Today, I want to talk to you about how important it is to be nice to your liver – especially if you want to keep your body younger than your years.
And I’m not talking about cutting out that nice bottle of Bordeaux you might share with a special dinner companion on a Saturday night or depriving yourself of that fine, 18-year-old single malt you love to savor every now then.
Of course, I recommend that you always drink responsibly. But if you really want to look after your liver, my advice is to drop excess fat.
In fact, at my wellness clinic, taking good care of your liver by staying lean is one of my key anti-aging strategies.
Don’t worry… I’m not getting up on my soapbox to berate you for being victimized by food companies.
But I do want to you to understand the importance of keeping yourself trim for the sake of your liver, which will help you live better and keep your body young.
Of course, this is the kind of advice you’re unlikely to get from your own doctor, but the patients I see at my clinic are proof of the link between excess fat, a healthy liver and “staying young.”
I’ve been proving this crucial link with a new system I devised called “Age Quotient,” or AQ for short. This helps my patients track the real, biological age of their bodies – and it allows them keep improving it over time.
As your biological age grows younger, your AQ increases.
What I’ve found with my patients is that excess fat lowers your AQ. In other words, fat makes your body old.
And this is where the health of your liver comes into play.
Most people know that the liver cleans toxins from your blood. But it also secretes a vital digestive fluid called bile. Plus, it stores nutrients, as well as glycogen, a sugar fuel for the body.
When these systems aren’t working right, your body can’t use nutrients very well, and you run out of energy. You slow down, growing older before your time.
A recent study by UCLA School of Medicine backs me up on this. Researchers there found that extra pounds age your organs faster than you age in real time.
Their study bio-dated human cells, organs and tissues by tracking changes in DNA. Then they compared each patient’s chronological age with the actual physical age of their organs.
When the numbers came back, researchers were shocked. Livers age at a frighteningly fast rate in people who are overweight.
Subjects who were slightly overweight had livers that were three years older. Those who had the most excess pounds possessed livers that were a full 10 years older.
Too much fat in your liver inflames liver cells and can even kill them.
In extreme cases, the fat the infiltrates the liver, and leads to inflammation and scarring that will slowly shut down this vital organ and set the stage for diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer, and ultimately liver failure.
America is now facing a growing epidemic of liver disease, thanks to surging obesity rates, with fatty liver poised to become a more common cause of cirrhosis than alcohol.
Studies show that when livers swell with fat, the organ damage is nearly identical to that seen in heavy drinkers. But in this case, the liver damage is not done by alcohol, but by poor diet and too much weight.
There are no drugs to treat this disease that is quickly becoming the number one cause of liver transplants in America.
But even in less extreme cases, an aging liver will age your body even faster.
Although exercise, the universal panacea, along with the right diet of vegetables, can rejuvenate your liver – and even reverse some serious conditions – UCLA researchers found that it doesn’t help right away.
This also backs up what I’ve documented with my patients.
And this is why I always recommend a natural and powerful liver-booster that will help out over the short haul. It’s a virtual fountain of youth for the liver.
I’m talking about milk thistle.
I began using milk thistle to treat liver disease after I discovered that it’s been used by natural healers for more than 2,000 years. Besides cleansing the liver, it can treat jaundice, gallstones, and peritonitis, a potentially lethal abdomen infection.
The medicinal plant detoxifies and protects the liver. Its power comes from an antioxidant called silymarin, which helps repair liver cells and also keeps new liver cells from being destroyed.
A recent study at the Clinic supports what I’ve seen for years at my wellness clinic – that milk thistle can combat liver damage caused by diabetes, alcoholism and other diseases.
But medical researchers have barely scratched the surface of the anti-aging magic of milk thistle. By measuring liver serum enzymes, I have personally documented this potent herb’s ability to rejuvenate.
Apart from its benefits to the liver, silymarin can help us live longer by lengthening the vital endcaps of our chromosomes.
These endcaps, called “telomeres,” count down how long our cells will live. Every time a cell duplicates, its telomeres become shorter and shorter until the chromosomes unravel and the cell dies.
Studies show that silymarin strengthens cell walls against invaders and stimulates enzymes that combat toxins. It also defends against “free radicals,” biochemical byproducts that can damage cells.
I recommend taking one 200 mg capsule of dried milk thistle extract twice a day. And make sure the capsules contain at least 80 percent silymarin.
Your liver will repay you for years to come.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS