How To Reduce Inflammation Of The Liver
The liver is an incredible organ in our body and it plays a major roll in our overall health. However, due to lifestyle choices, dietary choices, and even genetics, the liver can become inflamed and enlarged (this is called hepatomegaly), which can lead to major long term problems. Typically speaking, if you have an enlarged liver, this can be a sign of a much more serious issue at hand, like illness, disease, and degrading overall health. While it is best to work with your primary care physician to address this issue, there are a few things you can modify in your daily habits to improve liver health and avoid further degradation from inflammation. Let’s dig into how to reduce inflammation of the liver with different risk factors and prevention techniques.
What Does The Liver Do
As mentioned previously, in our opinion, the liver is an incredible human organ that helps with over 500 bodily functions. It is an essential organ, weighing more than 3 pounds, and is about the size of a football. It is the second largest organ in the human body, second to the skin (yes, your skin is an organ), and it holds over 13% of your body’s entire blood supply at one time. [R] Whatever you put in your body through your mouth or through the skin, such as food, medication, alcohol, drugs, or otherwise, will end up getting filtered through the liver at some point through the digestive process.
Often times you’ll hear people talking about a ‘liver detox’, but the liver doesn’t need your help detoxifying, it naturally does this on its own. It knows when to move toxins and waste from the blood stream into the urine and your stool. It also knows just when to keep nutrients in the body and release them into the blood stream, like vitamins, minerals, and even supplements. Additionally, the liver helps regulate blood sugar, optimize nutrient absorption from the food we eat, breaks down fats and removes waste, as well as provide blood during pregnancy to the fetus. [R] Again, incredible organ, but when we don’t have it or have proper health of our liver, you can see why our whole body suffers from it, especially an enlarged liver. Which brings us to our next point, understanding what inflammation of the liver is.
What Is Inflammation of The Liver
Inflammation of the liver is a sign of an underlying problem and can be caused by serious health issues such as liver disease, cancer, and heart problems. Inflammation of the liver is just what it sounds like, an inflammatory response where the liver becomes enlarged. While inflammation is a normal response in our bodies when something becomes injured, it can often be a good thing, because the body is able to send a host of white blood cells to the area to fight infection and help you heal. However, prolonged inflammation and systemic (full body) inflammation can actually take away from your health long term because the body is in a prolonged state of stress. If the liver becomes inflamed, often it is because the liver has been fighting something, and can no longer do so successfully, thus the inflammation.
Symptoms of Liver Inflammation
Sometimes there are symptoms and sometimes there aren’t when it comes to liver inflammation. If you do experience symptoms, some of the things that you can keep an eye out for are things like abdominal pain in the upper right side of the abdominal cavity, sort of next to your stomach. You may experience other things, like server fatigue, energy changes, nausea, and vomiting. [R]
Thinking back to the liver sifting through all the good and bad things that we put into our body, it would make sense that we wouldn’t feel very well if this organ isn’t able to do it’s job, right? Another common symptom of liver issues are yellowing of the skin and the eyes (which is called jaundice). If you experience any of these symptoms, or others, we absolutely recommend making an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of Liver Inflammation
If you’re experiencing liver inflammation it may be due to a variety of conditions and lifestyle habits. The severity of inflammation will also depend on what is causing the inflammation and whether or not it can be resolved/improved or if further, more serious action needs to be taken.
Some general causes of liver inflammation include (not limited to) [R]:
- Alcoholic/nonalcoholic fatter liver disease
- Amyloidosis (protein accumulation in the liver)
- Heart failure
- Hepatitis (A, B, or C)
- An obstruction of the gallbladder
Lifestyle habits are going to be major contributors to whether or not you develop inflammation of the liver. These are considered risk factors that contribute or take away from our overall health. Things that greatly affect the liver include things like alcoholism/binge drinking, overconsumption of dietary supplements, some herbal supplements like valerian root, viral, bacterial, or parasite infections, hepatitis, and poor eating habits (like excessive sugar and/or fat consumption). [R]
How To Reduce Inflammation Of The Liver
Preventing inflammation of the liver and keeping your body in tip top shape starts with what you’re putting in it. If you regularly drink, smoke, eat processed/fast foods, and don’t incorporate real foods and water into your diet, you’re automatically going to reduce the overall health and function of your body, specifically your liver. We recommend incorporating foods that reduce inflammation instead of causing it (such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, omega 3 fats, and whole grains). [R]
If you have to drink alcohol, have it in moderation, or if you can, cut it out altogether. If you’re taking things like vitamins, supplements, or medications, take the recommended dose and don’t over do it. Another way to reduce inflammation of the liver comes down to your overall weight, and if you’re overweight or obese, you’re going to put more pressure and stress on the liver, so keeping your weight in check can help with liver inflammation as well. Lastly, if you smoke, we recommend asking your physician on strategies to help you quit this habit.
Again, if you have severe inflammation of the liver or if you experience any symptoms, we recommend contacting your primary care physician as soon as possible to address the issue in a clinical setting.
How To Keep Your Liver Healthy
Keeping your liver healthy starts with what you put into your body. Liver disease is something you want to avoid at all cost, because it doesn’t just affect the liver, but the other organs as well, like the heart, kidneys, and the lungs. So what should you to when thinking about how to keep your liver healthy? Start with what you eat and drink. Eat real foods that are colorful and that come from the earth. Drink water regularly, don’t do drugs, keep alcohol to a minimum (if at all), and try to avoid illnesses like hepatitis. If you’re genetically predisposed to develop liver issues, then these daily behaviors become all that more important for you.
How To Reduce Inflammation Of Liver: In Conclusion
All in all, the liver is a crucial component and key to our overall health and function. Many other organs in our body are dependent on the function of our liver to filter and sift through both toxins and nutrients to keep us functioning in tip top shape. To avoid liver inflammation we recommend keeping risk factors down low, like not drinking alcohol, doing illicit drugs, not overdoing medication, and eating real, whole foods, that come from the earth and that are minimally processed. If you do suspect that you’re having liver issues or liver inflammation, you need to consult your physician as soon as possible.
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