Food and wine is man’s ticket to pure bliss. Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, boasts of his triumphs over a goblet of wine, biblical women lure tyrant kings to bed after intoxicating them with wine or has set free one’s country from slavery, world leaders have dissolved conflicts over a cling of glasses of wine. Wine is both beneficial and harmful to health if one will be indulging excessive glasses or bottles a day that can harm the liver. It is a known fact that liver is in danger zone if the person abuses it, just like a machine that keeps on running without lubrication, will strain surely its function and will rust at any time. One must be wary of sickness or disease that jeopardizes one’s health especially the liver because once it is affected, then everything follows in a domino effect. Self-preservation is the key to living a happy and healthy life.

Giving your liver the best care it deserves is a must. Our liver is so important because it plays a critical role, internally creating ripples of processes and collaboration among other organs of our body. It filters the blood that comes from your digestive tract before passing it along to the rest of your body and is responsible for more than 500 important functions like helping your blood clot, breaking down alcohol, chemicals, and other drugs, making glucose, a sugar that your body can use for a quick burst of energy, and at any given time your liver contains about 10 percent of your body’s total blood volume, and it filters 1.4 liters of blood per minute (1).

Top 7 Liver Health Supplements

1. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle, also known as Silymarin, is considered to be a potent supplement to cater liver diseases. It is, in fact, the most commonly used herbal supplement in the United States for liver problems available as capsules, powders, and extracts (2). Hepatitis C patients who used silymarin had fewer and milder symptoms of liver disease and somewhat better quality of life but no change in virus activity or liver inflammation, according to a study (3). It acts as a powerful liver cleanser by rebuilding liver cells, reducing liver damage and removing toxins from the body that are processed through the liver. The most common side effects include gastrointestinal upset, such as a mild laxative effect. When taken within the recommended dose range, however, it is thought to be effective and mostly free of allergic reactions (4).

2. Curcumin 

Curcumin, a purified extract of turmeric, is used medically for their purported anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects to treat digestive complaints including indigestion, diarrhea and liver diseases. The antioxidant effect of turmeric is so powerful that it may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins, hence, a good news for people who take strong drugs for diabetes or other health conditions that might hurt their liver with long-term use (5). A 2013 study on animals also suggests that turmeric may improve liver function by increasing detoxification ability (6). However, curcumin supplementation may adversely affect the liver in a small percentage of people as it stimulates the gall bladder and worsens pain during stone passage in people with gallbladder disease (7).

3. Dandelion Root

Dandelion root aids liver function by improving the body’s ability to remove toxins while also boosting the production of bile (8). A Korean study on mice reveals that it can be used to prevent damage to the liver caused by environmental toxins such as alcohol and chemicals (9). Because dandelion helps to clean the liver and gallbladder, it is believed to be important for the removal of toxins deposited in the liver from pharmaceutical drugs (10). In a 2017, researchers reveals that the polysaccharides in dandelion root may be beneficial to liver function due to their ability to protect mice against acetaminophen-induced liver injury (11). There may be side effects to this treatment. Taking dandelion by mouth might cause allergic reactions, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or heartburn in some people (12).

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a common problem. The increase of obesity epidemic triggers chronic liver disease in the Western world (13). However, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduces liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD (14). Reducing the amount of fat in the liver through changes in diet could help restore liver function and improve the health of those with NAFLD (15). Professor Christopher Byrne in his research presented that taking omega-3 supplements could be beneficial for some patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (16). Side effects may occur when supplementing with fish oil. This includes nausea, bloating, or burping. Though rare, others may experience allergic reaction to this drug inlcluding rash, itching or swelling, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing (17). Consult your doctor right away when these happen.

5. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a nutrient important to vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain and skin. It has antioxidant properties that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Several studies show that vitamin E might improve symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (18). A meta-analysis of five clinical trials reveals that vitamin E can significantly improve liver function in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) including non-alcoholic steatohepatisis (NASH) (19). Oral use of vitamin E might increase the risk of prostate cancer and may pose other serious risks, particularly at high doses and if you have other health conditions or have had a heart attack or stroke.

6. Selenium

Selenium is key for healing liver disease, reversing liver cirrhosis and healing hepatitis by acting as a detoxifying liver enzymes and by maintaining the glutathione antioxidant system (20). It is a powerful antioxidant, which heals liver tissue cells, and promotes tissue healing and elasticity, and has anti-inflammatory properties (21). Numerous studies point to reduced liver damage and lower incidence of cancer in subjects infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses when supplemental selenium was used (22). At normal doses, selenium does not usually have side effects but if taken otherwise, it may cause bad breath, fever, and nausea, as well as liver, kidney and heart problems and other symptoms and could cause death (23).

7. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system, hence, improve gut health. Today, a new study suggests probiotics can also improve liver health (24). Researchers reported in the December issue of Gastroenterology that a probiotic solution significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization for hepatic encephalopathy and markers of liver disease severity in patients with cirrhosis (25). They also help protect your liver from drug and alcohol induced damage, according to the report found in Men’s Health (26). When taking probiotics, some people experience gas, bloating, or diarrhea.

Conclusion

It is good to enjoy wine, but do it in moderation. To be cautious about our liver health, supplements may come in handy. A good diet and adding in supplements can provide the body a wide range of antioxidants and assistance in liver detoxification. However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements. Your health practitioner will guide you of the right supplement befitting to your needs.