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Protect You Liver – Prevent Alcohol & Medication Related Liver Failure

Alcohol and many common over-the counter, holistic herbs & prescription medications are liver toxins

As noted in my initial segment on hepatitis, the liver isn’t what I term a celebrity organ. Many of us take this very vital organ for granted.

The liver is the body’s factory. It takes in the food we eat and converts the nutrients into the cellular building blocks, hormones, antibodies and enzymes essential for our health and well-being.

Keeping your liver healthy boils down to avoiding 4 major risks:

  1. Viral infections (Hepatitis A, B & C)
  2. Excessive alcohol consumption
  3. Liver toxic medications – both prescription and over the counter
  4. Obesity

Today I’m talking about alcohol and medication induced hepatitis and risks for liver failure beyond viral hepatitis.

ALCOHOLIC HEPATITIS:

Consumed regularly and in sufficient quantities, alcohol causes what health professionals call alcoholic hepatitis. When alcoholic hepatitis causes scarring and more permanent damage it’s labeled cirrhosis.

Generally speaking, alcoholic liver disease occurs over years and to some degree is associated with the amount regularly consumed and the overall duration of consumption.

Recent research supports the belief that genetic factors, drinking patterns, gender, obesity and concomitant viral liver disease predispose persons to the development of alcoholic hepatitis.

Other than discontinuation of alcoholic beverages, there exists no specific treatment for the disease, and even then, permanent damage may be done.

You might wonder what is considered safe drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse considers a standard drink as 12oz. of regular beer, 5oz. wine and 1.5oz distilled liquor as one standard drink. Moderate (safe) drinking is considered 1 standard drink per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men.

MEDICATIONS INDUCED HEPATITIS:

Many medications – prescription, ‘holistic” herbal and over-the-counter – are poisonous or toxic to the liver. You may be surprised to learn that aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), black cohosh, Augmentin, isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, testosterone, vitamin A and Comfrey make the liver toxic list (see more in the list below).

Sometimes, medications generally considered safe alone may induce liver toxicity when taken together.           

Persons at risk for medication-induced liver toxicity include those with viral hepatitis, obesity, uncontrolled drinking, diabetes and a history of liver disease from any cause. So, a word of caution here, if you suffer from any of the disorders mentioned, make certain you talk to your doctor before taking any medications.

Caution! Liver failure could be ahead, if you take any of these medication.

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Allopurinol (medication for gout)
  • Amiodarone (heart medication)
  • Amoxicillin-clavulanate aka augmentin (antibiotic)
  • Amphetamines
  • Black cohosh (herb)
  • Carbamazepine (seizure medicine)
  • Cascara (herb)
  • Chaparral (herb)
  • Comfrey (herb)
  • Ephedra (herb)
  • Fenofibrate (lower triglycerides)
  • Harvoni (treats hepatitis C)
  • Isoniazid (treats TB)
  • Kava (herb)
  • Lamotrigine (seizure medicine)
  • Levofloxacin (antibiotic)
  • Ma huang (herb)
  • Minocycline aka minocin (antibiotic)
  • Nitrofurantoin aka Macrodantin (urinary tract infection antibiotic)
  • Phencyclidine (hallucinogen)
  • Phenytoin aka Dilantin (seizure medication)
  • Testosterone
  • Vitamin A

For an exhaustive search option go to: https://livertox.nlm.nih.gov/index.html    

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Power your path to happiness.

References:

National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2019. What is a Standard Drink? Online [available at:]:https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/what-standard-drinkAccessed April 20, 2019.

Liver Tox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury, 2019. National Institutes of Health. Online [available at]: https://livertox.nlm.nih.gov/index.html Accessed April 20, 2019.