The liver performs over 500 different functions in the human body.
Every day, your liver supports your everyday life by providing you with energy, fighting off infection, clearing out toxins, helping clot the blood, regulating hormones and much more.
When the liver is damaged, some of the vital body functions become compromised. This eventually becomes life-threatening.
Liver damage can occur as a result of many factors, but people don’t normally address the issue until it is too late.
Paying attention to your liver and recognizing the warning signs that can indicate a problem is developing is crucial.
Not sure what the signs of liver damage are? Here’s a look at several signs that you should never ignore.
1. Yellowed skin
Skin yellowing is one of the first signs of liver damage. This happens as a result of bilirubin build up, as a damaged liver is unable to filter out toxins properly. Bilirubin is a form of bile pigment, which accumulates in the blood when liver function is compromised and the liver can’t remove the bilirubin. Bile is secreted by the liver to help digestion.
The free flow of bilirubin in the blood makes the skin turn yellow. It’s the fingernails, the tips of your fingers and toes, as well as the eyes that first turn yellow.
2. Changes in stools and urine
It may not be something you do on a regular basis, but you should examine your urine and your stool. If either is discolored or changes in the consistency, you could be suffering from liver failure.
If the urine is dark in color and frothy, or your stool is pale and thin, get to a doctor as soon as possible.
3. Pain in the abdomen
Sharp abdominal pain (especially on the left side of your abdomen), as well as stomach cramping, is also an indicator that something is wrong with your liver. The thing is any liver malfunction can cause pain in your abdomen.
Sudden bloating can also be a symptom of liver malfunction because when the liver is damaged, it retains fluid, which in turn makes your stomach bloated.
5. Digestive problems
If you notice an increased amount of acid reflux, you could be experiencing liver trouble. A damaged liver can push digestive juices up into your esophagus, which causes acid reflux and indigestion. Over time, excessive indigestion could lead to vomiting.
How to keep your liver healthy
The best way to keep your liver healthy is by eating whole foods, avoiding processed sugars and saturated fats, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and not smoking.
Also, it is essential to drink plenty of water, eat healthy fats, and to eat lots of fiber to absorb toxic bile and remove it from your body.
Chemicals typically used as herbicides, pesticides and food additives can also wreak havoc on the body, so try to eat organic as much as possible.
For an extra boost, try these 3 liver-healing herbs:
1. Milk thistle
Milk thistle is the number one herb suggested to alcoholics to treat alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. Also, it protects the liver from toxins and drugs, so it’s particularly helpful for chronically ill patients.
The herb also helps the liver repair itself and regenerate new cells. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for the treatment of mushroom poisoning and viral hepatitis.
Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect the liver from damage and scarring while promoting cell regeneration. Also, it can protect the liver against alcohol and strong pharmaceutical drugs and harmful chemicals.
Some studies have even found that this golden spice can kill cancerous cells and tumors in the liver.
Artichoke stimulates bile production and flow within the liver. This helps fight heartburn and prevent hangovers. The plants also help control cholesterol levels after a fatty meal and regular consumption can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Its antibacterial and antioxidant activity protects the organ from damage and infection.