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The Top 3 Liver Supplements

The Top 3 Liver Supplements

How to Support Your Most Underrated Organ

The Top 3 Liver Supplements

As a critical digestive system organ, our liver is a workhorse which we rarely pay attention to.

We tend to ignore our liver, provided it is healthy and properly working.

Playing a role in multiple detoxification actions, our liver cleanses the blood, fights infections, helps digest our food, while storing energy.

When damaged, our liver regenerates, or grows back, unlike our heart or stomach, or other organs.

Despite this, our liver remains vulnerable to damage and injury from an array of factors.

Our risk for liver disease is determined by our diet, environment, and genetics.

When our liver is not working properly, it can lead to serious illness and in some cases death.

In this article, we’ll explore the top science-backed supplements for liver support.

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A tender abdomen and a yellow cast, or jaundice, in the skin, could mean liver disease which falls into these categories:

  1. Infections: hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, all caused by viruses.
  2. Fatty liver: diabetes and obesity-related cirrhosis.
  3. Autoimmune liver disease: because of the immune system attacking the liver.
  4. Alcohol-related Liver Disease: due to the overconsumption of alcohol.
  5. ‘DILI’ (drug-induced liver injury): because of medications, including supplements, and acetaminophen.

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When a blood test shows elevated liver enzymes, this often indicates inflammation or damage to liver cells.

Aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), are the most common liver enzymes.

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Coffee is associated with decreasing levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP).

This effect is supported across numerous studies and is supported in both decaf and regular coffee consumption.

Researchers confirm this suggests a chemical in coffee other than caffeine may support the liver.

Those drinking the largest amount of daily coffee show the lowest levels of abnormal liver enzymes.

Dose

1 to 4 cups, with 3 to 4 cups showing the best results.

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Vitamin E when used in doses exceeding 300 IU for 6 months appears to considerably improve liver enzymes.

We find a notable decrease in ALT and γ-GPT in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD), sometimes exceeding 50%, across several studies.

There is no effect or benefit in otherwise healthy subjects.

Dose

300 to 800 IU taken over 1 to 6 months in multiple studies shows as effective.

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TUDCA is a reference drug for liver enzymes, as liver enzyme decrease associated is quite strong, and consistent across many research studies.

Dose

1500 mg daily performs as the best dose over a period of 2 to 6 months across the studies, with 500 mg being the minimum effective dose.

Spirulina, curcumin, fucoxanthin, resveratrol, pterostillbene, TMG, artichoke extract, garlic, gynostemma pentaphyllum, hesperidin, L-carnitine, melatonin, picrorhiza kurroa, hibiscus, L-cysteine, Korean black raspberry.

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The following supplements have shown the greatest reduction in the risk of developing liver cancer.

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In addition to protection against breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer, curcumin performs as effective against liver cancer.

Stimulating apoptosis of cancer cells, curcumin acts as an antiproliferative agent, with anti-angiogenic action, preventing tumor growth and recurrence.

Curcumin has been proven to decrease chemotherapy side effects.

Delivering a synergistic anticancer action, curcumin acts at the molecular level, affecting multiple tumorigenesis metabolic pathways.

Promoting healing along with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-infective action, curcumin with its natural phytocompounds offers notable anti-cancer protection with enormous promise as an adjuvant remedy to treat liver cancer.

The most recent studies show curcumin inhibits the growth of cancer cells through the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway.

Dose

Studies use up to 2,000 mg of bioavailable curcumin. Curcumin should be taken with a fatty meal to improve absorption.

[Related Article: The Best Curcumin Types: Quality Matters]

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Coffee, the magical bean shows a reduction of 38% with 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day, with a 41% liver cancer risk reduction with over 4 cups per day.

Other studies support a liver cancer risk reduction to 72% in those consuming 4 cups or more daily.

Interestingly, we see a gender difference with a larger benefit for women with a 54% reduction at 3 cups of daily coffee a day.

Another study concludes coffee consumption of over 3 cups is associated with a lower risk of chronic liver disease, liver cancer, liver cancer recurrence, and liver disease mortality after liver transplantation in both those with and without a history of liver disease.

Across many studies, daily coffee consumption promotes a 40% reduction in the risk of liver cancer versus non-coffee drinkers.

Dose

2 to 4 cups or more daily. Decaffeinated coffee shows a lesser benefit over caffeinated coffee for liver cancer in some studies, although some researchers believe the benefits are comparable.

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Much like coffee, vitamin E has many studies supporting its role in liver protection and support.

Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are established risk factors for liver cancer

Recent evidence shows higher doses of vitamin E consumption can protect against liver cancer.

This association is supported in those with family histories of liver disease, along with those who do not have a family history of liver disease.

Dose

400 IU d-alpha-tocopherol daily. Choose a natural vitamin E supplement. Natural vitamin E is listed as D and not DL, which indicates synthetic vitamin E.

Choline, betaine.

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Representing liver stored triglycerides, with which excessive accumulation, higher liver fat results in fatty liver (alcohol or non-alcoholic), potentially leading to liver cirrhosis.

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More evidence continues surfacing, showing choline deficiency along with high sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup diets might be the biggest risk factor in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Betaine is extremely important for liver support as well.

Dose

550 mg for men and 450 mg for women. A single egg contains 164 mg of choline. Choline is also found in a variety of vegan sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. Krill oil is roughly 34% choline. Lecithin is approximately 10% choline. Algae oil also contains choline, while it along with lecithin and forms of choline are phosphatidylcholine, which supports acetylcholine, a critical neurotransmitter.

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In nonalcoholic fatty liver disease studies, those reporting consumption of two or more cups of coffee daily, show notably less liver damage than those who drank little or no coffee.

Dose

2 to 4 cups

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Curcumin performs in multiple recent studies as highly effective for fatty liver.

Dose

Studies use up to 2,000 mg of bioavailable curcumin. Curcumin should be taken with a fatty meal to improve absorption.

[Related Article: The Best Curcumin Types: Quality Matters]

Spirulina, fucoxanthin, omega-3’s, TMG, vitamin E, L-cysteine, zinc.

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The review of multiple studies concludes coffee drinking is associated with a substantially lower risk of chronic liver disease.

In comparison with non-coffee drinkers, 2 to 3 cups of daily coffee is correlated with a 46% lower risk of chronic liver disease death, while more than 4 cups daily is associated with a 71% reduction.

We find support for coffee in both the treatment of hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

We find hepatitis studies showing coffee consumption in association with a lower hepatocellular carcinoma risk.

Dose

2 to more than 4 cups.

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Cordyceps, the medicinal mushroom provides a powerful supplement to treat chronic hepatitis B and C.

Studies show cordyceps as combined with other medicinal mushrooms, along with the antiviral drug, lamivudine, as effective in the treatment of hepatitis B.

Cordyceps improves liver function in patients with posthepatic cirrhosis.

Dose

3 to 4.5 grams twice daily, with traditional indications for use at 5 to 10 grams daily.

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Curcumin performs in multiple recent studies as effective against hepatitis B.

Dose

Studies use up to 2,000 mg of bioavailable curcumin. Curcumin should be taken with a fatty meal to improve absorption.

[Related Article: The Best Curcumin Types: Quality Matters]

Milk thistle, spirulina, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, artichoke extract, curcumin, zinc, licorice, probiotics.

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Some research suggests the use of NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) to assist the liver in metabolizing reasonable doses of acetaminophen and alcohol.

Dose

500 mg twice daily. Taken 30 minutes prior to alcohol and not while using alcohol.

[Related Article: Biohacking Alcohol for Health and Harm Reduction]

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While not a supplement per se, a recent study shows a great fibrosis reduction after 1 and 2 years of a ketogenic diet of 30 daily carbohydrates.

In this non-random, non-blind control trial, we find substantial benefits for obese patients with liver disease.

Dose

We can conclude lowering sugar intake along with correcting a choline deficiency is effective for liver disease.

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Choline deficiency promotes liver damage.

More evidence continues surfacing, showing choline deficiency along with high sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup diets might be the biggest risk factor in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Betaine is extremely important for liver support as well.

Dose

550 mg for men and 450 mg for women. A single egg contains 164 mg of choline. Choline is also found in a variety of vegan sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. Krill oil is roughly 34% choline. Lecithin is approximately 10% choline. Algae oil also contains choline, while it along with lecithin and forms of choline are phosphatidylcholine, which supports acetylcholine, a critical neurotransmitter.

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Effective for cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver enzymes, along with hepatitis B and C, and fatty liver disease, coffee is not to be overlooked in the prevention and treatment of liver disease.

Coffee reduces the risk of liver conditions, including fibrosis (scar tissue) and cirrhosis, and can delay liver disease progression in some patients.

Consuming caffeine releases a chemical paraxanthine, slowing the acceleration of fibrosis-related scar tissue.

High daily coffee consumption can notably lower the risk for hepatic cirrhosis compared to no daily coffee consumption.

The data from nine previous studies with over 430,000 subjects shows drinking two additional cups of coffee a day is connected with a 44% reduction in risk of liver cirrhosis.

Dose

4 or more cups.

Milk thistle, TMG, curcumin, vitamin E

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  • Don’t consume alcohol to excess.
  • Don’t consume pain medication to excess.
  • Avoid sex drugs and needle-sharing which promotes the transmission of hepatitis C.
  • Safe sex as hepatitis B (and even possibly C) can be transmitted through sexual contact
  • Wash your hands when dealing with food as hepatitis A and E are food-borne diseases.
  • Supplements can carry serious liver risks, especially when consumed in excess.
  • Review your medications and supplements with your doctor and/ or pharmacist to lower the risk of drug interactions and liver toxicity.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Exercise at least 3 times weekly.
  • Lower simple sugar (carbohydrate) intake, especially HFCS
  • Take vitamins and minerals, while consuming sufficient dietary choline.
  • Drink caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.

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  • Betaine (Most critical)
  • Choline (Most critical)
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

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These supplements can act as liver supporting supplements.

Garlic, dark chocolate, cocoa, cacao, lemon balm, licorice, uridine, grape seed extract, pine bark, beans, berries, cinnamon. clove, pycnogenol, sweetheart, milk osteopontin, rosemary, Boswellia, burdock, melatonin, quercetin, artichoke extract, TMG, glycine, holy basil, wormwood, chamomile, astragalus, reishi mushroom, stone breaker, Schisandra, Guduchi, dandelion root, gynostemma pentaphyllum, hesperidin, melatonin, picrorhiza kurroa, resveratrol, pterostilbene, wild tam Mexican root, yellow dock root extract, hawthorn berry, chanca piedra, green tea, matcha tea, black tea, white tea, SAMe, NAC, picrorhiza kurroa, glycine, sulforaphane (broccoli sprouts), apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar, MCT oil, taraxacum officinale, asteracantha longifolia, calcium-D-glucarate, eclipta alba, brassica vegetables, hops (Xanthohumol Hops), amla, Guduchi, Schisandra, berberine, fenugreek.

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We always want to ask, are liver supplements safe?

These are the supplements to keep an eye on.

Hoodia gordonii, Andrographis paniculata, Tribulus territories, green tea extract (doses over 800 mg), kava (only with non-Noble strains), pennyroyal, Artemesia, atractylis gummifera, bush tea, callilepis laureola, chaparral leaf (creosote bush, greasewood), comfrey (Symphytum officinale), crotalaria, germander, gordolobo herbal tea, heliotropium, Jin-Bu-Huang, kombucha mushroom (tea), Ma-Huang (Ephedra sinica), margosa oil, mate (Paraguay) tea, mistletoe, nutmeg (if taken in large doses), pennyroyal (squawmint oil), tansy ragwort (variation of Ragwort), sassafras, Senecio aureus, senna, skullcap, Symphytum, valerian root (due to interactions), kratom (rare cases reported with excessive intake.)

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Much like supporting our kidneys, using the top liver detox supplements is a worthy goal for all health optimizers.

When looking at liver health supplements, we should pay attention to the critical basic micronutrients, most notably choline.

Watch excessive sugar intake.

And don’t be afraid to enjoy some daily coffee, even decaffeinated if need be.

What’s your favorite liver supplement?

Your Friend in Health

Mark Stein