Vitamins and minerals for liver health

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One of the main roles of the liver is to remove harmful substances (detoxification) from the body that we encounter on a daily basis. This can be from the air we breathe, the food we consume or products we use. Potentially harmful substances are also produced as a result of normal body processes. Detoxification of these substances occurs via two pathways in the liver known as phase 1 and phase 2. These pathways convert toxins and chemicals into water‐soluble compounds that can be easily excreted from the body via the urine or stools. To perform detoxification processes properly, the liver requires certain vitamins and minerals.

  • For phase 1 detoxification, the liver requires several nutrients including:1
    • Vitamin B2
    • Vitamin B3
    • Vitamin B6
    • Folic acid
    • Vitamin B12
    • Branched‐chain amino acids
    • Flavonoids
  • For phase 2 detoxification, the liver requires various amino acids such as glycine, taurine,arginine, ornithine and glutamine.1

As a consequence of phase 1 detoxification reactions, sometimes toxic molecules and free radicals can be produced, which can cause cell damage if they’re not further metabolized by phase 2.1 However, certain antioxidants can help protect cells from damage during this intermediary phase including:1

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Bioflavonoids

To ensure your liver gets the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs to function properly, it’s important to consume a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, adequate protein from lean meats and fish, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds and whole grains. Taking a comprehensive multivitamin or liver support supplement may also assist detoxification processes in the liver.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

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Published June 11, 2014
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