You will likely be familiar with the word ‘antioxidant’, as it appears everywhere on TV advertisements, food commercials, the internet, and even in cosmetic products. WE have all been made aware that antioxidants are beneficial for our health, but what do they actually do in terms of promoting liver health?
We can help increase our daily intake of antioxidants through superfoods, eating fruit, , and antioxidant supplements. We wanted to have a better look at what they do, and how they can help improve liver health.
What is oxidative stress?
To get a better understanding of what antioxidants are and what role they play in improving liver health, then first we must know what the liver’s biggest enemy is - oxidative stress.
Oxidation takes place in our bodies every day, including in the liver. Oxidation is a chemical process that produces free radicals, which are associated with many diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Free radicals are essential to life because they help produce energy from air and food. But when there are too many free radicals, the body is unable to keep up with its antioxidant defence mechanism, and oxidative stress occurs.
Some common signs that show we are under oxidative stress are fatigue, headaches, and susceptibility to infections.
Our liver is under constant attack from oxidative stress which is induced by factors such as alcohol, drugs, toxins, virus, obesity, and insulin resistance. As time goes by, oxidative stress builds up and severe liver diseases develop.
A balance between free radicals and antioxidants
The health status of the liver is determined by the balance between the production of free radicals and antioxidant defences. In healthy people, there are more or less the same levels of production on each side, but for people with liver diseases, free radical production far outweighs free radical elimination, leading to the development of different liver issues.
To combat the excess free radicals and lessen oxidative stress, the body needs antioxidants. Our bodies can produce antioxidants, however, it is often not in large enough amounts, and we need to supplement the antioxidant levels in the body with extra from our diets.
Antioxidants as a key element to liver health
Since the role of antioxidants is so significant in maintaining liver health, there has been an increasing number of studies and researches that focus on the therapeutic effects of herbal therapies with antioxidant properties on recovering liver health.
According to many studies, including that of the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in the US, edible or medicinal plants often contain natural antioxidants that have strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging abilities, as well as anti-inflammatory action, which are proven to be beneficial to liver health recovery.
As the key to liver health lies in its oxidative balance, it is important to include antioxidants in our diet and at the same time stay away from the factors that contribute to oxidative stress. In that way, maintaining good liver health is not as difficult as it appears.
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