Liver - a chemical factory
The liver is our body's greatest chemical factory. The liver:
- Builds complex molecules from simple substances absorbed from the digestive tract.
- It neutralises toxins.
- It manufactures bile, which aids fat digestion and removes some toxins through the bowels.
The ability of the liver to perform these functions may be compromised by numerous substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis. These substances include pollution, and prescription drugs. Many foods, nutrients and herbs (e.g. medicinal herb, milk thistle (Silybum marianum)) can protect liver cells from damage and facilitate the liver's role as the body's main detoxifying organ.
L-glutathione has an important antioxidant role in maintaining a healthy liver. There is clear evidence that oxygen and other toxic free radicals caused by oxidative stress are found in chronic liver disease, contributing to liver damage in various common types of chronic hepatitis. Blood and liver antioxidant levels, especially those of L-glutathione, are found to be reduced in these patients.
Foods that support and improve liver function, do so through their antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory effects. In doing so, they aid in liver cell regeneration. In the case of milk thistle, these effects are attributed silymarin and silybin, which have been shown to protect liver cells from toxins, including ethanol (alcohol), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and carbon tetrachloride. Silymarin and silybin prevent lipid peroxidation of liver cell membranes, while protecting cells from glutathione depletion. Glutathione is the body's most important intracellular antioxidant.
Another important compound found in foods is ellagic acid. Ellagic acid promotes carcinogen detoxification by stimulating the activity of various isoforms of the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase in hepatoma (liver cancer) (EAIS, 2003). Ellagic Acid is a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound found in 46 different fruits and nuts, like pomegranate, red raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and walnut. It has strong antioxidant properties.
AIM BarleyLife® is as effective as the Chinese wolfberries as an antioxidant, with an ORAC value of 25,500! AIM BarleyLife® is bursting with nutrition. It contains 2½ times the beta carotene found in an equivalent weight of raw carrots and about 25 times that found in an equivalent weight of raw broccoli. Beta carotene is an important antioxidant known to protect cells.