The liver as a detoxifier
AS we have found out in the last couple of weeks, the liver is an indispensable organ in the body. The liver, being the major organ of detoxification in the body is responsible for reducing the toxic load in the body.
By so doing, the liver as an organ can be said to reduce the risk of diseases that the body is faced with. The liver itself, being confronted by such an amount of toxins and chemicals could become vulnerable to attacks by these same toxins and chemicals.
Some diseases that are peculiar to the liver may adversely affect the liver in its function, which may become less than optimum. The result is that the body is put at a higher risk of contracting one severe disease or the other. For these reasons, the liver is one organ that we must do everything to support and help in its functions. No effort should be spared to prevent those diseases that are peculiar to the liver so as not to hinder the function of the liver.
In last week Thursday’s edition of The Guardian Newspaper, I began by writing about the Fatty Liver Disease and to refresh your memory, this is what I had to say:
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
In this type of fatty liver disease, the ability of the liver to metabolise fat may have become compromised or there is excess production of fat cells. Excess fat in circulation is removed from the blood by the liver. There is secondarily an accumulation of fat in the liver cells.
Causes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
They include high blood cholesterol and hyperlipidemia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, rapid and excessive weight loss, genetic disorders and side effects of such drugs as aspirin, tetracycline, tamoxifen etc.
Symptoms of FLD
Fatty liver disease may be symptomless for a long time. However, in some cases, symptoms like fatigue, abdominal discomfort, loss of weight, loss of appetite and feeling sick have been experienced. In extreme cases, the liver may become inflamed and these symptoms will become more severe.
An inflamed liver describes a second type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is characterised by inflamed liver tissue, which ultimately become scarred leading to cirrhosis of the liver. Following cirrhosis of the liver are such complications as gastrointestinal bleeding, liver failure and cancer of the liver.
There are some diseases that are associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Common amongst them are diabetes and obesity and proper handling of both can remedy the situation. Loosing weight in a case of obesity has to be gradual and not sudden and fast. When it is gradual, the amount of fat released into the circulation will be controlled and would not cause more accumulation of fat in the liver cells.
Symptoms of NASH when cirrhosis has set in are those related to the complications of cirrhosis and these are oedema (swelling of the feet), ascitis (fluid collection in the abdomen), gastrointestinal bleeding and encephalopathy (mental disorder).
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a fairly common disease. A variant of this disease is the alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. When fatty liver disease is caused by alcohol, the wise thing to do to get rid of it is to stop drinking alcohol.
There seems to be an increase in the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its more serious counterpart, NASH and that being the case, thereby concomitant increase in the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and cancer. Obviously, when it gets to this stage, liver transplant will have to be considered or else death.
Management of NASH
A good diet, made up of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and oils that I had mentioned in the first two articles on this subject will prevent such damage to the liver and death to the individual. Also, the recommended supplements I had given will go a long way in keeping the liver in optimal working condition. As I mentioned earlier, controlled weight loss in an obese individual is also indicated. Indeed, regular exercise by everybody will reduce the risk of this quiet destroyer of the liver and the human being.