6 Strategies to Improve Liver Function and Help You Lose Weight

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Ginger Root Tea for Liver Health

Turmeric Eases Stress and Reduces Liver Fat


Responsible for the yellow color in curry, turmeric helps protect your liver from excessive fat and excessive stress.

Turmeric, the bright yellow-colored spice that is common to Indian and Asian cuisine, is a powerful, healing herb. Although turmeric has been touted as a natural remedy for many different types of health ailments, it is especially valuable to those who are vulnerable to stress and a fatty liver.


Possibly one of the healthiest spices in the world, turmeric is obtained through boiling and drying the roots and rhizomes of the Curcuma longa plant. Curcumin is the primary substance in turmeric that is responsible for this yellow herb’s health-promoting properties. When considering turmeric supplementation, experts advise turmeric containing 95 percent curcumin because this is the highest curcumin content available.

Fatty Liver

Affecting approximately one-third of American adults, fatty liver disease is an increasingly common condition where excessive fat builds up in the cells of the liver. A fatty liver is assumed when fat cells make up 5 to 10 percent of the total weight of this organ.

Many factors contribute to fatty liver disease; however, alcohol abuse, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels and obesity significantly raise the risk. In its earliest stage, fatty liver disease is reversible with a commitment to diet and exercise. For those needing extra help, herbs like turmeric lend additional support.

Turmeric and Liver Health

According to a study published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Food Science, turmeric supplementation helps prevent high cholesterol levels in the blood and reduces the risk of fatty liver disease by regulating the enzymes responsible for cholesterol metabolism.

Experts suggest several mechanisms explaining turmeric’s favorable impact on the liver:

  • Likely due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, curcumin decreases the amounts of molecules that promote liver damage and fibrosis. These molecules include bilirubin, transpeptidase, transforming growth factors and aspartate aminotransferase.
  • Curcumin activates apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the liver stellate cells that cause liver fibrosis.
  • Curcumin reduces oxidative stress by increasing the amounts of glutathione in the cells. Glutathione is a compound that combats reactive oxygen species in the tissues, preventing them from causing damage. A compromised liver has difficulty creating glutathione on its own. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) can increase glutathione levels and is crucial for those with liver concerns.
  • Curcumin stimulates bile production and flow, helping to metabolize and eliminate fat.

Stress and the Liver

The mind and body are intricately entwined. Unfortunately, stress causes physiological changes that impact the health of the liver. During stress, natural killer cells (NKT) are expanded in the liver and contribute to liver cell death and the worsening of liver disease. In addition, stress has been found to impair blood flow to the liver and exacerbate liver inflammation. Thus, anyone with a fatty liver is at additional risk of liver damage when under substantial, unrelenting stress.

Stress and Turmeric

In a study published in the December 2015 issue of Archives of Animal Nutrition, researchers examined the effect of turmeric on the livers of cows.

Details on this study are as follows:

  • Since many conventional feedlots are crowded and dirty, cows are under a great deal of stress.
  • A major stress hormone in the liver was significantly reduced in the group of cows fed a turmeric mixture.
  • The researchers also found that the cows fed turmeric had a reduction in irritation markers that reduced fatty liver risk.

Emotional Well-Being

Besides aiding liver health, curcumin appears to impact emotional well-being. Researchers have determined that curcumin enhances brain chemicals such as noradrenalin and serotonin, and increases the production of dopamine. These normal chemicals in our body are known mood elevators.

In a 2006 study, the behavior patterns and elevated cortisol levels in chronically stressed rats were reversed by chronic curcumin administration. Adding further motivation for turmeric supplementation, the recognition that curcumin lowers cortisol levels (cortisol is known as the stress hormone) holds another benefit to those with liver concerns. Cortisol reduction also helps reduce abdominal fat accumulation, an indicator for fatty liver disease.

Turmeric Supplements

Choosing a curried entrée for dinner is one way to maximize turmeric’s healing potential for a stressed and fatty liver, but there are stronger choices available. Supplying your body with a steady, high dosage of curcumin is the best way to profit from this herb’s value to the liver.

Four turmeric supplement examples include:

  1. Milk Thistle with Artichoke & Turmeric – Paired with two other known liver-supportive herbs, this formula contains turmeric standardized to 95 percent curcumin. This is a great formula to help fortify a liver burdened with excess fat and stress.
  2. Turmeric 95 – Standardized to contain 95 percent curcumin as well, Turmeric 95 is combined with Bioperine for 20x the absorption than standard turmeric supplements. This provides you with a more potent, beneficial product.
  3. LiverSupport & Detox – Besides turmeric, this formula contains milk thistle, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and various liver cleansing herbs designed to help the liver with detoxification. The turmeric in this formula is standardized to 95 percent curcumin, too. LiverSupport & Detox is ideal for someone with an overly congested liver.
  4. Clinical LiverSupport – Containing the most absorbable form of milk thistle available, this comprehensive liver health formula helps reduce fat accumulation in the liver to improve liver function. Also containing turmeric standardized to 95 percent curcumin, the quantity and quality of liver cleansing herbs in this formula are superb – ideal for someone with a more advanced case of fatty liver.

Those at risk for or already suffering with fatty liver disease are in need of solutions to help their liver avoid damage and recover. Unfortunately, stress will compound the harm that fat in the liver poses. By supplementing with turmeric (preferably curcumin standardized to 95 percent), you can move towards a healthier (and happier) liver via this all-natural, effective remedy., Turmeric Natural Treatments for Stress and Sugar Induced Fatty Liver Disease, Retrieved February 28, 2016, Health Beauty Planet, 2016., Liver Health: The Role of Turmeric in Fatty Liver Disease, Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM, Retrieved February 28, 2016, Global Healing Center, 2016., Stress and the Liver, Alan Franciscus, Retrieved February 28, 2016, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2016., Six Ways Curcumin Can Help You Sleep More and Stress Less, Natasha Turner, ND, Retrieved February 28, 2016,, Inc., 2016., Turmeric and Fatty Liver, Shamala Pulugurtha, Retrieved February 28, 2016, Demand Media, Inc., 2016., 5 Reasons Why Turmeric is Great for Liver Fibrosis, Retrieved February 28, 2016, Turmeric for Health, 2016.

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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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