Many pharmaceutical companies advertize their products designed to repair liver as miraculous and life-saving. They mostly rely on the idea of detoxifying the liver. However, those claims, often unfounded, seem to ignore the fact that the liver does not need detoxifying.
Importance and role of the liver
The liver is an essential organ which participates in hundreds of processes in the body. It takes the nutrients and transforms them so they can participate in body functions, and it also stores some of them. The liver regulates fat metabolism and cholesterol, builds proteins and produces bile, which is important for digestion.
The liver cleans the body of all the unwanted substances and agents. It takes what is harmful and eliminates it. That way the liver keeps the human body clean and healthy.
Several diseases can gravely affect liver, like cirrhosis and hepatitis. But even when it is ill, the liver can still function and it also has the ability to restore itself after damage.
The liver does detoxify the body, but liver itself does not need detoxifying, because it does not store toxins but expels them.
Liver supplements claims
Most manufacturers of liver supplements claim that liver is connected to all that happens in the body, from headache to indigestion. Various formulas, capsules and tonics promise to cleanse the liver, get rid of the toxins and prevent their build-up. Those supplements are usually designed for healthy liver, not damaged one. This means that there is no use in taking them, since healthy liver is completely capable of taking care of itself.
Manufacturers also claim that detoxifying the liver will promote weight loss, cure PMS and menopause problems, fatigue, allergies, and other immune system problems, and many other ailments. According to some, these products can reduce damage done by alcohol, substance abuse and pollutants.
What are they made of
Many liver supplements are based on herbs with addition of important nutrients like amino acids, vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. A person does not need liver supplements to get proper intake of nutrients. A healthy diet and simple multivitamin product will do.
Herbs that are often used in these supplements are dandelion, licorice, reishi mushrooms, artichoke, and, above all, milk thistle.
Milk thistle is widely used in Europe to promote liver health. This herbs contains a substance called silymarin, which has the ability to block toxins in their way to the liver and to regenerate damaged liver cells. However, this substance is important for people whose liver is damaged, and there is no prove that healthy people can benefit from it as well.
It is absolutely wrong to believe that taking liver supplements will protect a person from negative effects of heavy drinking. That is not true. The only way to do so is to drink moderately and eat healthy.