Your Liver Needs to be Protected?
Excessive alcohol consumption
and viral hepatitis (hepatitis B) can harm your
Most people take liver health for granted. Liver as
we know is one of the body's most robust organs and
is the only one capable of regenerating itself.
Modern living unfortunately involves daily exposure
to substances that are toxic to our bodies, which
can impose heavy stress on the liver.
The liver carries out thousands of specialized
functions including detoxification (breaking down
toxic substances for elimination). Most liver
functions including detoxification occur on cell
membranes of liver parenchymal cells (hepatocytes).
In order to carry out its functions, the parenchymal
cells are densely packed with membranes.
All toxic substances such as drugs, chemical food
additives, pollutants and alcohol to name a few, can
damage the liver and, do so by way of attacking the
membrane systems of the parenchymal cells.
In a healthy state, these parenchymal cells are well
equipped with protective antioxidants such as
glutathione to neutralize free radicals generated
during the process of detoxification.
The problem starts when the liver is unable to cope
with the toxins and become overburdened. Its stores
of antioxidants are progressively depleted and this,
can lead to a number of serious disorders from fatty
liver to viral hepatitis to drug induced liver
damage to alcohol induced liver damage.
How our liver detoxifies toxic substances
Many of the toxic substances that enter our body are
fat soluble which means they dissolve only in the
fatty region of the cell (membranes) and not in the
watery region. The detoxification system in our
liver can be divided into two phases which are
designed to convert fat-soluble toxins or chemicals
into water-soluble chemicals so that they can be
easily excreted via the watery fluids such as bile
The Phase I system involves the enzymes on the
membranes of liver cells. These enzymes convert
toxic chemicals into harmless chemicals. However,
during this detoxification process, free radicals
are produced as by products - which if in excess,
can damage liver cells.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, and Alpha Lipoic
Acid reduce the damage caused by these free
radicals. If these antioxidants are lacking, or are
depleted by free radicals, these toxic chemicals
will become far more dangerous and some may even
convert to potentially carcinogenic substances.
The Phase II system involves a process called
conjugation whereby the liver adds on another
substance (Glutathione) to a toxic chemical or drug
to render it less harmful. At the same time it makes
it water-soluble, so it can be excreted easily.
Glutathione is also a powerful antioxidant produced
by the body to mop up free radicals which could
otherwise damage the liver tissues.
Nutritional support for your liver
Polyunsaturated Phospholipids also known as
Essential Phospholipids (EPL) - are important
support nutrients for the liver. The main component
of EPL is phosphatidylcholine, which is the major
constituent of cell membrane systems. These
phospholipids of cell membranes are highly
vulnerable to oxidative attack from free radicals
and other highly reactive toxins. Under excessive
attack, the membrane phospholipids become degraded.
Holes begin to develop in the cell's membrane,
resulting in loss of control over the cell's
internal structure, which eventually leads to cell
Viral infection in the liver is similar to toxic
It causes the cells to release pro-inflammatory
substances which degrade the phospholipids leading
to damage of parenchymal (liver) cell membranes .
Damage to the parenchymal cell membrane must be
repaired in order to preserve normal cell function
and in order to do so, the cells need an abundant
supply of EPL. Studies show that taking 1-2 grams
per day of EPL prevents membrane damage and helps to
maintain cell membrane integrity, reduces
accumulation of fat in the liver tissue, reduces
cell death and fibrosis (fibrous scar tissue) and
improve liver functions.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) - This is sometimes known as
the ideal or universal antioxidant. Antioxidants as
supplements are useful to keep free radicals in
check. ALA is both a fat soluble and a water-soluble
antioxidant. This is unique as all other
antioxidants can only function in one type of
environment such as vitamin E in fatty tissues and
vitamin C in watery regions. Hence, ALA can protect
the total cell as it destroys fat-soluble free
radicals formed on cell membranes as well as
water-soluble free radicals in the water-soluble
cellular components that make up most of the cell.
Glutathione - is naturally produced in the body and
is found in very high concentrations in the liver
for good reasons.
First, it is the cell's primary antioxidant against
free radicals produced by toxic chemicals and
viruses. Secondly, as mentioned - it is an essential
part of the liver's Phase II detoxification system.
Studies show that there is a strong correlation
between liver diseases such as cirrhosis of the
liver and low levels of glutathione. Researchers
have also found that ALA has the ability to boosts
glutathione levels in the body. Although glutathione
is sold as a supplement, only very small amounts can
be absorbed into the bloodstream. This is because of
its molecule size, which is far too big to be
absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, the
best way to boost glutathione levels is to take ALA
Polyunsaturated Phospholipids combined with Alpha
Lipoic Acid help protect the liver against damage by
alcohol and infection due to viruses. Both nutrients
provide nutritional support in the management of
damaged liver-fatty liver, chronic hepatitis and
alcohol induced liver damage. By combining these two
nutrients, the damaged liver tissues slowly resume
their function dead cells are replaced with new
cells and the entire organ starts to repair itself.