The liver is the main organ in charge of metabolizing nutrients, medicine, and other toxic substances, and it can be affected by liver toxicity.
In other words, it is a big filter that separates toxic elements. It does this before it reaches your blood stream and other tissues.
However, the body doesn’t process these substances correctly in some cases. So, they can hurt the liver.
What is liver toxicity?
Hepatotoxicity is liver damage from exposure to a drug or other non-drug element.
The liver’s ability to filter substances makes it vulnerable to toxicity.
In fact, liver toxicity is a significant health problem both in the United States and Europe. What’s more, it has become more of a problem in recent years, even triggering the recall of certain products from the market.
Some of these hepatic toxins are:
- A wide variety of medications (mainly antibiotics and anti-inflammatories)
- Industrial or natural substances (for example: mushrooms, too much green tea) that causes an abnormal reaction in the body.
“Take a look at this too: 6 Foods that Detox Your Liver and Keep it Healthy”
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are very similar to viral hepatitis.
Basically, liver toxicity may present as any other kind of hepatopathy. In other words, this includes illnesses that keep the liver from working correctly.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in stool color
- Darker urine
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Itching of the skin
Some people don’t show any symptoms. However, the condition tends to be identified shortly after exposure to certain predictable hepatic toxins.
Otherwise, with unpredictable hepatic toxins, the symptoms may take weeks, or even months, to appear.
What products are related to liver toxicity?
Nutritional and herbal supplements
Although many people don’t realize it, some herbal remedies come with a risk of liver toxicity. As a result, combining products is also not advisable.
Some items on the list are:
- Morinda citrifollia (noni juice)
- Viscus album (mistletoe)
- Valeriana officinalis
- Cinnamomum camphora (camphor oil, Vicks Vapor Rub)
- Aloe vera
- Glycine max (soy isoflavones)
Certain mushrooms and fungi contain anatoxins. Anatoxins are hepatic toxins, or in other words, they cause cell and tissue damage in the liver and kidneys.
They may cause:
- Stomach pain
Of course, without proper medical care, they can lead to heart attack or even death in two days.
Drugs and chemical agents
Notably, this category includes cocaine, ecstasy, pesticides, herbicides, vinyl chloride, and contaminated food.
“We recommend reading: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From the Liver Damage Caused by Alcohol”
How is liver toxicity diagnosed?
There are no tests that definitely diagnose liver toxicity.
So, because of the similarity of the symptoms between related illnesses, certain medical tests will be needed to rule out viral hepatitis and other causes.
Acetylcysteine is a substance that helps remove toxins from the liver. Additionally, it occurs in cases of intoxication from taking high amounts of acetaminophen. Other than this, there is no specific treatment or cure for the problem.
Also, removing or avoiding the suspected culprit is essential. Also, treating symptoms like vomiting, getting some rest, and avoiding substances that exacerbate symptoms is necessary.
All in all, the symptoms of liver toxicity tend to improve when the toxic substance is removed.
However, if this does not fix the problem, it could lead to irreversible liver failure. Or, it could lead to cirrhosis.
As you can see, liver toxicity can be very serious. Therefore it is important to identify the warning signs so as to prevent complications.
So, If you have noticed any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate. See a doctor.