If you have elevated liver enzymes, you may have a damaged or an inflamed liver, which can impact several bodily functions, so knowing how to lower liver enzymes is therefore important.
Enzymes are basically a type of protein, and they are found throughout the body, each performing a particular function; typically speeding up the body’s routine but important chemical reactions.
Liver enzymes normally live within the cells of liver itself. But when the liver is damaged, they are released into the bloodstream, leading to a higher-than-normal count.
The detection of these enzymes is done through a routine blood test administered by your doctor.
Normal Range of Liver Enzymes
The two most straightforward liver enzymes to test for and evaluate are aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). The normal ranges for these liver enzymes are:
- AST: 5 to 40 units per liter of serum
- ALT: 7 to 56 units per liter of serum
Lowering Liver Enzymes
The liver, located in the right upper portion of the abdominal cavity underneath the rib cage, performs many key functions. Some of the important functions of the human liver are:
- Detoxifying the blood;
- Blood clotting;
- Metabolizing medications;
- Metabolizing nutrients from food;
- Removing waste from the blood;
- Storing vitamins, bile, fat and cholesterol; and
- Producing glucose.
How to Lower Liver Enzymes Naturally
1. Quit Drinking Alcohol
Chronic alcohol use or abuse damages the liver and produces elevated liver enzymes; a damaged liver won’t filter toxic substances from the body as efficiently as it normally does.
2. Eat a Low Protein Diet
Once injured, a damaged liver can’t process protein as efficiently as it used to, so avoid high protein foods for the time being. Plant-based proteins are more easily digestible than animal proteins, so lean toward eating more of those. If you need to eat meat, then it’s best to cut your normal portion in half.
3. Avoid Acetaminophen
Until your liver enzymes are stable, avoid products with this ingredient; acetaminophen can damage the liver and make the situation worse.
4. Reduce Environmental Toxins
Chemical cleaners, sunscreens, personal hygiene products, perfumes, detergents, disinfectants, and even second-hand cigarette smoke all contain toxic additives that can damage the liver. Use brands that opt for chemical-free formulations.
5. Implement a Healthier Diet Regimen
You can make several improvements to your diet to help heal your liver, such as:
- Cutting out processed foods;
- Eating more greens;
- Eating lots of cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.);
- Choosing organic food sources wherever possible;
- Eating more garlic, leafy greens, apples, carrots, and grapefruit; and
- Eating more fresh fruit.
6. Drink Water
Water is a natural detoxifier because it helps flush toxins from the body, including the liver. Choose fresh, clean, plain water, and if you’re going to add anything to it, choose apple cider vinegar and lemon—these will both further help detoxify the liver.
7. Detox and Support Liver Function with Herbs
For over 2,000 years milk thistle has been used to remedy liver problems. It can detoxify and protect the liver, and it’s gentle and has no known side effects when taken within suggested amounts.
Diet to Lower Liver Enzymes
Many natural, unprocessed foods can cleanse and detoxify the liver to get it back to an optimal state, so adhering to a diet that can lower elevated liver enzymes will certainly help. Avoid processed foods, fried foods, and fatty foods, and even better, eat foods from organic sources wherever possible to reap the best benefits.
How long does it take to lower liver enzymes? There’s no real set term because cases are unique from person to person, and there are several factors to consider. But think of it this way: a diet to lower liver enzymes is more of a lifestyle change than something you’ll stick to for a short amount of time. That said, you should notice a change within a month of changing your diet and lifestyle. The following foods will help lower a fatty liver.
- Leafy green vegetables
- Beets and carrots
- Green tea
- Olive oil
How Long Does it Take to Lower Liver Enzymes?
If you want to know how to lower liver enzymes quickly, well, as mentioned, there’s no set timeframe; it depends on a person’s particular situation. Here are some factors to consider:
- It varies from person to person
- It depends on what precisely caused the liver damage, and the severity of the situation
- Any medication a person is on needs to be taken into account
- After diagnosis, the person’s diet should also be examined
Once a proper diet and lifestyle change has been made, the liver will likely be healed within a month or two. This does not, however, mean that you should revert to your old lifestyle or poor habits. Simply put, to keep the liver healthy, you need to continue doing what you were doing while healing. The plus side is that eating right and drinking less will provide other benefits, including weight loss, healthier skin, and increased vitality.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“How to Get Liver Enzymes Down,” Livestrong web site;
http://www.livestrong.com/article/520579-how-to-get-liver-enzymes-down/, last accessed April 12, 2016.
“14 Foods that Cleanse the Liver,” Global Healing Centre web site;
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/liver-cleanse-foods/, last accessed April 12, 2016.