Top tips for better liver health

illustration of liver in the body

Top tips for better liver health

As January rolls around, we often begin to think about our liver health. After the excesses of the festive season – which can often involve plenty of alcohol consumption and a diet rich in fatty foods, all known to be tough on our liver – this makes perfect sense.

In fact, it’s become a time when many people challenge themselves to give up alcohol for the month (Dry January), while Love Your Liver Awareness Month also takes place now – an initiative created by the British Liver Trust in a bid to bring liver-health conversations to the forefront.

While we love this dedicated time to consider how we can all better support our livers, looking after this vital organ is crucial all year round: think avoiding toxins, ensuring a varied diet low in saturated fats and taking regular exercise.

To help this organ truly perform at its best, you might want to add supplements to your lifestyle, which can help to enhance certain liver functions. Read on to find out how.

What does your liver do?

The liver is the second largest organ in the body (the largest being your skin). It removes toxins (such as those ingested from drinking alcohol) from our bodies and also works to fight infections.

In addition to this, our livers help blood to clot and aid digestion by releasing bile, which breaks down the fats we take in through our diet.

What lifestyle choices are a risk to your liver health?

three women toasting with full wine glasses

Nobody performs at their best when they’re overworked, and the liver is no different. It functions as a detoxifier, but it has limits. Our job is to not give it more work than we need to.

Consuming excessive amounts of toxins, such as from alcohol (or other sources, such as certain medicines and some of your body’s waste products), can give your liver too much work to do and will put you at a higher risk of liver disease.

In the UK, adults are advised by the NHS not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

A diet rich in saturated fats, especially if compounded by a sedentary lifestyle that doesn’t burn many calories, is another risk to your liver.

Being exposed to a viral infection, such as hepatitis, can also cause some types of liver disease. (In the UK, a hepatitis B vaccination is routinely available as part of the NHS vaccination schedule.)

Which foods benefit liver health?

Foods thought to benefit your liver include garlic, grapefruit, turmeric and avocado, due to their antioxidant and other properties. The curcumin in turmeric may also help your liver to produce bile.

Studies also suggest that drinking coffee every day could reduce your risk of liver disease.

Overall, a healthy and well-balanced diet can reduce your risk, according to the British Liver Trust. For most people, that means a diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt, and high in fibre, vegetables and fruit.

Worried your liver is already in trouble? The Trust can also advise on diets tailored to the needs of those suffering from liver disease.

Which supplements benefit liver health?

The good news is, there are lots of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that can help support a healthy liver function. If you’re looking for all-round liver support, try Nature’s Truth Liver Support, which has been specially formulated with extracts that can support the major organ’s function. The vegetarian-friendly supplements contain choline, a nutrient known to contribute to normal liver function. It’s also rich in botanical extracts – such as acai berry, artichoke leaf, and dandelion root – which are commonly associated with liver health, and vitamin C and iron for added immune support.

NAC (or N-acetyl cysteine) is another antioxidant that has been linked to better liver function. It’s possible to take it in supplement form.

B-complex vitamins are also thought to be beneficial to maintaining a healthy, functioning liver, as well as being helpful for people with some liver conditions.

If you want to supplement a healthy, balanced diet with more B-vitamins, try taking a B-complex supplement, which usually contain a blend of essential B-vitamins.

You can also choose to take garlic as a supplement, such as Nature’s Truth Odourless Garlic 1500mg – perfect if you don’t often cook with garlic or are not a fan – but still want to harness its benefits.

Turmeric, which contains curcumin and is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, is also thought to be beneficial in maintaining overall liver health. As the levels of curcumin within turmeric are low, some people choose to take it as a supplement.

Try Nature’s Truth Turmeric Curcumin Gummies with Ginger Extract for an easy way to add it to your day.

Can activated charcoal cleanse your liver?

When it comes to removing toxins from the body, activated charcoal often enters the conversation. While it has been proven to help with reducing flatulence, many also take it in a bid to remove toxins from the body after excessive eating or alcohol consumption.

As charcoal can act like a ‘sponge’, binding to toxins and other chemicals, it’s sometimes used to limit the absorption of poisonous substances into the bloodstream. However, using activated charcoal to counteract regular excessive alcohol consumption isn’t recommended.

If you need further support limiting your alcohol intake, please speak to a medical professional and/or reach out to a support group.

Shop the liver support selection from Nature’s Truth here.

Nature's Truth

Nature's Truth

Writer and expert