England has a reputation as a country whose people like their pints of ale when visiting the pub, but perhaps regular drinking has begun to take a toll on the residents there. New research has found that the rate of death from liver disease has reached an all-time high.
The study, conducted by the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, found that deaths from liver disease in England have jumped an astounding 25 percent in only an eight-year period.1 And many of them most likely could have been avoided since the main factors suspected of influencing the increase are frequent use of alcohol, obesity, and hepatitis.
The total number of liver disease fatalities in England was 9,231 in 2001, climbing to 11,575 in 2009. When the numbers were further broken down, the researchers found that more men than women were perishing from unhealthy liver conditions, and heavy alcohol consumption was more common among men. The largest percentage of these deaths was taking place among residents of the Northwest area of the country, where poverty levels are high.2 The majority of these fatalities were in people under the age of 70. In fact, an astonishing 10 percent of deaths of all people in their 40s in England stemmed from liver ailments.
At a time when the death rates from other serious diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, have declined, this news is particularly disturbing. Nor does this report seem to be an isolated incident. Another study from 2010 found a 32 percent increase in people under the age of 35 dying from alcohol-related liver disease in England and Wales just between 2004 and 2008.3
Sadly, the majority of liver conditions are brought on by totally preventable causes, such as obesity and, as already mentioned, drinking too heavily. The liver is damaged over time by trying to eliminate the by-products of unhealthy and excessive choices of foods and drinks. But conversely, this can be good news as well. With awareness of what can do such serious harm to the liver, we can strive to make changes… or at least minimize the damage and assist the body’s repair mechanisms before it’s too late.
Jon Barron has written many times through the years about what an essential organ the liver is, acting as the primary filter of our body. Good health is impossible without the proper function of the liver. Overeating in general is harmful to the liver, as is too much protein or too many simple carbohydrates in the diet. But alcohol tends to be at the top of the list, as it causes inflammation of the liver’s tissue. This reduces its filtering ability, causing it to plug up with fat and become even more inflamed. If we consume enough alcohol, we overwhelm the liver’s ability to regenerate itself, and the net result is cirrhosis, a hardening of the liver.
There are steps you can take to get your liver functioning optimally again, whether you have symptoms of liver dysfunction yet or not. Improvements to your eating habits are important, and be sure to start including herbal support for the liver. Look for formulas that contain milk thistle, dandelion root, the perennial herb Picrorhiza kurroa, and artichoke or beet leaf to promote regeneration of damaged liver tissue. Initiate a daily exercise routine as well — no part of the body can be truly healthy without regular activity.
You will also benefit tremendously from conducting body cleanses such as a liver detox. This five-day cleanse is thorough and extensive. The detox causes the liver and gallbladder to literally squeeze out accumulated fat cholesterol, and toxins, while at the same time promoting regeneration of damaged liver tissue.
This form of cleansing can help everyone, no matter your level of health, but it is especially advantageous for those who are pursuing an “un-complementary” lifestyle or are already experiencing liver difficulties. Making overall lifestyle changes and sticking with them along with doing a liver detox several times a year should promote an increase in your liver’s regeneration that will positively impact your systemic health for the long term.
1 Briggs, Helen. “Liver disease deaths reach record levels in England.” BBC News. 21 March 2012. Accessed 5 April 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17465403>.
2 Ramesh, Randeep. “The child poverty map of Britain.” The Guardian. 23 February 2011. Accessed 5 April 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/feb/23/child-poverty-britain-map>.
3 “England’s liver deaths have risen above the EU-15 average.” British Liver Trust. 31 March 2010. Accessed 5 April 2012. <http://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/modules/news/StoryViewer.aspx?pid=6&intextraid=2543&fid=2460>.