Living with Liver Disease

Preventing liver disease from advancing to cirrhosis (permanent scarring of the liver) and liver cancer is the number one priority for those living with a chronic liver disease. Since cirrhosis is the third most common cause of death in Americans aged 45-65 years, the need to maintain liver health has never been more important. In addition, liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world. Although anyone could be at risk, the conditions rendering people most susceptible to cirrhosis or liver cancer include those with:

If you suspect or have already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, making liver wellness your priority gives you a better chance of living a long, healthy life.

Thus, being committed to liver wellness is more than just smart – it is a practice that is as close to the fountain of youth as realistically possible. Although there are seemingly countless ways to prioritize your liver’s health, the following five tips consistently rank among the top ways to preserve optimal liver function.

For people concerned with their longevity, to those with severe liver disease, to individuals who recognize the great number of toxins they are exposed to, the following five practices are essential for preserving their liver’s health:

  • Abstain from Alcohol and Cigarettes – Whether partaking in these substances on occasion, calling either one a habit or stuck in an addiction to drinking or smoking, alcohol and cigarettes seriously harm the liver. If liver protection is on your agenda, completely eliminating alcohol and cigarettes is the single most important change you can make. 
  • Daily Exercise – Keeping the liver in shape is among the numerous health reasons for daily exercise. Exercise causes perspiration, urine generation and gut stimulation, all of which help clear out waste. Besides helping to remove toxins from the body, exercise burns fat. Fatty liver disease affects an estimated one third of American adults, and daily exercise can prevent fat from accumulating in and causing damage to the liver.
  • Take Milk Thistle – An herb proven to be safe and effective for supporting the liver’s health, milk thistle is included in every professional liver health regimen. For those with a fatty liver, milk thistle is associated with a decline in liver enzyme markers that indicate reversal of this condition. In addition, milk thistle has repeatedly shown itself to reduce liver inflammation, prevent scar tissue formation in the liver and increase the rate of liver cell regeneration.
  • Get Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations – For the millions of people who already have some form of chronic liver disease, infection with the highly contagious Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B viruses is especially dangerous. These infections of the liver are much more severe in those with existing liver damage. Thankfully, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B can be prevented by getting vaccinated for each virus.
  • Load Up on Antioxidants – Antioxidants protect against tissue damage, especially in the liver. From the diet, antioxidants are frequently found in brightly-colored and green fruit and vegetables. Many who want to support their liver’s longevity amplify their antioxidant resources by supplementing with N-Acetyl Cysteine or Alpha R-Lipoic Acid. Both of these amino acids boost glutathione levels, the body’s most potent antioxidant.

Eliminating alcohol and cigarettes, taking milk thistle, getting daily exercise, being vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B and boosting antioxidant intake are the most powerful strategies to include in any liver wellness plan.

About the Author

Stephen Holt, MD, PhD, FACP

Stephen Holt, M.D. is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine NYCPM (Emerite) and a medical practitioner in New York State. He has published many peer-review papers in medicine and he is a best-selling author with more than twenty books in national and international distribution. He has received many awards for teaching and research. Dr. Holt is a frequent lecturer at scientific meetings and healthcare facilities throughout the world. He is a best selling author and the founder of the Holt Institute of Medicine.

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