In this day and age, no matter where we live, we are constantly bombarded with environmental toxins. Perchlorate, from rocket fuel, is found in the water supply of even the smallest towns. Perfluorooctanoic acid, found in Teflon, is a known carcinogen contaminating our food and water supply. Pyrethroids, from common lawn pesticides, are in our streams, killing fish. Phthalates, found in plastic, carpets, fabric, perfume, cosmetics, milk, vegetables, and pesticides, are being implicated in male reproductive abnormalities. Multiple and chronic exposures to the hundreds of environmental toxins can debilitate the immune system and detoxification pathways, ultimately leading to illnesses such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue, and Fibromyalgia.
Minimizing exposure to toxins is key, yet, there is no way to completely avoid this chemical offensive. The best defense is a healthy liver, the primary organ of detoxification. It is from the intestines that chemicals foreign to the body (xenobiotics), whether from lifestyle choices, food-borne toxins, infectious organisms, pharmaceuticals, or other life-threatening agents, flow directly into the liver. While facing the greatest risk of toxic damage, the liver also is the body’s workhorse organ; therefore, its nutritional support is crucial to good health and continued survival. The following are some herbs and nutrients effective in supporting liver health and providing key nutrients that aid in detoxification.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been in use as a liver remedy since ancient times. A standardized extract prepared from the plant’s fruit is clinically validated from multiple double-blind trials. Through its potent antioxidant power, this bioflavonoid assemblage substantially protects the liver against toxic attack, while helping to minimize oxidative degradation and its associated tissue breakdown that can lead to cirrhosis. Silymarin also stabilizes the membrane systems of liver cells, protecting them against the lipid peroxidative breakdown that can bring about their destruction.
Silymarin preparations have been clinically validated to help counter oxidative damage to the liver, whatever its origin (i.e., excessive alcohol intake, environmental chemical exposure, even the highly poisonous Death Cap Mushroom [Amanita phalloides]). They combat acute or chronic damage of the liver parenchyma or bile duct. They lower liver enzymes when elevated, and accelerate the liver’s intrinsic regenerative processes. But conventional silymarin preparations have one major drawback—they are poorly bioavailable, being only 20-50% absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
The active substances—three flavanolignans: silybin, silychristin, and silydianin, collectively known as silymarin—are unique bioflavonoids. Siliphos™ milk thistle extract is at least four times more bioavailable than conventional milk thistle extracts, as measured in animal and human uptake experiments. In this premier phytoceutical preparation, a particular component, silybin is bonded with PhosphatidylCholine (PC). PC dramatically improves silybin’s absorption by rendering it more lipophilic (fat-loving) and, thereby, better able to pass across the lipid outer membranes of the intestinal lining cells.
PC, Phosphatidyl-Ethanolamine (PE), and Phosphatidyl-Inositol (PI) are phospholipids that are important components of the liver’s cell membrane. PC is quantitatively the most important building block for these liver cell membranes, followed by the other phospholipids. Clinical research conducted over several decades indicates that PC is a premier liver support nutrient. It has been shown to be beneficial in repairing liver damage caused by alcoholism, drug and solvent damage, and radiotherapy. PC helps to heal liver tissue and function.
Dandelion root and the sulfur antioxidant, taurine, join with PC to boost the formation of bile, a digestive fluid which breaks down fats, from the liver. The root of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has long been revered as a bile-releasing agent and digestive aid, by cultures in native North America, India, and Europe. Taurine is also important for a particular detoxification pathway, called P450, which helps neutralize potentially-toxic substances.
The antioxidant, L-glutathione, is central to the liver’s role of detoxification, particularly in its reduced state (GSH). Toxins invariably target the liver’s glutathione antioxidant defenses and glutathione depletion can result in cell death. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), L-glycine, and L-glutamine are also integral components of this free radical-reducing system. NAC is an effective source of the glutathione precursor, cysteine. Together with glycine, another GSH precursor, NAC, is used both as a glutathione building block and as a conjugant to neutralize toxins. Glutamine helps conserve glutamate for GSH production, and is an easily used cellular energy source.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a versatile antioxidant, having both hydrophilic (“water-loving”) and lipophilic chemical character. It can recycle and conserve antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and glutathione.
Methylation, another pathway for detoxification, is supported by the nutrient, trimethylglycine (TMG). Through detoxification, TMG donates its methyl groups (of which it has three), to toxic metabolites, rendering them less toxic or inactive. This process of methylation occurs in many biochemical reactions in the body, including the metabolism of estrogen and homocysteine, a key indication in cardiovascular disease risk.
Hepa Trope II, from American Biologics, is formulated with the above nutrients to offer potent nutritional support for the liver, and its many detoxification pathways, such as P450, antioxidant recycling, and methylation. The recommended intake of four (4) capsules per day can be increased to eight (8) caps per day for cases involving acute liver insult or chronic, progressing liver damage. Individuals taking any of the hundreds of pharmaceutical drugs known to have significant liver toxicity are well advised to concurrently take Hepa Trope II, its multiple factors being well tolerated and safe for long-term intakes.
Hepa Trope II is formulated to help revitalize a sluggish liver or support the recovery of a liver damaged from toxic abuse. It’s also eminently suited for inclusion in any personalized program intended to halt the progression of chronic degenerative damage.
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