect the body, it often takes heavy abuse. The right environment will encourage the liver to regenerate, detoxify and heal itself. However, certain diseases, excessive alcohol use, toxins, pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, and bacterial/ viral infections can cause hepatitis or inflammation of the liver, and chronic inflammation can lead to life-threatening liver complications.
While hepatitis means liver inflammation, it is also the name of a family of viral infections that target the liver — hepatitis A, B and C. All three share similar symptoms, but they are transmitted in different ways and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A generally improves on its own without treatment; however, both B and C can present a patient with long-term liver complications. Out of all three, hepatitis C can be the most life-threatening.
More than 100 diseases can target and damage the liver, interrupting how it produces hormones, synthesizes protein, stores glucogen and detoxifies the body. These diseases and conditions need to be identified by a physician. Numerous herbs, vitamins, minerals and supplements can be very effective for nursing a liver back to good health. Below are some nutrients that have shown to be powerful for supporting the liver.
Phosphatidylcholine (PC), a naturally occurring phospholipid molecule, is necessary for the composition and repair of cell membranes, making it essential for normal liver function. Countless studies have shown PC to be extremely useful in the prevention and treatment of many liver diseases. PC protects liver cells from viral damage, shrinks fibrosis (excessive fibrous connective tissue in an organ) and reduces cell death by decreasing oxidative stress. It also prevents cell death from chemical toxins, alcohol and drugs. PC not only reduces hepatitis activity, but it also can help reverse fatty liver disease.
Glutathione is considered the mother of all antioxidants and the master of detoxifying. It neutralizes free radicals, enhances the immune system and detoxifies the liver. Glutathione is the most critical and integral part of the detoxification process. Located throughout the body, it is concentrated in the liver, which orchestrates those nutrients that are to be absorbed and those toxins that need removal. Toxins stick to glutathione and are then carried out of the body via bile or urine. Without glutathione, toxins pile up and are reabsorbed.
Selenium aids in liver disease treatment by strengthening the immune system, improving tissue elasticity and protecting against cancer, which people with advanced liver disease are at higher risk for developing. Selenium also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is a potent antioxidant that helps defend liver tissue and cells from damage caused by free radicals. Selenium is also necessary for the liver to convert T4 into the active T3 form of the thyroid hormone.
These nutrients, along with several others like vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid and homeopathic liver extract, can all work together to protect, repair and rebuild the liver from advanced diseases. Many nutrients taken orally can be destroyed in the digestive tract. Therapeutic treatment is best administered using an intravenous treatment tailored by a knowledgeable physician. Patients with varied needs will require different strengths and nutrient pairing. Alternative medicine can be used conjunctively with pharmaceuticals to accomplish patient recovery.
In the past, conventionally prescribed treatment resulted in very serious side effects, coupled with minimal success. However, a recent FDA-approved drug called Solvadi has shown immense promise in blocking a specific protein needed by the hepatitis C virus to replicate. Solvadi, paired with alternative medicine, has been quite successful for hepatitis C patients. Pairing conventional medicine with alternative treatment not only works incredibly well for hepatitis C patients, but also for patients dealing with any mild to severe illnesses.
Paul Stallone, N.M.D., founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located in Scottsdale, Ariz. He combines natural, alternative and conventional treatments to best fit each patient’s needs. www.drstallone.com or 480-214-3922.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 5, October/November 2014.