Love your liver (and remember... You can't buy love)
Posted Oct 29 2009 12:00am
There must be FIFTEEN WAYS TO LOVE YOUR LIVER
Half of all the alcohol consumed in America is consumed by only ten percent of the population. One in three adult Americans is a heavy drinker, with a sufficient liquor habit to be indistinguishable from an alcoholic. Such behavior wrecks livers.
Cirrhosis of the liver is a rather rare disease, except among alcoholics... who make it the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.! And it is 4th or 5th, in large cities among adult men. It usually takes a half quart of whiskey daily for ten years to abuse the liver to the point of cirrhosis.
The fibrous tissue that replaces normal liver in cirrhosis causes decreased liver function. Of course this leads to fluid buildup, jaundice and perhaps cancer of the liver. Cirrhosis is fairly easy to arrest by stopping alcohol. But cure is difficult and generally considered impossible. Well, as they say in the Marines, the difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.
Reversing cirrhosis is reduced to being merely very difficult if you employ the Gerson program (referenced below) and very high doses of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Corticosteroids (such as Prednisone) are commonly tried but the side effects are undesirable, and the drug is probably ineffective.
Prevention is the way to go: stop drinking. Sure, as W. C. Fields said, "It's easy to give up drinking; I've done it a thousand times.' But consider this: Fields, the highest paid comic of his time, who drank over a quart of hard liquor a day, was dead at age 66. That's not so funny.
Acute viral hepatitis, or "infectious hepatitis" is now called hepatitis A. "Chronic," "long incubation," "serum," and "posttransfusion" are now called type B. Non-A non-B may be more than one agent. All respond remarkably well to very large doses of vitamin C, the B-complex vitamins and the Gerson therapy, described below.
Vincent Zannoni at the University of Michigan Medical School has shown that vitamin C protects the liver. Even doses as low as 500 milligrams daily helps prevent fatty buildup and cirrhosis. 5,000 mg of vitamin C per day appears to actually flush fats from the liver. (Ritter, M. "Study Says Vitamin C Could Cut Liver Damage," Associated Press, October 11, 1986) And vitamin C over 50,000 mg/day (not a misprint) results in patients feeling better in just a few days, and actually eliminates jaundice in under a week. (Cathcart, Robert F. III (1981) The method of determining proper doses of vitamin C for the treatment of disease by titrating to bowel tolerance. Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry. 10:125-132.) Frederick Klenner, MD, found that such huge doses of vitamin C had his patients recovered and back to work in under a week. (Klenner, Frederick R. (1971) Observations on the dose of administration of ascorbic acid when employed beyond the range of a vitamin in human pathology. Journal of Applied Nutrition. 23(3 and 4), pp 61-68, Winter.) These and additional references are found in the highly-recommended book by Melvyn Werbach, M.D. (1988) Nutritional Influences on Illness. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.
Immediate and detailed information on vitamin C dosage and administration, written by medical doctors, will be found at
Especially vitamin B-12, which significantly reduces jaundice, anorexia, serum bilirubin, and recovery time. (Jain, A.S.C., Mukerji, D. P (1960) Observations on the therapeutic value of intravenous B-12 in infective hepatitis. Journal of the Indian Medical Association. 35:502-5; also Campbell, R. E. and Pruitt, F.W. (1952) Vitamin B-12 in the treatment of viral hepatitis. American Journal of Medical Science, 224:252) B-12 is most effective if administered by injection, which your doctor can easily arrange. If injection is not an option, there is an intra-nasal gel that improves absorption. B-12 is non-prescription, utterly non-toxic, and has no contraindications and no negative side effects.
