The liver regulates the levels of various chemicals in the blood. A healthy liver is vital to maintaining overall health.
Liver supplements aim to cleanse the liver of toxins accumulated over time in order to improve liver function and enhance general wellbeing.
Most liver supplements include traditional ingredients such as milk thistle which native healers have used for centuries to treat liver disorders.
12 Benefits Of Liver Supplements
The effectiveness of liver supplements is debated among healthcare professionals with some questioning their efficacy and others convinced most claimed benefits are real. Those benefits include the following:
1: Liver supplements may help repair liver damage.
Milk thistle comes from the plant Silybum marianum, and it’s one of the main components found in liver supplements that gives you a host of benefits. The most common type of liver damage is hepatitis. This is an inflammation of your liver, which is caused by viruses. It can spread through blood or semen, contaminated food, or waters. .
Studies suggest that the main ingredient in many liver supplements – milk thistle – may help repair damage done by hepatitis and liver disease (1). Another common ingredient in liver supplements is artichoke and there is some evidence it too may help repair damage done by liver disease (2).
Another ingredient – licorice root extract – may reverse some of the effects of alcohol-induced inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver (3). And finally turmeric, yet another common ingredient in liver supplements, may help reduce oxidative stress that is believed to contribute to chronic liver disease and liver cancer (4).
2: Liver supplements may help treat age-related brain dysfunction.
As you age, brain dysfunction becomes more common and many people are affected by this. However, milk thistle is a potent ingredient that can treat this. Milk thistle has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which means it can prevent the decline in brain function as you age (5). Studies have found milk thistle may stop oxidative damage from affecting brain cells thereby keeping you mentally sharp (6).
3: Livers supplements can strengthen your bones.
Studies show milk thistle mineralizes your bones and protects you against bone loss (7). This is important for keeping your bones strong, especially in post-menopausal women. Similarly to age-related brain dysfunction, bones weaken as you age, and using herbs to combat this can be beneficial alongside exercise and a nutrient-dense diet.
4: Liver supplements could clear up your skin.
Milk thistle may help treat acne because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research discovered that 210 milligrams of silymarin a day for 8 weeks reduces acne by 53% (8).
5: Liver supplements can lower blood sugar levels.
Research indicates that milk thistle substantially reduces blood sugar levels (9). If your blood sugar levels are too high, you’re at an increased risk for type II diabetes. Artichoke is another liver supplement ingredient that may lower blood sugar levels (10). Lowering your blood sugar levels will improve your mood, reduce fatigue, and improve your brain and blood vessel health.
6: Liver supplements can help treat hepatitis.
Research suggests that milk thistle may be effective in helping patients with hepatitis C recover some liver function (11), but larger, more involved studies are necessary to confirm this hypothesis. Any benefit may be due to silymarin’s anti-inflammatory effects. Since hepatitis is the inflammation of your liver, silymarin is a natural medicinal herb for hepatitis.
7: Liver supplements could aid you during cancer treatment.
This 2015 study shows that milk thistle can be used as an agent to help reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Although milk thistle isn’t a cancer treatment, it can help alleviate all the side effects of cancer treatment, such as anemia, appetite loss, bleeding and bruising, constipation, delirium, fatigue, and diarrhea (12). In fact, some research reports other liver supplement herbs, such as artichoke extract may diminish cancer growth (13). That’s due to the polyphenolic extracts in artichoke.
8: Liver supplements can optimize liver function.
One study found that taking 420 milligrams of silymarin a day for 4 weeks reduces the risk of drug-induced liver injury by 28% in people taking anti-tuberculosis medications (14).
One 2012 study claims that a zinc supplement can protect your liver from oxidative stress from hepatitis C viral infections (15). Many liver supplements, like Nature’s Craft, contain zinc. It contains 30 mg of zinc, and zinc is important for fighting off bacteria and viruses. Interestingly enough, zinc is also an important mineral for optimizing your testosterone levels.
9: Liver supplements may improve your cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is your bad cholesterol, and it’s important to get this under control to maintain good heart health. If your LDL is too high, plaque builds up on your arteries, which blocks the flood of blood to your heart. Some liver supplement ingredients may help in this regard (16).
10: Liver supplements could improve your blood pressure.
A study of 98 men with high blood pressure suggested that systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreases after consuming an artichoke extract for 12 weeks (17). Artichoke is rich in potassium which helps balance out the excess sodium that raises your blood pressure. Of course, if you improve your blood pressure, you’ll improve your heart health and reduce your risks of heart-related diseases, such as arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
11: Liver supplements help promote the production of bile.
Bile removes toxic toxins from your liver, and research supports artichoke to increase bile production (18). Removing toxins from your liver is imperative for your liver to function properly. Since your liver acts as a filter for your body, it prevents these toxins from spreading to other organs of your body, which can lead to some serious health issues.
12: Liver supplements could improve your digestive system.
After 12 weeks of taking an artichoke extract with inulin, one study showed 12 adults to experience an improvement in gut bacteria (19). Gut bacteria play an important role in your digestive health and can improve your immune system, combat depression, and fight obesity.
Liver supplements contain numerous ingredients that have shown promise in various scientific studies when it comes to slowing or even reversing liver damage. While more research needs to be done to confirm preliminary data many healthcare professionals argue in favor of using liver supplements to maintain or regain proper liver function.