4 simple tips from a hepatologist to avoid liver disease

4 simple tips from a hepatologist to avoid liver disease

A sick liver is a disaster for the body…

The liver is an essential organ in the body: it provides more than 300 essential functions to the proper functioning of the body, hence the importance of taking care of it. “If the liver is no longer able to perform its functions, the rest of the body will quickly suffer from the absence of nutrients and the accumulation of waste and toxins in the blood.“, immediately explains Professor Patrick Marcellin, hepatologist at Beaujon hospital and President of the association for the fight against liver diseases (APHC). In France, LThe number of liver diseases has increased significantly these last years, notably fatty liver disease (NASH). However, thanks to some common sense reflexesliver diseases could be avoided.

1. No more than 2 glasses of alcohol per day (and not every day)

Alcohol is extremely toxic to the liver. “80% of liver diseases are linked to excessive alcohol consumption and hepatitis, which can themselves be caused by alcohol, indicates Professor Marcellin. The liver processes everything we ingest and then plays a filter role: it is capable of metabolizing alcohol using different enzymes. However, the liver can only neutralize a certain amount of alcohol in a given time. When the amount of alcohol is too large, the liver can no longer process it properly. Consequence: the toxins contained in alcohol accumulate in liver cells and damage the liver. It is the quantity of alcohol swallowed that is toxic to the liver, regardless of whether it is “strong” alcohol (whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, etc.) or “light” alcohol. ” like beer. Whatever the beverage, the liver does not like excess. There is no consumption threshold to completely limit the risks of developing alcoholic liver disease, however, Public Health France and the National Cancer Institute have established benchmark values ​​for alcohol consumption which are:

  • Maximum 10 standard glasses of alcohol per week
  • No more than 2 standard glasses per day (men and women) and not every day. Experts recommend having days during the week without alcohol consumption.

2. Moderate consumption of red meat (and vitamin C)

Some liver diseases are triggered by an overload of iron in the body, called “hemochromatosis”. This disease is most often of genetic origin and therefore cannot be prevented. Another form of iron overload is called “acquired” caused by excess iron absorption, by repeated blood transfusions, or by excess oral absorption. “To prevent iron overload, it is not recommended to follow an iron-free diet, but it is nevertheless advisable to moderate foods rich in iron (such as red meat) and especially the intake of vitamin C tablets because it increases the iron absorption“. Taking tea, provided it corresponds to large enough volumes, can be moderately beneficial (because tea decreases iron absorption).

3. Beware of fatty foods (especially during menopause)

Liver disease can be triggered by excess fat in the liver, called “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease” (NASH), which can progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer. It can affect everyone, at any age. “It mainly affects men over 50, but also women after menopause in people who are even slightly overweight, who have an “American” diet (soda, fast food, diet rich in carbohydrates…) or poorly balanced or who present certain risk factors (diabetes, cholesterol, triglycerides, or high blood pressure)lists Professor Patrick Marcellin. Sometimes losing 4-5 kilos already allows you to eliminate a good portion of fat in the liver.

4. Monitor your transaminases

In the event of previously mentioned risk factors or in the event of warning symptoms such as a heavy or painful liver, black stools or persistent fatigue, “talk to your doctor who will be able to prescribe additional tests (blood test to assess the level of transaminases or gamma GT) in order to monitor the health of your liver“, indicates the hepatologist. A high level of transaminases reflects liver damage.