Check out these tips for a healthy liver.
- Cleanses your blood: processes chemicals, alcohol and other drugs
- Regulates the supply of energy, vitamins, and minerals for the body
- Produces bile for eliminating toxins and aiding digestion
- Makes proteins for blood plasma and clotting
- Regulates hormones, including sex and stress hormones
- Fights off infections.
- Be aware of the chemicals you are putting into your body. This includes over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins, and diet supplements, many of which are unregulated. If you are unsure, consult your doctor about all medications and supplements.
- Follow correct dosing instructions and never mix medication with alcohol (e.g. acetaminophen combined with alcohol can lead to liver failure).
- Avoid “street drugs” and paraphernalia. They can put you at risk of contracting hepatitis B or C.
- Limit alcohol consumption. When you drink alcohol, your liver must process it and detoxify your blood. As far as your liver is concerned, the safest amount of alcohol is no alcohol at all.
- Take precautions with body art, piercings, painted nails and toes. Make sure the business sterilizes tools and equipment between clients (e.g. an autoclave machine for needles to neutralize the hepatitis virus).
- Vaccinate before vacations. At least one month before your trip, visit your doctor and ask if immunizations are recommended for hepatitis A and B (none exists for hepatitis C) or other diseases like malaria and yellow fever. Many immunizations take time to become effective.
- Practise safe sex. Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. Use a condom if you don’t know your partner’s sexual history, and do not share personal hygiene items like toothbrushes, razors or nail clippers. If you suspect that you or your partner may have been exposed to hepatitis A, B or C, contact your doctor right away.
- Keep your home liver-friendly. Avoid the use of pesticides, harmful cleaners and paints. Use a mask when necessary.
- Eat nutritious food and drink lots of water. Eat small regular meals. Drink 6-8 glasses of fluids (preferably water) per day. Eat a variety of whole foods. Avoid processed foods, which often contain too little fibre and too much sugar, salt and saturated fat.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise is an important way to combat liver disease. ParticipAction recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week for adults, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
A long-time North Vancouver resident, Wiley works as a technical writer and is the current newsletter editor for the North Shore Writers’ Association. She spends her free time reading, hiking and discovering new things to try at North Vancouver Recreation & Culture!