I wrote last month (8/15) about the liver, and ways to keep it healthy and performing optimally. I’ve discovered a few more since then. One of the main reasons that I’m concentrating on the liver is that a friend is battling liver problems (hepatitis C) and is about to start a new round of treatment.

Structure and function of the liver; a review. The liver is made up of four lobes of unequal size and shape, weighs about 3.5 lbs., is located in the right upper quadrant of the abdominal cavity, just below the diaphragm, to the right of the stomach, and overlaying the gallbladder. The main function of the liver is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. Other functions include: Producing coagulation factors; producing bile for fat digestion; conversion of ammonia to urea; breaking down insulin and other hormones; storage of glycogen, vitamin A, D, B12, iron, and copper; production of a glycoprotein that regulates the production of platelets by the bone marrow; plays a large role in the synthesis of amino acids; synthesizing cholesterol; and producing albumin, to name a few.

Bile is produced in the liver and is sent to the gallbladder where it is concentrated, increasing bile potency. Bile is used for emulsification (digestion) of fats in the diet. Imbalanced fat metabolism in the liver occurs when the liver is overburdened and is unable to efficiently detoxify substances in the diet or from environmental exposure. At least one-third of all American adults have unbalanced fat metabolism in the liver. This can lead to liver damage, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and a decreased inflammatory response.

Gallbladder troubles begin with what is called bile stasis, leading to an inflammatory response. Excessive cholesterol can also clog up the gallbladder, leading to gallstones and inefficient fat digestion.

Milk thistle (silymarin) is very beneficial for the liver, supporting healthy liver fat metabolism and detoxification. It also stimulates bile flow. Trimethylglycine and beet root also support healthy liver fat metabolism. Artichoke extract, dandelion root, phosphatidylcholine, and magnesium stimulate bile flow. Taurine supports healthy bile production.

The liver performs multiple roles in the body, and the gallbladder stores and concentrates bile for fat digestion. Research has demonstrated that the above nutraceuticals may help promote healthy functioning of the liver and gallbladder.

Sinus problems? Check out quercetin. Quercetin, a flavonoid found widely in fruits and vegetables, starts out like an antihistamine, without the side effects. Quercetin does this by stabilizing the membranes of mast cells, and that keeps them from overreacting when faced with allergens. When these cells overreact, they release histamine, which cause your sinus symptoms. Bromelain, an enzyme, is recognized as a treatment for asthma. It can also cut inflammation that comes along with sinusitis. Both are available in any helath food store.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.