Cirrhosis of the Liver
A degenerative, inflammatory disease in which damage and scarring of the liver cells occur. This may be caused by alcoholism, malnutrition, viral hepatitis (B or C), chronic obstruction or inflammation and certain pharmaceutical drugs. Symptoms include fever, digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhoea, jaundice (yellowing), anaemia and bruising.
Careful and prompt attention to nutritional needs can aid immensely with recovery. Further damage can be limited by ensuring avoidance of alcohol and proper supplementation. Vitamins and minerals are likely to be deficient especially if cirrhosis is due to alcohol consumption as alcohol reduces absorption of nutrients especially B vitamins. Also, liver damage means that it is harder to for the liver to make these vitamins available in the active form to the body.
|Multi Vitamin||Needed for repair of all tissues|
|Vitamin B Complex||Necessary for absorption of nutrients and formation of red blood cells. Allows proper digestion in the liver.|
|Vitamin C||An immune enhancer and powerful antioxidant. Neutralises toxic substances.|
|Vitamin E||A powerful antioxidant. Protects the liver from damage.|
|Zinc||Needed for the immune system and the healing process|
|Selenium||A good detoxifier.|
|Calcium & Magnesium||Promotes healing of tissue. Beneficial for the nervous system.|
|Lecithin (contains choline & inositol)||Prevents fat build-up (i.e. fatty liver)|
|Co Q10||Supplies oxygen to the liver – a potent liver protector|
|EFA’s||Needed for cell protection.|
|Alfalfa||Helps to build a healthy digestive tract and prevent bleeding common in those suffering from cirrhosis caused by vitamin K deficiency. Good sources of vitamin K are alfalfa sprouts and green leafy vegetables.|
|L-Methionine||Help prevent accumulation of fat in the liver.
|L-Cysteine||Helps detoxify harmful toxins|
|L-Glutathione||A powerful antioxidant|
|L-Arginine||Helps to detoxify the high amounts of ammonia that can accumulate when the liver isn’t functioning properly. Found in fish, legumes and seeds.|
The most important and common liver herb is probably Milk Thistle. This is very important at rebuilding the liver and protecting it from further damage.
The four basic reasons for poor liver function are:
- The presence of cumulative poisons
Alcohol, pesticides and preservatives may all accumulate in the liver or put an adverse strain on other organs such as the pancreas or kidneys.
- An improper diet
Low protein, high fat and carbohydrate diets do not provide the body with the nutrients required for repair.
This is the most common form of liver malfunction. It creates extra work for the liver making it inefficient at detoxifying harmful substances.
Foreign substances require a huge workload by the liver to neutralise them into something less noxious to the body.
Other factors include: candida, contraceptive pill use and consumption of caffeine.
Do not smoke.
Avoid the following in your diet: alcohol, animal fats, sugar, milk, pastries, pepper, salt, spices, stimulants of any kind including caffeine and colas, white rice and products containing either sugar or white flour. Then keep to a minimum once liver function has returned.
Read all food labels carefully and also avoid: margarines, butters and other hardened fats, fried and fatty foods, potato chips, melted and hard cheeses, rancid nuts and oils, and all refined and processed foods. These overwork and damage the liver.
Maximise potassium containing foods such as: kelp, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, rice and wheat bran, almonds, raisins, prunes, bananas and seeds. Also eat more of: almonds, brewers yeast, grains and seeds, raw goat’s milk and products derived from goat’s milk.
A diet high in vegetable protein is recommended.
Drink plenty of water. Your body requires at least 2 litres a day and more if you are detoxifying to avoid any reactions.
A clean colon is important. Toxins accumulate in the colon and must be excreted by the liver and kidneys. Try using an enema twice a week. A coffee enema may be used specifically to detoxify the liver. Daily use of aloe vera may also assist.
A three day juice fast once every 30 days is important in any liver detoxification programme. To help cleanse the liver while fasting, drink beet juice, carrot juice, black radish extract and dandelion extract. Chlorophyll and distilled water with lemon are excellent blood purifiers and liver cleansers. Regular cleansing of the body, especially the liver, is vital to maintaining good health.
If giving up alcohol is likely to be a problem – look up “Alcoholism” under health topics for further guidance.
Nutritional Almanac, Gayla and John Kirschmann
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James and Phyllis Balch
The Physician’s Handbook of Clinical Nutrition, Henry Osiecki