The liver is a vital organ of your body. If you don’t take good care of it or ignore the signals it sends, you may be unpleasantly surprised. Certain liver diseases – such as cirrhosis – are noticeable at an advanced stage. Here are the signs that you should look for and how to protect the proper function of your liver.
Main functions of the liver
The essential functions of the liver are:
- Purification of the body
- Production of bile, which regulates the rate of fat and glucose
- Facilitation of assimilation of nutrients
- Stimulation of the production of proteins for blood clotting
When its activities are affected, the liver can cause more or less severe illnesses, including cirrhosis.
The causes of cirrhosis, in addition to various other triggers, are as follows:
- Excessive alcohol consumption (50-75% of cases) that gradually destroys the liver cells;
- Side effects of medicines taken affecting liver function, because the purification process is altered;
- Chronic infection with hepatitis B or C (20 to 25% of cases) that weakens the immune system;
- Excess weight, which causes an accumulation of fat in the liver cells. In this particular case, it is essential to take the advice of a specialist to adopt a healthy lifestyle that will minimize the risk.
Fats affect the proteins and they form clusters around the liver. This phenomenon then causes poor filtration, making it more rigid and disorganized throughout the structure. This dysfunction usually becomes evident after a long time – at least a decade – that’s why cirrhosis is almost incurable, because the liver is already greatly damaged.
The disease develops in various, more or less, serious steps.
Symptoms of cirrhosis in the stage of development
Cirrhosis is a disease virtually asymptomatic and the first signs appear very often when the liver is damaged about 80%.
The first stage of cirrhosis is fatty liver (Hepatic Steatosis). It is characterized by an accumulation of fat in the liver tissues. The liver then cannot properly eliminate toxins and cholesterol from the blood.
The apparent symptoms at this stage are:
- Lack of appetite
- Frequent nausea and diarrhea
- Weight loss
Fatty liver is easily treated with good medical care.
The second stage of development is hepatitis. Among drinkers, it is called alcoholic hepatitis. This stage is characterized by inflammation of the liver. The clinical signs of hepatic manifestation are:
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Pain in the stomach and joints
Sometimes the symptoms disappear naturally in some people, who adopt healthy behavior in general.
The final stage is cirrhosis itself. In this case, almost all liver tissues are affected and the organ is no longer able to fulfill its function. The symptoms are more severe because the patient has:
- Internal bleeding
- Vomiting blood
- Swelling of the legs and abdomen
- Frequent memory loss
- Hair loss
Although treatments can bring relief, cirrhosis is irreversible, because the liver is irreparable.
- It is advisable to avoid sugary foods, high in fructose and fatty foods because they help to reinforce the fat accumulation.
- The practice of regular physical activity is also required to boost the metabolism and burn more fat. It is shown that physical exercises regulate insulin resistance.
- It is vital to ban alcohol and tobacco.
- Self-medication should be avoided. It is recommended to always consult your doctor or specialist before taking any medication.
Consumption of turmeric
Regular consumption of turmeric is very beneficial because this spice contributes to the effective treatment of liver diseases, firstly as functional food, and, secondly, reinforces the effect of the drugs.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It is a powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It also has blood detoxifying properties and heals the intestines. These properties make this an excellent hepatoprotective spice, preserving the liver, stimulates bile secretion and fights against cellular abnormalities and degenerations.
Its anti-inflammatory action helps to fight against the destruction of liver tissue. The antioxidant properties of turmeric inhibit free radicals that destroy healthy cells and thus contribute to better protection of the liver, stomach and digestive organs.
Austrian scientists at the University of Graz, led by Professor Michael Trauner tried to check the inflammatory properties of turmeric on mice with a diseased liver. They give turmeric for 4 to 8 weeks to one group, while the other group was subjected to a normal diet.
They found that turmeric significantly reduced the liver damage and relieve the bile duct, acting on cholangiocytes (the cells that line the walls of the gallbladder).
For specific uses, consumption of strong doses of turmeric is not recommended for people who have gallbladder disorders. It must also be taken with caution in combination with certain medications because it may influence their effects.
Turmeric is also a powerful blood thinner; so it is not recommended for pregnant women and should be avoided in case of surgery or treatment with anticoagulant substances.
Moreover, it has very warming properties, so it is best not to consume it if you are prone to hot flashes.
Always check with your doctor or specialist in case of doubt.
Sources: webmd.com, draxe.com, globalhealingcenter.com