Reducing The Need For Transplantation
One way to address liver transplantation shortages is to improve treatments for liver diseases. While current medications can effectively cure hepatitis C, a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, other liver diseases haven’t seen the same progress.
Because very few effective treatments are available for illnesses like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic liver disease, many patients worsen and end up needing a liver transplant.
My team and I believe that improving the liver’s ability to repair itself could help circumvent the need for transplantation. Further study of drugs that promote liver regeneration may help curb the burden of liver disease worldwide.
When You Abuse Alcohol The Liver Takes A Beating
Many alcoholics consume large quantities of alcohol for decades and then make the courageous decision to get sober. But by then, their liver has sustained years of abuse and has most likely become ill due to the effects of the alcohol. Most chronic alcoholics have been told just how dangerous alcohol is to the liver at some point during their abuse of alcohol. Nevertheless, alcoholism doesnt allow the alcoholic to care and the drinking continues. Sadly, the liver sustains a beating and becomes damaged. And after years of processing mass quantities of alcohol, it often no longer functions properly. Before we learn about healing the liver from alcohol abuse, lets take a moment to learn more about some of the most common liver diseases caused by alcoholism liver fibrosis, fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver. All three of these conditions can be diagnosed with a blood test.
Mouse Study Reveals How To Help Speed Up The Liver’s Self
The liver is known for its ability to regenerate. It can completely regrow itself even after two-thirds of its mass has been surgically removed. But damage from medications, alcohol abuse, or obesity can eventually cause the liver to fail.
Currently, the only effective treatment for end-stage liver disease is transplantation.
However, there is a dearth of organs available for transplantation. Patients may have to wait from 30 days to over 5 years to receive a liver for transplant in the US. Of the over 11,600 patients on the waiting list to receive a liver transplant in 2021, only a little over 9,200 received one.
But what if, instead of liver transplantation, there were a drug that could help the liver regenerate itself?
I am the founding director of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center and run a lab studying liver regeneration and cancer. In our recently published research, my team and I found that activating a particular protein with a new medication can help accelerate regeneration and repair after severe liver injury or partial surgical removal in mice.
Recommended Reading: Do Probiotics Help Gut Health
Liver Disease & Pancreatitis
Along with looking at the impact of alcohol on the liver, its also relevant to consider how alcoholism causes pancreatitis. There is acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.
The pancreas is a gland behind the stomach responsible for releasing digestive enzymes and works with the liver to process substances. An inflamed pancreas is called pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis is sudden onset inflammation thats short-lived. The results of the condition range significantly, from being mildly uncomfortable to fatal, but most people recover. Chronic pancreatitis has symptoms similar to acute, but theres frequent pain, weight loss and the potential for diabetes to develop.
In the majority of cases, alcohol causes acute pancreatitis, although other causes may include trauma, metabolic conditions or infections. Heavy, long-time alcohol use accounts for about 60-90% of chronic pancreatitis cases.
Having chronic pancreatitis puts you at risk for other serious illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. Stopping alcohol use significantly increases your chances of recovering from pancreatitis.
What Quantity Of Alcohol Usage Should Be Seen As Being A Risk To The Liver
Any amount of alcohol can produce damage to the liver. In an otherwise healthy person with no underlying liver problems, the general rule of thumb is different for men and women:
- Men metabolize and are able to clear alcohol more efficiently than women due to body size, body fat, and certain enzymes, so they should limit to three to four drinks in a day.
- Women, because of the same reasons, should limit to one to two drinks in a day.
Beer and wine are not safer than whiskey or spirits. One drink is defined as one shot of whiskey or spirits, one four-ounce glass of wine, or one 12-ounce beer. If an individual has an underlying liver condition such as hepatitis B or C, or prior damage from alcohol or other diseases, the liver is very sensitive to any amount of alcohol. In those conditions, the only safe dose of alcohol is zero.
You May Like: Foods To Eat For Healthy Gut
Antibiotics And Gut Health: What Goes Wrong
Antibiotics have one job: kill bacteria and stop them from multiplying. However, this simple task is what leads to a disruption in your gut microbiome.
Antibiotics cannot tell the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Their job is to simply go to your gut and kill bacteria. They dont discriminate between the good and bad.
When antibiotics enter your system and kill off bacteria seemingly at random, your balance of good and bad bacteria can be thrown out of wack. This is a major issue as the good bacteria in your system play a vital role in protecting you from issues such as SIBO or Candida overgrowth. As the number of good bacteria in your gut decreases, you become susceptible to overgrowths of other organisms, including a yeast called Candida.