The fiber and abundant nutrients in vegetables are a sure way to improve the health of practically any organ you can name, especially the liver. Vegetables are esentially fat-free. And, they are rich in the B-vitamin folic acid. (Folic, like in foliage. Neat, huh?) Folate has been shown to help shorten the recovery time for viral hepatitis. (Campbell, R. E. and Pruitt, F. W. (1955) The effect of vitamin B-12 and folic acid in the treatment of viral hepatitis. American Journal of Medical Science, 229:8)
Illegal drugs of all sorts (and not a few prescription drugs as well) are rough on the liver. This includes anabolic steroids. The liver is the main chemical detoxification center for your entire body. Don't push it; quit now before your liver quits on you.
The liver is the largest gland in the body, weighing in at about 4 pounds. Diseases of the liver may result in diminished ability to emulsify fats. Your liver normally makes 250 to 1,000 ml (over a quart!) of bile DAILY. Most (about 80%) of your bile salts are reabsorbed by the intestinal tract and returned to and recycled by the liver. This is how your body, with about 3.6 grams of total bile salts in it, can secrete 4 to 8 g of bile salts per single fatty meal. Gross, huh?
Fatty liver is much more common than you would expect. 25% of people have this condition, according to the Merck Manual, 14th ed. Fatty liver is the most common response of the liver to injury. It typifies the alcoholic's liver upon admission to the hospital. The Merck Manual indicates "no specific treatment" (p. 830) and says it likely indicates other problems, such as alcohol, drugs or malnutrition (oh, my!) Treatment certainly includes cessation of alcohol intake. Therapeutic juice fasting gives the liver an opportunity to use all those extra built-up fats.
If you are not in a monogamous relationship, you are at increased risk for hepatitis.
Good grief, is that so hard to do? After a bowel movement, that paper you use to clean up with is thinner than a politician's election promise. Do you really think the tissue keeps you hands squeaky clean? To put it another way, do you think it keeps someone else's hands clean enough for you? No? Then wash your hands with soap and hot water! I read once that over half of all physicians don't wash their mitts after using the toilet. I hope this is not true. My supposition is that it is, however. When heads of state, billionaires, or doctors use the john, they are about as likely as you to do what you do. Think about that in your spare time today. And wash.
Now here's an obvious argument for vegetarian diet, as only animal foods contain cholesterol, and cholesterol forms gallstones. Some people manufacture excessive cholesterol, and this can be controlled through intelligent use of therapeutic vegetable juice fasting and large doses of vitamin C, both of which significantly reduce cholesterol production.
About 33 ml of bile is stored in the average gallbladder. Many animals (rats, for instance) do not even have one. In addition to bile salts for emulsification, bile contains the pigment bilirubin, neutral fat, phospholipid, assorted mineral salts... and high concentrations of cholesterol.
The gallbladder is more than a storage receptacle. Bile is concentrated in the gallbladder. Also, water is removed, and resulting concentrated cholesterol level may be too much to remain in solution and cholesterol gallstones may precipitate out. In addition to hurting, gallstones obstruct the bile duct and thereby interfere with fat digestion. One indicator: light-colored stools. Why? Bilirubin, the bile pigment, darkens them to brown-green. Otherwise, stools would be manila to grayish-white in color. Ugh. Low-fat meals probably help prevent future gallbladder problems.
Phospholipids in bile help emulsify cholesterol. Lecithin therapy is therefore almost certainly worth trying for threatened gallstones. Three to five tablespoons daily is more likely to be effective than a few capsules. Even a large 1,200 mg capsule contains only about 1/8 tablespoon lecithin because of size limits and added carrier oils. Lecithin is harmless and without side effects. Bulk granules run between $8 and $15 per pound. Lecithin is non-prescription, and available at any health food store.
Gerson, Max A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, Totality Books, Del Mar, CA
Ray, O. and Ksir, C. Drugs, Society and Human Behavior, Mosby, 1990, chapter 9
Vander, Sherman and Luciano Human Physiology
Werbach, M. (1988) Nutritional Influences on Illness. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.
Williams, Sue R. (1993) Nutrition and Diet Therapy, seventh edition. St. Louis: Mosby.