Liver disorders and diet

Liver disorders have a great impact on what you can eat and what you cannot tolerate. Here are a few things you should look out for.

Step 1: Understanding the relationship between liver disorders and diet
There are a variety of causes of liver disorders. The most common is hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). There are a number of infectious causes of hepatitis, of which the most important are the hepatitis viruses.

In South Africa, three viruses are very significant causes of hepatitis. These viruses are (not very originally!) named hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. In fact these three viruses are completely unrelated to one another, but they all happen to target the liver during an infection.

Another common liver disorder is cirrhosis which is commonly caused by excessive alcohol intake, since alcohol is a liver toxin. Many medications, including herbal medicines, are also toxic for the liver.

People with liver disorders need to pay special attention to diet in order for the liver to function optimally.

Step 2: Adopting healthy habits
To prevent liver disorders:

  • Avoid infection by hepatitis
  • Get immunised against hepatitis A and B (no vaccine for hepatitis C has been developed yet)
  • Maintain good sanitation
  • Always practise safer sex
  • Do not drink alcohol excessively

Step 3: Understanding the basic dietary principles to aid liver disorders
Always avoid all alcohol to spare your liver and cut down drastically on fatty foods. Take a complete vitamin and mineral supplement like Centrum or Supradyn, plus Essentiale or Prohep or Guronsan.

Increase your liquid intake (water, fruit juice, etc), but cut down on coffee. If you are suffering from a condition like hepatitis, then it is also a good idea to take a product like Game and dilute it more than usual and drink a litre or so a day.

 - (Health24, updated August 2011)

Read more:

Treating hepatitis with diet
Cirrhosis of the liver
Vital hepatitis
Salt: the slow, silent killer

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