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What is it?

The liver is an organ attached to the digestive system, considered the largest gland in the human body, weighing 1.5kg on average. It has several metabolic functions of great importance to the human body, especially the metabolism of macronutrients and the metabolization of toxic substances.

What’s the liver for?

Some of the liver functions are regulating blood glucose, storing liver glycogen, fatty acid oxidation, cholesterol and phospholipid synthesis, conversion of excess proteins and carbohydrates into fat, urea cycle, amino acid deamination, vitamin and iron storage, protein synthesis of coagulation cascade, biliary secretion, among several others.

How does the liver work?

There are some substances that are called hepatotoxic, i.e. promote liver damage. One of the most important is ethanol, alcohol ingested in alcoholic beverages, with consumption very present in today’s society. Alcohol is capable of inducing well-known liver lesions such as steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Like alcohol, several drugs can cause phenomena of hepatotoxicity, there are also chronic liver diseases, such as hepatic encephalopathy, and hepatitis itself, which can be caused by viruses.

When do you need to supplement?

In fact, a liver-related issue is precisely the fact that it metabolizes toxic or excess substances to the body. Therefore, it is important to realize that excess supplements can be harmful to the liver, even if this supplement is considered as “natural”, like Herbalife itself. Other products used by athletes, such as anabolic steroids, also already have evidence of hepatotoxicity.


Article: ZHENG, Elizabeth; SANDHU, Naemat; NAVARRO, Victor. Drug-induced liver injury secondary to herbal and dietary supplements. Clinics in Liver Disease, v. 24, n. 1, p. 141-155, 2020.

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