Liver Health: Tips for the New Year
The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body. It controls our hormone and energy balance and stores vital nutrients such as fats, vitamins and minerals. It is also known for its “detoxification function”. But many people put excessive strain on this important organ. This can have serious consequences. Professionals have a few tips to keep the liver healthy for the year to come.
Health is the most important thing in life: Many people have become aware of this again through the corona pandemic. Expectations for a new year have seldom been as high as in 2021: There are high hopes that the pandemic will soon be defeated and a normal life will be possible again. At the start of the new year, the German Liver Foundation reminds everyone of the responsibility for their own health and the importance of a healthy lifestyle that has positive effects on liver health and also strengthens the immune system.
Toxins are eliminated
As AOK Die Gesundheitskasse explains on its website, the liver removes toxins from the blood that enter the body through environmental influences or through food.
Alcohol and nicotine, for example, as well as pesticides and preservatives, are converted and detoxified in the body by the liver. Finally, the liver ensures that these substances can be excreted again via the kidneys or the intestines.
Fortunately, the liver forgives a lot and can regenerate itself up to a certain point. In order for the organ to remain at full capacity for as long as possible, one should consciously pay attention to the health of the liver. The German Liver Foundation has some tips for 2021.
Many do not have fond memories of 2020
Many people will probably not have fond memories of 2020. A survey published in December 2020 shows that the corona pandemic gives around 30 percent of the Germans surveyed the feeling of being in a disaster or emergency situation.
More than two thirds of the respondents were completely surprised by the extent of the pandemic and would not have expected it in Germany. And only almost ten percent said they had been prepared through preventive measures such as stockpiling.
Another aspect that the pandemic has made clear is that, in addition to stocking up on food and hygiene items, a good state of health also plays a major role in preparing for extraordinary events.
Avoidable risk of severe COVID-19 course
An example of a preventable increased risk of a severe course of the disease COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is obesity, which is also known as the cause of liver disease.
Why this has been a dangerous – but avoidable – development for several years, explains the chairman of the board of the German Liver Foundation, Professor Dr. Michael P. Manns: “Since the 1970s, the prevalence of overweight and obesity, ie obesity, has tripled in the western world – also in Germany,” said the expert.
“This goes hand in hand with the increase in affluent diseases, including non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) as a starting point for possible liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cell cancer. In rare cases, a fatty liver can manifest itself undetected, for example due to a lipid metabolism disorder, even with normal body weight – this is referred to as the so-called thin thickness. ”
Lockdowns have made things worse
Many younger men in particular are overweight. The new nutrition report published by the German Nutrition Society (DGE) in November 2020 even shows that in the 30-year-old group, people of normal weight are in the minority.
59.4 percent of men between 18 and 65 years are too fat, while 37.3 percent of women in this age group are overweight or obese. This changes with increasing age: From the age of 65, women of normal weight are also in the minority. In addition, every seventh child is overweight or obese.
Even before the corona pandemic, experts spoke of a dramatic development that was made even worse by the “lockdowns” with restricted sports opportunities and increased consumption of fast food.
“Everyone should ask themselves in 2021 in which areas of life they can do more for their health. In addition to making a lifestyle change in the areas of diet and exercise, we also recommend a critical look at alcohol consumption. Here we support the appeal of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) to give the liver a break from alcohol, ”said Professor Manns’ advice for the new year.
“One of the risks of alcohol consumption is alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFL), which, like NAFL, can lead to cirrhosis and liver cell cancer. Another important part of personal health responsibility is also taking part in regular preventive examinations, during which the blood and liver values (for example, GPT or ALT) can also be checked. ”
Viral disease test
There are many ways of making 2021 a healthier phase of life from which the liver will also benefit – provided that the goals set are pursued with motivation and focus.
In the coming year, health policy will also help to ensure that liver health can be checked more and more effectively: As part of the “health check-up” program for those with statutory health insurance, known as “Check-up 35” until March 2019, according to the Liver Foundation, from the age of 35. You are entitled to a preventive examination every three years.
The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) has decided that as a new component of this investigation, the test for the viral diseases hepatitis B and hepatitis C, which, like fatty liver hepatitis, can be responsible for the development of liver cirrhosis and liver cell cancer, can be used in the future .
The aim is to detect previously undiscovered infections with the hepatitis viruses B (HBV) and C (HCV). The entry into force of this resolution is expected shortly. Eligible persons can take the newly introduced test for hepatitis B and C separately if their appointment for the “health examination” is before the new regulation finally comes into force. (ad)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- German Liver Foundation: New Year for Liver Health – German Liver Foundation gives tips for 2021, (accessed: December 29, 2020), German Liver Foundation
- AOK Die Gesundheitskasse: Enjoy carefree: This is how your liver stays healthy, (accessed: December 29, 2020), AOK Die Gesundheitskasse
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.