Worldwide, millions of people suffer from liver disease. Its main cause is one or the combination of the following factors, such as inflammation, drug treatments, alcohol consumption, overweight, obesity and infections.
Inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis and the most common causes are liver toxicity, infections and certain diseases.
Liver toxicity is common, especially with drug treatments. Many people use painkillers and fever-reducing medicine without being aware of their likelihood for causing serious, sometimes deadly, consequences when taken in excess. Easy access and an abundant presence make these drugs the most common culprit for accidental and potentially life-threatening overdose. Accidental poisoning can lead to liver failure requiring liver transplants. The toxicity of drugs depletes the body’s antioxidant pool. Such depletion exposes the body to free radical damage, thus increasing the risk of many other adverse effects.
However, scientific discoveries that cast new light on the role of nutrients in treating liver toxicity have been made. The results indicate that vitamin C, amino acids and other natural compounds can be effective in treating such condition.
Hepatitis can progress to fibrosis (scarring of the liver) and to conditions associated with high mortality such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Cirrhosis is the result of exacerbate fibrosis that changes the normal structure of the liver. In its final stages cirrhosis is usually irreversible and a liver transplant may be necessary. Cirrhosis increases the risk of developing liver cancer.
Liver cancer incidence has dramatically increased worldwide. Invasion, metastasis and recurrence contribute to the high mortality rate of this disease. Interestingly, it was shown that micronutrients such as lysine, proline and ascorbic acid, together with epigallocatechin gallate or green tea extract, synergistically exert anti-cancer activity. The scientific literature also highlights the pivotal role of other micronutrients in fighting liver cancer, such as N-acetylcysteine, selenium, copper and zinc.