While a small amount of yeast is normal and necessary, Candida is opportunistic. If given the chance, such as antibiotic usage killing off protective good bacteria, it will grow and multiply quickly especially when its fed sugar, carbohydrates, or alcohol. When yeast starts to multiply, it can damage the lining of your intestinal walls. This leads to increased intestinal permeability and whats known as leaky gut.
What Are The Risks Or Complications Of Liver Resection Surgery
Complications may include:
- Infection. You can get an infection in your incision wound, your urinary tract or your lungs . Your provider treats such infections with antibiotics.
- Bleeding. Your liver has a lot of blood vessels, and its also responsible for making your blood clot stop bleeding. Liver surgery interferes with this process, so sometimes patients bleed too much. Some may need a blood transfusion after surgery.
- Bile leakage. Damage to any of the bile ducts in your liver during surgery can cause bile to leak, which may collect inside your abdomen. This may require placing an additional drain.
- Pleural effusion. After liver surgery, fluid can easily build up inside your chest cage. It can cause chest pain and shortness of breath. It may be treated with medication or may need to be drained.
- Ascites. Liver surgery can also cause a buildup of fluid in your abdominal cavity. It may be treated with medication or may need to be drained.
- Deep vein thrombosis. After any surgery, theres a risk of blood clots from being in bed for a long time. Pay attention to any spot on your arms or legs that seems swollen or sore.
- Kidney failure. Sometimes surgery can cause your kidneys to stop working. It is important to stay well hydrated.
- Liver failure. If the remaining liver doesnt have enough function left, you can go into liver failure. In this case, you may need an urgent liver transplant.
Read Also: Lose Weight After Gallbladder Removal
Include Prebiotics And Probiotics In Your Diet
These good-for-you types of bacteria are a sure way to replenish good bacteria after antibiotics. Prebiotics work alongside probiotics to help restore the good bacteria in your gut in order to keep your health in tip-top shape. Prebiotics and probiotics can be incorporated into your diet through supplements or by eating certain probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods:
- Probiotic-rich Foods greek yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, raw cheese, and miso
- Prebiotic-rich Foods rye, asparagus, bananas, oats, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, yacon root
While common sense would tell you to down these foods at the same time as antibiotics to cancel them out, thats not how our body works. In order for your body to actually benefit from the prebiotics and repopulate good bacteria, prebiotics should be eaten a few hours either before or after you take your antibiotics. If antibiotics are taken along with prebiotics, the medication will kill the good bacteria immediately instead of allowing your gut to absorb it properly.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Liver Disease
The most important thing to recognize about liver disease is that up to 50 percent of individuals with underlying liver disease have no symptoms. The most common symptoms are very non-specific and they include fatigue or excessive tiredness, lack of drive, and sometimes itching. Signs of liver disease that are more prominent are jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, very pale or light colored stool, bleeding from the GI tract, mental confusion, and retention of fluids in the abdomen or belly.
Don’t Miss: Risk Factors Of Pancreatic Cancer
Focus On A Healthy Diet
Another way you can help give your liver a rest is by eating a liver-friendly diet. This includes:
- getting sufficient fiber from sources like whole grains as well as fresh fruits and vegetables
- choosing lean protein sources, such as seafood, skinless poultry, or legumes, as opposed to fattier meats
- reducing your intake of foods or drinks that are high in sugars, salt, or unhealthy fats
- limiting your intake of processed foods and choosing whole foods instead
- avoiding raw or undercooked shellfish
- drinking plenty of water each day to stay hydrated
Certain types of liver conditions may require more specific dietary adjustments. Be sure to discuss what these may be with your doctor.
Question: Can The Human Kidney Repair Itself
It was thought that kidney cells didnt reproduce much once the organ was fully formed, but new research shows that the kidneys are regenerating and repairing themselves throughout life. Contrary to long-held beliefs, a new study shows that kidneys have the capacity to regenerate themselves.
Also Check: Homemade Diet For Dogs With Pancreatitis
What Foods And Drinks Are Bad For Your Kidneys
Here are 17 foods that you should likely avoid on a renal diet. Dark-colored soda. In addition to the calories and sugar that sodas provide, they harbor additives that contain phosphorus, especially dark-colored sodas. Avocados. Canned foods. Whole wheat bread. Brown rice. Bananas. Dairy. Oranges and orange juice.
You May Like: Why Does All My Fat Go To My Stomach
What Are The 3 Stages Of Arld
Alcohol causes liver damage in three stages.
You May Like: Metastatic Colon Cancer To Liver
You May Like: Symptoms Of Liver Cancer Stage 1
Bottom Line On Liver Repair After You Quit Drinking Alcohol
Its normal to want to see the benefits of sobriety as soon as possible after quitting drinking. You get results fairly quickly with the liver, depending on the many factors discussed in this article.
