More than 50 years ago, a herbal formula called Liv-52, which is derived from traditional Ayurvedic treatments, was first marketed as a liver support product. Over the decades, many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Liv-52. But this new research (from the Institute of Medicinal Plants (IMP) in Tehran, Iran) may be ‘the best-designed clinical trial of Liv-52 yet published’ according to Healthnotes Newswire.
Researchers randomly assigned Liv-52 or placebo to 36 patients with cirrhosis of the liver. During the six-month trial period the IMP team monitored liver function with several methods, including the measurement of various enzymes that mark liver damage, and analysis of ascites (excess fluid in the space between the two membranes that line the abdominal cavity).
Results showed no significant changes in the placebo group. In the Liv-52 group, however, cirrhosis markers were lowered considerably. No adverse side effects were reported.
Writing in the journal Phytomedicine, the researchers stated: ‘This protective effect of Liv-52 can be attributed to the diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and immunomodulating properties of the component herbs.’ Some of the herbs in Liv-52 are believed to boost levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that provides excellent liver support.
Liv-52 can mainly be found through practitioners, so those who have hepatitis C, cirrhosis or other serious liver problems should talk with their doctors before using Liv-52.
A number of Ks
Any patient with cirrhosis might also consider increasing their intake of vitamin K.
Previously, we told you about a Japanese study in which 40 women with cirrhosis were given 45 mg of vitamin K2 or a placebo daily for two years. Of the women in the K2 group, only two developed liver cancer, while nine of the women in the placebo group developed cancer. Because of the length of the study, the researchers were confident that K2 supplements helped reduce the risk of liver cancer.
World-renowned Dr. Allan Spreen also explained the difference between the different types of vitamin K: ‘The plant-based source of vitamin K (K1, or phylloquinone) seems to have no toxic effects in most any reasonable dose. But the synthetic form (K3, or menadione) has caused some liver toxicity and, rarely, a form of anaemia when taken in high doses. There’s also K2 (or menaquinones), but K1 and K2 are fine. As usual, it seems best to avoid synthetic forms, if possible. If the individual is on coumadin (blood thinner), he needs to talk with his doctor, as vitamin K can interfere with its effect.’
Good dietary sources of vitamin K1 include dark, leafy green vegetables (such as spinach, kale and carrot tops), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, endive, lettuce olive oil and avocados.
Vitamin K1 is converted into K2 in the intestine, but we also get some amount of K2 in meat, liver and egg yolk, and fermented products such as yoghurt and cheese.
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