Vitamins for Liver Function
The liver is the body’s largest glandular organ. It weighs about 3 lbs. and is reddish purple in color. It lies beneath the diaphragm on the right hand side of the abdomen. The liver has a number of functions, including converting glucose to glycogen, breaking down fats, filtering toxins from the blood and storing minerals and vitamins. Having an adequate supply of vitamins in your diet can help ensure the healthy function of the liver.
Vitamin B6 and the Liver
Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, is a water soluble vitamin that is metabolized in the liver. It has a number of functions including helping with the metabolism of proteins, maintaining a healthy immune system, the manufacture of hemoglobin and preventing anemia. It is an important vitamin for overall liver health because it helps with the absorption of fats and proteins. Food sources of vitamin B6 include bananas, cabbage, eggs, avocados, poultry, beef, brown rice and wheat germ.
Vitamin B1 and the Liver
Vitamin B1, thiamine, is a water soluble vitamin. It helps convert sugars into energy and is metabolized in the liver and excreted in urine. Vitamin B1 deficiency may cause liver problems. Thiamine helps to reduce the iron load in the liver and may be useful for people suffering from chronic hepatitis. Food sources of vitamin B1 include pasta, cereals, nuts, pork and liver. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of this vitamin for adults is 1.5mg.
Vitamin C and the Liver
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. Vitamin C helps to protect the liver by stimulating the production of detoxifying enzymes. Vitamin C along with B-complex vitamins can help reduce the effects of liver disorders such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. Food sources of vitamin C include oranges, kiwi, red peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe and pineapple. The USDA’s recommended daily allowance of this vitamin for adults is 90mg for men and 75mg for women, though some nutritionist reccomend higher amounts up to 2,000mg.
Vitamin D and the Liver
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is essential for the absorption of calcium, and healthy immune function. Digested nutrients are absorbed in the intestine and processed in the liver to produce vitamin D. People who suffer from liver disease may benefit from vitamin D supplements. Food sources of vitamin D include fish oils, fortified milk and fortified cereals. The recommended daily allowance of this vitamin for adults is 200 IU (or international units) to 600 IU.
Vitamin E and the Liver
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that prevents vitamin A and essential fatty acids from being oxidized in the cells. It helps the liver break down fats and with the detoxification process. Food sources of vitamin E include broccoli, spinach, nuts and seeds. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 30 IU.