I can take supplements for liver disease, right?

Superfood  -- Miracle Cure -- doctors don't want you to know -- fix your liver quick

Sound familiar? Have you ever responded to an ad for something to help your liver?  A few of you have as it is a multi-billion dollar business.  Most of us have taken something, mostly on the hope that it might help.  I'd like you to take a minute and examine the question critically of whether or not you can reasonably expect a benefit from products like that.

I want you to click on this picture and study it in a larger size for a minute or two

Omega-6-fatty-acid-metabolism1.gif

In a simplified form, this shows the various steps in the chemistry of fatty acids in the liver cell. Each of those arrows is a chemical reaction where a new molecule or a new form is created. In your diet, you consume all of those fatty acids in a normal day so all of these reactions are happening in every liver cell and all of it in a space about one fifth the size of an average human hair. This image highlights the omega 6 but I think you can see that it is all vastly complex.

On top of that you have protein and carb processes as well as all the outgoing things like enzymes and bile that keep you alive. As you think about that, ask yourself if it is reasonable that you could take a pill with ingredients that likely have unknown potency and are really unregulated that is likely to enter into that vastly complex space and do good?

The great challenge for medicine is that they know how to manipulate some process but they don't know for sure that they won't cause a problem somewhere else in this stew of chemical reactions.  Finding a way to do something useful in the midst of all of these chemical reactions is hugely difficult. Many researchers have been defeated by it, and yet as consumers we casually get the pitch about some super thing and say what the heck it sounds like a good idea.

From one perspective, we are fortunate that most concoctions just take your money but you can't be sure. Even with well established and well understood molecules some people have problems. Think penicillin as just one example.  There have been billions of doses of that given but there are people who die because their chemistry hates it. The supplement challenge is that when you take them you don't really have any idea what it is. 

Simple diets made up mostly of plants that we have very long histories with are the only strategies that today we can be confident will be beneficial for most people. Being conservative with what you consume is the smart play. The other fundamental idea is that the liver is a flow through organ.  It is running all the time.  There is no approach that says that you can do something for a short time and be successful.

We have a lot of information on the website, but if you are interested in the simplest way to think about how to begin a healthy diet you might look at this link.

Don't eat anything white

In our approach to food we are particular about the kinds of fats that we use and how that mixture of fuels works, but at the core our attitude is don't intentionally eat something that makes your liver work harder.  If you have a liver disease it is the only strategy that makes any sense.

I have to admit that I was prompted to write this by a network television interview which featured an "expert" that promised that a celery smoothie with a scoop of super powder would cure liver disease. First bottle free, just pay shipping. You all know the drill. The maddening thing is it works because they just keep coming along with the next super miracle product.

There ought to be a law.

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