“Identifying Red Flag 3 for Liver Damage and Tips for Maintaining Liver Health”

The liver performs important and complex functions in our body, such as nutrient metabolism and detoxification. Therefore, if there is a problem with liver health, abnormal symptoms appear in various parts of the body. Symptoms vary from relatively mild symptoms such as lethargy and indigestion to liver disease that can be life-threatening.

The liver is the largest organ in the body and performs a variety of functionsㅣSource: Getty Image Bank

1. Fatigue

Simple fatigue will recover on its own if you take enough rest. However, if fatigue does not go away no matter how much you rest, you need to take a look at your liver health.

The liver is deeply related to fatigue. To be more precise, it is related to ‘bile’ produced by the liver. Bile is a digestive fluid that aids in the digestion and absorption of food and excretes unnecessary substances from the body. Bile produced in the liver is stored in the gallbladder and moves to the small intestine through the bile duct. If there is a problem with this process, fatigue-causing substances that the bile should lead to are not smoothly discharged, and fatigue may appear.

2. Skin problems

A sick liver can also affect your skin. A typical symptom is ‘jaundice’. If the liver is not healthy, the bile pigment bilirubin is not properly excreted. When this happens, excessive bilirubin builds up in the blood, causing jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

‘Spider-like hemangioma’ may be observed in patients with liver cirrhosis whose liver is hardened due to chronic inflammation. It is caused by capillary dilation, which is a symptom of red blood vessels spreading through the skin like spider legs. It disappears when you press it with your hand and reappears when you release your hand. Palmar erythema, which is reddening of the palms, is also one of the symptoms of liver cirrhosis.

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3. Epigastric Discomfort

When digestion is difficult after eating greasy food, or when the feeling of full stomach lasts for a long time, you can suspect liver problems. This is because if the liver function is poor and bile acids that help digestion and absorption of food are not produced and discharged smoothly, problems with fat metabolism may occur. Also, if the stomach becomes convex and the feeling of bloating is severe, revenge should be suspected. It is known that about 85% of ascites is a complication of liver cirrhosis.

How to keep liver healthy?

It is important to quickly detect abnormal signs of the liver, but the most important thing is to take care of the health of the liver in advance. It is recommended that you stop drinking or abstain from alcohol, and refrain from high-fat, high-protein, and high-carbohydrate meals that burden your liver. These diets can increase blood cholesterol levels and lead to cholesterol gallstones.

If you take care of the nutrients that are good for your liver, the icing on the cake. UDCA (ursodeoxycholic acid) and milk thistle are typical examples. UDCA, which is well known as a liver nutrient and treatment, makes and discharges toxic substances that have entered the body in a form that can be excreted, and helps the liver to detoxify. It promotes the secretion of bile to improve indigestion and prevents gallstones by maintaining the cholesterol level in the liver properly.

UDCA has also been found to be effective in preventing COVID-19. According to a study published in the SCI-class international journal Nature at the end of last year, UDCA blocks infection by closing the door of the ‘ACE2 Receptor’, the invasion route of the corona virus. Since this is a method of acting on human cells, not the virus itself, the mechanism is expected to be effective even for mutant viruses.

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Silymarin, a key component of milk thistle, prevents the destruction of liver cells produced during human metabolism. In addition, it is beneficial for liver health by helping to regenerate liver cells. UDCA detoxifies the liver and discharges toxic substances from the body, and milk thistle protects liver cells.

Taking the two ingredients together can protect liver health more effectively. A past clinical study found that taking UDCA and milk thistle together significantly lowered ALT levels. Here, ALT is an enzyme present in hepatocytes, and when the liver is damaged, it flows into the blood and the blood level increases. In other words, if you take the two ingredients together, you can manage your ALT level, which is an indicator that can check whether you have liver disease or not.

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