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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy

The liver is, among many other functions, a detoxification organ. Different factors can raise the risk of liver disease. Poultry workers may have nine times the risk of both liver, pancreatic, and penis cancer. The standard diabetes treatment which usually involves oral hypoglycemic medications and injected insulin, can lead to liver disease. A potential side-effect of statins, often prescribed to lower cholesterol, is liver damage. Drugs often given to rheumatoid arthritis patients may be toxic to the liver. Metabolic syndrome can put people at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and chronic inflammation can cause chronic hepatitis, which may lead to liver cancer.

There are also foods which may be toxic to the liver such as noni juice; Herbalife supplements; Juice Plus+ supplements; spirulina; BPA in plastics; cod liver oil; red dye #3; pesticides; coumarin, found in some types of cinnamon; industrial fructose, such as in high fructose corn syrup; overconsumption of Brazil nuts; kava kava; high intake of pork and alcohol; and green tea supplements.

Fatty build-up in the liver appears to play a role in the development of diabetes. Animal protein intake can boost IGF-1 production from our liver, which in turn can increase cancer risk.

The following appear to promote liver health: green tea, cruciferous vegetables, Indian gooseberries, turmeric, whole grains, chlorella, and broccoli. Possibly protective against liver cancer: black beans, cranberries, coffee, and dietary phytates, found in beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.     

The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.

Image Credit: Database Center for Life Science / Wikimedia. This image has been modified.

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