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Supporting Metabolism to Help Liver-Related Fatigue


For anyone with compromised liver function, healthfully raising your metabolic rate can reinstate adequate energy levels.

The liver is instrumental in maintaining the body’s metabolic rate. Because of the liver’s role in metabolism – and thus energy creation – those with a compromised liver often struggle with having subpar energy levels. For affected individuals, several natural substances and lifestyle adjustments can help ease fatigue by supporting a healthy metabolism.

There are numerous reasons explaining why someone could be fatigued, ranging from stress, poor diet and inactivity to medications, depression and disease. Determining why a person is tired can be straightforward, a mysterious puzzle or, most likely, a little bit of both. Regardless, boosting metabolism to fortify energy levels is a logical approach for many fatigue sufferers. For people whose fatigue is linked to impaired liver function, supporting metabolism may be the strategy that leads to their recovery – and it can be accomplished without depending on a physician’s prescription pad.

About Metabolism
Involving a complex network of hormones and enzymes, metabolism is the process the body uses to convert food into energy. According to Robert Yanagisawa, MD, director of the Medically Supervised Weight Management Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, “The process of metabolism establishes the rate at which we burn our calories and, ultimately, how quickly we gain weight or how easily we lose it.” However, our metabolic rate (the speed at which chemical reactions occur) controls much more than weight; it also determines our fuel supply. Besides increasing how quickly we can burn calories, raising the metabolic rate also increases energy levels.

Metabolism and the Liver
Since carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism occur predominantly in the liver, this organ’s health has a significant impact on the metabolic rate. In addition, the liver’s role of processing fat and eliminating waste from the body ties it closely to the digestive system. This relationship further highlights the metabolic link between the liver and energy levels:

•    A lot of energy is needed to digest food.
•    A healthy liver fosters a highly functioning digestive system.
•    A highly functioning digestive system will create more energy.

While some healthcare practitioners advocate supporting the liver’s function to boost metabolism, this practice is especially valuable to individuals with liver disease or diminished liver function.

Natural Metabolism Support
Mostly for the purpose of weight loss, boosting metabolism has earned a dubious reputation. This is because many weight loss pills rely on high dosages of stimulants to increase the speed of chemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, excessive quantities of “stimulants” can cause the cardiovascular system to go into overdrive – a consequence with potentially serious (and even fatal) consequences. Luckily, there is a safe and effective route for supporting a healthy metabolism.

Before attempting to increase your metabolic rate, be sure to consult with a physician to rule out hypothyroidism (or other metabolic disorder) and discuss metabolism boosting options. Several natural substances known to safely raise metabolism indirectly include:

•    Milk Thistle – Used to strengthen liver cells from damage, milk thistle’s support of liver health indirectly aids the energy derived from carbohydrate, liver and fat metabolism.

•    Vitamin B-12 – This vitamin is a coenzyme that is necessary to metabolize fats and carbohydrates.

•    Vitamin C and L-Carnitine – Vitamin C is needed to make carnitine, a molecule that helps transport fat into energy-producing parts of the cell known as mitochondria. Aiding this transport is another strategy to boost metabolic rate.

•    Niacinamide – A form of Vitamin B3, niacinamide forms part of the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). Involved in producing energy for the body’s cells, these enzymes help speed up certain biochemical reactions.

Lifestyle Practices for a Healthy Metabolism
Finding a supplement that includes the natural substances listed above can have a favorable impact on your metabolism, but reducing fatigue healthfully requires a commitment to several additional practices. These include:

•    Eat Breakfast – Skipping “the most important meal of the day” slows down metabolism by making the body think it is starving. This occurs when a person goes 8 to 10 hours without eating.

•    Exercise – Getting enough aerobic exercise boosts a person’s metabolic rate. If the exercise occurs in the morning, metabolism is up for the entire day.

•    Drink Water – Since water is needed for many metabolic chemical reactions to occur, consuming eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day helps a person’s metabolism be most efficient.

•    Sleep Well – When you sleep, your body’s cells are repaired. A lack of sleep will prevent adequate repair, hampering the chemical reactions from performing optimally the next day.

•    Don’t Drink – Drinking alcohol is a surefire path to liver cell destruction. Although some liver cells may recover, others may not – and this reduction in functioning liver cells will interfere with the liver’s ability to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

More than a passing wave of tiredness, fatigue is a major detractor from a person’s quality of life. The liver secures a prominent role in creating energy via metabolism. As such, those with liver issues who struggle with fatigue are encouraged to consider the natural substances and lifestyle practices depicted for natural metabolic support., Metabolic Functions of the Liver, Richard Bowen, Hypertexts for Biomedical Sciences, Retrieved September 8, 2012,, 2012., Twelve Ways to Revive and Boost Your Metabolism, Mary Shomon, Retrieved September 5, 2012,, 2012., Vitamins That Boost Your Metabolism, H.V. Long, Retrieved September 9, 2012, LoveToKnow Corp, 2012., Boost Your Metabolism After 40, Retrieved September 9, 2012, ZOCO1, LLC, 2012., What Herbs are Best for Increasing Metabolism?, Retrieved September 5, 2012, Demand Media, Inc., 2012., The Truth About Metabolism, Madeline Vann, MPH, Retrieved September 9, 2012, Everyday Health, Inc., 2012., Is Niacinamide the Same as Niacin?, Ruth Coleman, Retrieved September 9, 2012, Demand Media, Inc., 2012., Vitamins & Supplements for Energy & Metabolism, Maura Banar, Retrieved September 9, 2012, Demand Media, Inc., 2012., Does Vitamin C Speed Up Metabolism?, Adam Cloe, Retrieved September 9, 2012, Demand Media, Inc., 2012.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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