The liver is the most important detoxification organ in the body and it can take a lot of 'abuse', but it can eventually weaken, slow down and become over-burdened. Every individual is different and some people can have a liver that keeps up well with a lot of 'abuse' and some people can suffer liver problems with what might be considered minimal burden. A large amount of consistent alcohol intake over an extended period of time can certainly damage the liver. Fatigue, weakness, digestive difficulty, abdominal pain, itching, swelling/fluid retention, yellowing of the skin/eyes, bowel habit changes all can indicate damage to the liver, among others. You can do a couple of lab tests through your medical doctor to determine the health of the liver as well. Bloodwork that can be done could include the liver enzymes AST, ALT and GGT, as well as biliruben. Elevations in these can indicate inflammation in the liver and liver damage. You can also request an abdominal ultrasound for the liver and gall bladder which will visualize the liver and determine if there is damage. Often, with excessive alcohol intake, what is called a 'fatty liver' can develop and this can be seen through an ultrasound. A fatty liver indicates high stress on the liver, liver damage and inflammation. In many cases, damage to the liver can be reversible through dietary and lifestyle modifications and with the help of some supplements.
Yours in Health,
Jeff Appelmann, BSc, ND
Menen Centre For Optimum Health/Canadian Integrative Cancer Centre
Oakville and Toronto, Ontario
www.menencentre.com and www.cancercareforall.com
Response by Jeff Appelmann BSc, ND