The liver takes part in digestive and metabolic functions that are essential for overall health. Your liver works hard processing everything you ingest, so even a healthy liver gets exerted, and then it regenerates. The right nutrients are essential to this regeneration and proper liver function

There is no one ‘magic’ nutrient or food, but there are five essential nutrients you want in your diet to help promote optimal liver health. 

1. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering herb that has been used for centuries to support liver health. Your liver processes everything you ingest, leaving it exposed to typical oxidative stress as it works to clear them from your body. Silybin, the active compound in milk thistle, helps to reduce this occasional oxidative stress. 

In addition to helping to reduce this typical oxidative stress, silybin also supports liver cell strength, helping to keep everyday environmental toxins from crossing into the cells and promoting the liver’s natural detoxification process. 

Milk thistle supplements with at least 80 milligrams of silybin are considered safe and effective. For optimal liver function, the silybin in Siliphos® extract is a great place to start. With a higher bioavailability than traditional milk thistle extracts, you can be assured your liver is getting the support it needs. 

milk thistle

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds which support the health of several systems in the body. Specifically, tocotrienols found in this vitamin are known to support liver health and function. These are powerful cleansing compounds that help to reduce everyday oxidative stress and support healthy liver cell division. 

As we age, our ability to retain vitamin E diminishes, so it is important to maintain healthy levels as part of your daily routine. The daily recommended intake of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams per day, and you can find this in foods such as spinach, almonds, pumpkin, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, and fruits. You can also add a supplement to your diet to ensure your liver is getting all it needs. 

3. Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral found in soil, and in small amounts, it can provide great support for your liver. As a purifying mineral, selenium helps to reduce typical oxidative stress to promote the liver’s natural detoxification process. It also supports liver cell and tissue elasticity to maintain proper shape and function.

The daily recommended intake for adults is 55 mcg per day. The most common food sources for selenium include seafood, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, poultry, and eggs. Many Americans, however, do not get the recommended amounts through food, so for optimal liver support, you may want to consider trying a selenium supplement. 

4. Zinc

Zinc is another trace mineral that can do great things in small amounts. As a key component for the activity of over 100 enzymes, zinc helps aid the body’s detoxification process to support both liver and digestive health. By helping to reduce unwanted immune responses, zinc also supports healthy liver cell division and function.

The recommended dietary intake of zinc for adults is 11 milligrams a day for men and 8 milligrams for women. You can find zinc in foods like poultry, seafood, legumes, whole grains, avocados, berries, mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds. You can also add a liver health supplement that contains an effective dose of zinc to your routine. 

grains and nuts

5. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) comes from L-Cysteine, a semi-essential amino acid produced in the body that requires other amino acids for its production. When your diet is low in these amino acids, NAC becomes vital. You can find this amino acid in foods like poultry, eggs, cheese, sunflower seeds, lentils, yogurt, and oatmeal. 

It is important to maintain levels of N-acetyl cysteine, as it helps to replenish glutathione in your body. In doing so, NAC helps to reduce occasional oxidative stress, allowing time for healthy liver cell production and regeneration when needed. It also promotes healthy detoxification. 

LiverMD® for Extra Support

With some exceptions, a balanced diet provides adequate nutrients for most people. However, life can get in the way, and you don’t want your liver health to miss out on the essential nutrients they need. 

1MD Nutrition’s LiverMD® is a scientifically-formulated liver health solution packed with naturally-sourced ingredients to support liver function. In addition to Siliphos’ highly bioavailable milk thistle extract, this comprehensive formula offers six additional liver-supporting ingredients:

TocoGaia™ is a patented and clinically-studied form of vitamin E with all eight forms of the cleansing vitamin to provide effective antioxidant support for your liver. 

Selenium amino acid chelate is an essential detoxifying aid that supports healthy liver function. 

♦ Zinc helps support the body’s detoxification process as well as liver cell health. 

L-cysteine promotes glutathione production to help support healthy liver cell production and regeneration.

Alpha-lipoic acid promotes antioxidant capacity in and around the liver and helps liver enzymes create energy from the nutrients you consume. 

Final Thoughts

Nutrition is one of the most important factors in the promotion of liver health, along with regular exercise, stress management, and healthy weight management. The best way to meet the nutritional needs of your liver is with a balanced diet that includes these essential nutrients. So don’t worry, if life gets in the way sometimes because 1MD Nutrition’s LiverMD® has you covered.

Dr. David Kahana

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Dr. David Kahana is board certified in Pediatrics and Gastroenterology through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), as well as Medical Nutrition through the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists.