What are Liver Function Tests?
Well actually, although the name would imply otherwise, these tests don’t actually assess liver function. What they actually measure is liver damage. Liver function tests measure enzymes that are produced by the liver. When liver cells are injured or damaged as in hepatitis or cirrhosis, higher amounts of these enzymes are released into the bloodstream.
Do Normal Liver Function Tests Mean Your Liver is Functioning Normally?
No. Normal liver function tests only mean that there is nothing damaging the cells of your liver. They are not an indicator that your liver is working optimally to process waste, pollution, pesticides and hormones.
What Affects Liver Function?
Genetics, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients all play a role in enhancing healthy liver function. Genetic mutations like the MTHFR mutation mean that certain steps in liver detoxification are sluggish. Vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins are all involved in certain steps of liver detoxification. Magnesium and zinc are needed for other steps.
Diseases like hepatitis and cirrhosis damage the liver, as can certain medications, alcohol, fatty liver disease and environmental pollutants.
How can I improve my liver function?
If you have hepatitis, cirrhosis or fatty liver disease, there are natural treatments that can help heal the damage done to the liver. The most prominent treatment being an extract from the herb Milk Thistle, known as silymarin. This herb has been shown to help repair damage to liver cells.
If the liver is not damaged (liver function tests are normal), but you have signs of sluggish liver function such as hormone imbalance, intolerance to drugs or alcohol, adverse effects from the birth control pill, or environmental sensitivities you can support optimal liver function by supplying all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances that support efficient liver detoxification.
By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Pamela has practiced as a naturopathic doctor in Toronto since 1999. She has received numerous “Best Naturopath in Toronto” awards. She is registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Dr. Pamela Frank uses a natural treatment approach that may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, diet, vitamins, supplements, and other natural remedies to restore balance and provide long-term resolution to almost any health problem.