Your liver plays a vital role in digestion, helping metabolize sugar, absorb fat, and excrete toxins from your body. Adults are becoming more aware of the importance of a healthy liver and are seeking ways to support this important organ. In addition to making positive lifestyle and diet choices, many people use supplements to maintain optimal liver function.
Understanding What’s in Your Liver Supplements
When choosing a liver supplement, it’s important to check the ingredient list, dosage, advertised health benefits, and user reviews. The exact ingredients depend on the brand and purpose of the supplements you choose.
When combined with a healthy lifestyle, liver support supplements can help balance the body’s natural detoxification process and maintain healthy liver function. These supplements use herbal ingredients with antioxidant properties, such as milk thistle, turmeric, and green tea extract. They also include the vitamin biotin and other active ingredients, including choline, alpha-lipoic acid, and N-acetyl-cysteine.
A Breakdown of Common Liver Supplement Ingredients
Liver supplements typically contact a combination of ingredients that are believed to support liver health.
Milk thistle is a flowering herb native to many Mediterranean countries. The seeds contain a bioactive compound called silymarin, which is believed to have hepatoprotective properties. This herbal ingredient is a potent antioxidant and is thought to support the growth and regeneration of liver cells, stimulate bile production, and have anti-inflammatory effects.
Derived from the common dandelion plant, dandelion roots have appeared as a common ingredient in natural remedies for centuries. Many claim that dandelion root supports digestive health, supports detoxification and bile flow, and reduces inflammation. Additionally, this ingredient contains several antioxidants, including flavonoids such as luteolin and apigenin, phenolic compounds including chlorogenic and caffeic acid, and beta-carotene.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract has many health benefits, which many believe could include liver support. Green tea is rich in several potent antioxidants, specifically epigallocatechin gallate. This ingredient also has anti-inflammatory properties due to its high levels of catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins.
N-acetyl-cysteine is a form of amino acid cysteine. This amino acid is an essential component for the synthesis of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant produced naturally in the body that plays a critical role in liver detoxification. When NAC is consumed, it is converted into cysteine, which is used to increase the production of glutathione. NAC has also been found to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Artichoke Leaf Extract
Artichoke leaf extract contains the compounds cynarin and silymarin, which have been shown to support the liver detoxification process. Additionally, artichoke has antioxidant properties, stimulates bile production, and is believed to help support already healthy cholesterol levels.
Choline is an organic, water-soluble nutrient that is similar to B vitamins. Egg yolks are the richest source of choline. It is also sourced from meat and poultry, whole grains, seafood, dairy products, and some vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Choline aids the liver in metabolizing fats and cholesterol and moving them out of the liver.
Liver supplements may contain a single ingredient or may use a combination of the ingredients on this list, in addition to other herbs, vitamins, and naturally derived nutrients that are believed to support liver function and health. These supplements are intended to be combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle and should work alongside your body’s natural processes to help support the longevity of your liver cells.