On the flip side, ignoring early warning signs of liver damage or prolonging alcohol abuse puts your health at significant risk.
If youre concerned about your drinking and/or think you might be at risk for liver disease, speak with your doctor. Early prevention is so important.
If you need additional resources, check out the following:
Causes & Symptoms Of Alcoholic Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis can lead to several symptoms that can range from irritating to potentially deadly. The most serious of these symptoms are yellowing of the skin and eyes, increased bleeding and swelling.
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes: Increased yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes is a serious symptom of alcoholic cirrhosis. Jaundice indicates a malfunctioning liver, leading to a buildup of toxins that could eventually become deadly. Someone who experiences jaundice should seek emergency medical help.
- Increased bruising or bleeding: Increased bleeding occurs because the liver stops making enough of the components needed for blood clotting. It can also cause a person to bruise easier than they used to. This side effect is dangerous: even a minor source of bleeding can cause significant blood loss because the bleeding cannot be stopped easily. If you notice that you have increased bleeding, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Swelling in the abdomen, feet, legs or ankles: The last important symptom of alcoholic cirrhosis is swelling, especially within the abdomen. This swelling, also called ascites, occurs when the liver no longer makes proteins that keep water within the veins. This indicates that the liver is not functioning as it should. The buildup of fluid in the abdomen can lead to serious health problems.
Recommended Reading: Ancient Nutrition Gut Restore Reviews
What Determines Liver Healing Time
Healing time depends on the level and type of liver damage. If someones liver has mild to moderate damage and the hepatitis C virus is eliminated and no other liver damage effects are occurring, the liver can regenerate and heal within a few days up to 3-6 months, approximately.1-3
The liver cannot regenerate after severe scarring, such as cirrhosis, though new research is being done with medications to help improve liver function for those with cirrhosis. For those with liver transplants, liver regeneration time can range from several months to 6 months from a traditional liver transplant or living donor transplant .1-3
Also Check: Natural Ways To Improve Gut Health
How Gut Bacteria Affects The Brain And Body
Before looking at how to replenish gut bacteria, you need to understand how it may be affecting you. This will tell you if you have a gut bacteria imbalance.
Hardly anyone considers how their mental health could be linked to their gut health. However, this is one of the most obvious signs that your gut health could be suffering.
Gut microbes produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and GABA,all of which have an effect on the brain. Most notably, concentration, mood, anxiety, and motivation are all affected by your gut bacteria and the number of neurotransmitters that are being produced. Depression, anxiety, and the ability to control and process emotions are all symptoms of bad gut health.
Your metabolism is also adversely affected by bad gut health. This can eventually lead to issues such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohnâs disease and ulcerative colitis are caused by a lack of anti-inflammatory gut bacteria. This also makes developing arthritis more likely.
Donât Miss: Can Sludge In The Gallbladder Cause Constipation
Also Check: Does Leaky Gut Cause Bad Breath
What Does The Liver Do Anyway
To give you a brief lesson in biology, the liver is a large organ in the digestive system. It weighs about three pounds. Its number one function is to filter blood coming from your digestive tract before that blood flows to the rest of your body. The liver works to detoxify chemicals that pass through the body. It metabolizes drugs and alcohol. It also secretes an enzyme called bile, which aids the body in digestion. Additionally, the liver produces protein, which is vital to the clotting of your blood. When this organ is not healthy, your body cannot function properly. It is essential to your health and well-being. When your liver does not effectively rid the body of toxins and assist with the process of digestion, a host of really nasty health problems inevitably come about.
Also Check: Sudden Weight Gain In Stomach And Thighs
How Much Alcohol Can Cause Liver Damage
Studies indicate that the effects of alcohol intake depend on individual factors such as weight, size, genetics, gender, and underlying health conditions.5
In contrast to men, women absorb more alcohol from each drink, putting them at higher risk of liver disease. The liver may be harmed by drinking two to three alcoholic beverages daily.
Furthermore, binge drinking, or consuming four or five drinks in one session, may harm the liver. Those who consume 40 grams of alcohol daily risk developing liver cirrhosis.
Alcoholic hepatitis affects those who have been drinking excessively for several years. On the other hand, cirrhosis patients often have a history of excessive drinking that spans more than ten years.
You May Like: What Does Pancreatic Cancer Feel Like
Improve Liver Function Naturally To Regenerate
The liver is an extremely regenerative organ. Even if half of the liver were severely damaged, it could fully regenerate of course only if the damaging factors are avoided in the future.
So, the sooner you are ready to consciously relieve your liver and naturally help it build its cells, the sooner your entire body will benefit from the effects of your liver-friendly measures. So, relieve your liver.