Vitamins and protecting your liver

Written by tracey roizman, d.c. | 13/05/2017
Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Your liver is a veritable chemical factory that quietly carries out more than 400 important functions each day that keep you healthy. Among its responsibilities, the liver manufactures blood proteins, immune factors, bile and cholesterol. It also recycles iron from red blood cells and detoxifies urea, drugs and other compounds. To function efficiently, your liver requires specific vitamins and nutrients from your diet or through supplements.

What foods promote liver health

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Flavour your foods with plenty of onions and garlic, which contain cysteine, an amino acid your liver uses to produce a powerful antioxidant called glutathione. Also include beets, artichokes, yams and leafy greens in your diet to support liver health, according to the book "Patient Information on Conditions, Herbs & Supplements." These foods are loaded with the antioxidants the liver uses to detoxify your body and are high in fiber that helps decrease cholesterol levels. Aside from healthy foods, a couple of cups of coffee per day may also help prevent and treat liver disease, notes George Mason University. Coffee prevents fat from accumulating in the liver and promoting a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is associated with excess fat in the diet.

Related: The best ways to use herbs and spices

How much does vitamins does your liver need?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Your liver is one of your body's most metabolically active organs, meaning its energy demands are high. The liver, brain, kidneys and heart together account for about 5 percent of your body weight. Yet, these organs account for 60 percent of the energy your body consumes when you are at rest, according to the book "Principles of Clinical Gastroenterology." To keep you liver functioning efficiently, it needs a good supply of B-complex vitamins to assist it with the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Related: The truth about diet and nutritional supplements

How much vitamin B-12 in chicken livers?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Cooked chicken liver is an excellent source of vitamin B-12 and provides 16.85 micrograms per 3.5-ounce serving. That's well over the recommended daily allowance of 2.4 micrograms per day for adults 19 and over. Vitamin B-12 is necessary for production of the amino acid methionine, which is converted into S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe, a compound sometimes used in the treatment of liver disease. Other good dietary sources of vitamin B-12 include clams, salmon, chicken, eggs and milk. Vitamin B-12 is not found in plant foods and must be obtained from an animal source or through supplements or fortified foods, such as cereals.

Related: Foods that have vitamins B1, B6 & B12

Do vitamins lower Iron in the liver?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Deficiencies of vitamin A and iron are among the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide, according to a study published in the 2000 issue of "Nutrition." Vitamin A may lower iron levels and lead to anemia, and low iron may lead to low vitamin A levels in the liver, according to a study published in the May 2000 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition." Similarly, supplementing with vitamin A along with iron resolves iron deficiency anemia better than either iron or vitamin A alone, notes the Linus Pauling Institute.

Related: How to detox from an overdose of vitamin A

Can mega doses of vitamin D elevate liver enzymes?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver. Excess vitamin D, which usually occurs from taking too many supplements, can cause poor appetite, nausea and vomiting; elevated calcium in the blood; and impaired growth. Mega doses of vitamin D are not associated with elevated liver enzymes.

Related: Signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency

Does vitamin C help with liver triglycerides?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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A study of previously published research that appeared in the June 2008 issue of the "Journal of Chiropractic Medicine" found that vitamin C can lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and triglycerides. In the study, supplementation with 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day reduced triglyceride levels significantly. Vitamin C may help counteract the triglyceride-elevating effect of the drug tamoxifen, according to New York University's Langone Medical Centre.

Related: Video: All about vitamin C

How much vitamin A is in the liver?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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Your liver stores all of the fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A. The amount of vitamin A in your liver rises and falls according to how much vitamin A you obtain in your diet or through supplements. When your diet is low in vitamin A, your liver will release some from storage to supply the body. If you consume too much vitamin A, a condition known as hypervitaminosis A, your liver may become damaged and fatty deposits and elevated blood pressure can develop.

Related: Does too much vitamin A cause hair loss?

How much vitamin K is in calf liver?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
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A 180 g serving of cooked beef liver provides 3.3 micrograms, or 5.5 percent of your recommended daily value vitamin K, an essential nutrient required for blood clotting. By contrast, a 180 g serving of chicken liver contains no vitamin K, and the same size serving of turkey liver contains 1.2 micrograms, or 2 percent of the recommended daily value.

Related: How to treat spider veins with vitamin K

Is B-12 Stored in the Liver?

Vitamins and protecting your liver
Fish and seafood are good sources of vitamin B-12. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Vitamin B-12 is the only B-complex vitamin and the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver, where it can remain for years, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. As a rule, however, water-soluble vitamins are not stored and must be consumed daily to maintain levels sufficient for optimal health.

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