Nootropics for your Liver
Alcoholism is as common as the liver diseases it can lead to. As of 2015, it was reported that 2.5 million people were treated for alcohol abuse. Two years earlier, reports showed that 24.6 percent of people over the age of eighteen were actively binge drinking.
For all you bibbers out there banging down brewskies like they’re mother’s milk, you should be forewarned. The liver is vital because it performs many functions in the body. This football-shaped organ processes everything we put into our bodies, breaking down food and drink to provide nutrients and give us energy. It is responsible for filtering out substances that are deleterious from our blood.
Alcohol damages our liver cells and causes an acute uptake in dangerous liver enzymes. The liver is compromised when you consume more alcohol than it can process. This leads to a number of unwanted conditions including alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.
As a chronic alcoholic myself, I can attest to the fact that years of heavy drinking can wreak havoc on your liver. After nearly fifteen years of frequent drinking, I have found that my annual battery of blood tests yields astronomical liver enzyme counts, counts that rise exponentially as each year passes.
After two failed attempts at alcohol detox, the side effects of my chronic alcoholism have grown in intensity. Chronic ulcerous pain in my belly has manifested; the presence of an ulcer or deterioration of stomach lining doesn’t always show up on scans or in the course of having an endoscopy performed.
For you boozehounds who aren’t in the know, an endoscopy is a procedure implemented to determine whether any damage has been done to the esophagus, stomach, liver, etc. It consists of doctors running a tube down your throat. Hardly pleasant stuff and reason enough to stop rumming it up or cracking those suds.
In my case, chronic alcoholism has also resulted in involuntary contractions of my esophageal sphincter, the consequence of which is frequent gagging, dry heaving and, yes, vomiting. Think about all that barfing the next time you drool over a twelve pack of beers or a bottle of whiskey.
Fatty liver disease is the most common result from a moderate period of daily heavy drinking. It is caused by excessive deposits of fat in liver cells and it’s the initial stage in liver disease that does, in eventuality, lead to the deadly dreaded cirrhosis.
For many of us, we are already at this stage. But that doesn’t mean it is too late to reverse or treat the symptoms. Doctors will have you believe that you have to jump right to total alcohol cessation, but the truth is much different.
There are a number of potent and effective herbal substances that can protect your liver and reverse the damage you’ve already done to your body’s second largest organ (your first largest organ is your skin, another thing that alcohol negatively effects in the long run).
Choline is a powerful cognitive enhancer that can aid in reasoning (thereby making it possible for an inebriated person to stop themselves from going for another drink) and helps to metabolize fat. Research has shown that its insulin function contains an integral compotent which can prevent fatty liver disease. Reviews suggest that it may be useful to those already diagnosed with the disease.
This potent flavonoid improves metabolism of alcohol and alcohol’s chief metabolite. It works by increasing enzymatic activity. It stymies alcohol at a neurological level, binding to GABA receptors and, consequently, wards off hangovers. As of this writing, however, DHM has yet to be approved as safe for consumption due to insufficient clinical studies. Be cautious and do your research.
Perhaps the most popular supplement for fatty liver disease prevention and treatment, milk thistle works to regenerate the liver and reverse the damage alcohol abuse causes. It is ordinarily taken the morning after a binge to undo what the drinker has done the night before. By promoting an uptake in the rate of protein synthesis, it makes it more possible to expediently repair alcohol-induced damage. Many folks implement milk thistle as a detoxifier after a night of binging, but it is also valuable as a daily supplement.
An antioxidant similar in nature to pyroxidine, Emoxypine is an iteration of Vitamin B6, a good companion to Vitamin B 1 (thiamine, a substance that long-term alcohol use depletes). It has therapeutic effects on those suffering from alcoholism and the side effects of the same. In studies conducted on rats, Emoxypine was shown to reverse the learning disabilities typical of alcoholics. For this reason, one can speculate that daily Emoxypine use may prevent wet brain (an irreversable condition that develops after years of acute intoxication).
A cholinergic nootropic, Piracetam is effective in bolstering cognitive ability and is thought to protect cognitive functioning against the adverse effects of alcohol impairment. By inhibiting the overgrowth of neuronal lipofuscin, it reverses neurodegeneration.
As with all nootropic substances, this one should be taken with care and caution as it is a racetam, a school of substances that can have an overstimulating effect. Piracetam’s side effects may include hypertension and nervousness.
Ethanol concentrations are a key component of the negative impact alcohol abuse has on the human body. L-Theanine has reportedly reduced ethanol concentrations in clinical studies. Alcohol inhibits the antioxidant capability of liver cells. L-Theanine works to restore these antioxidant abilities. As a result, it is believed that this compound can enable a person to recover faster from the effects of alcohol.
With nootropic enthusiasts getting into stacks, it’s no surprise that people have perfected the stacking of supplements that can protect the liver.
Fundamental Detox – Liver Health & Detoxification is one such blend. From Fundamental ® Earth, this proprietary blend is billed as supporting Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification, aiding in liver fat metabolism. The vegetarian formula contains the following ingredients:
- Milk Thistle
- Calcium Glucarate
- Choline Bitartrate
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
Calcium Glucarate is effective at cellular detoxification while the water-soluble Choline Bitartrate prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver. L-Glycine causes a reduction liver damage effects and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
The average price of a 60 capsule bottle of Fundamental Detox is $14.99 in the US.
Another popular supplement is NOW Foods’ Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator, a 180 capsule bottle that sells for as little as $19.99. NOW Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator contains the following ingredients:]
- Milk Thistle
- Vitamin C
- Artichoke (Leaf)
- Raspberry (Leaf)
- Pancreatin (Pancreatic Enzymes)
- Setria ™ L-Glutathione (Reduced)
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
- Grape Seed Extract
- Dandelion Root
- Scute Root
- Schisandra (Fruit)
- Barberry (Root Bark)
- Organic Tumeric (Root)
I have been using NOW Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator for a week now. The first morning I took it I followed the label with disastrous results. NOW’s recommended dosage is 3 capsules. Taken all at once, they caused stomach discomfort, tightness in my chest, hot tingling on my ears and face, and a general sense of cardiac disruption. My heart rate was jacked up and I felt off. An hour later, the feeling mostly passed.
The following day, I took two pills together and had similar sensations. I decided it was not advisable to take them together, rather I should space out my usage over the course of the day.
On my third day, I took one capsule in the morning and experienced slightly milder manifestations of the above. This may have been exacerbated by my drinking half a cup of coffee, therefore caffeine should probably be avoided while taking this blend.
It took a total of four days for my body to grow accustomed to NOW Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator use. I now take one pill in the morning with a bottle of spring water, then wait until late afternoon to take a second after eating. Time will tell whether this blend reduces my liver enzymes.
Everybody is different and not every supplement will agree with every person that takes them. It is best to shop around and see what works best for you. I would strongly advise users to experiment with their own individual stacks.