Archive for the ‘liver’ Category

What is the importance of the liver?

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The importance of your liver

The liver is a very important organ as its job is to filter all the blood in your body. It continually filters toxins, drugs, and wastes the body creates. A healthy liver is imperative for the body to function properly. Increased use of prescription, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol consumption, and illegal drugs can inhibit the liver from doing its job. The liver has to break down alcohol and drugs to remove it from the body. An excess of substances like drugs or alcohol can damage the liver.  Increasingly, people are mixing both drugs, like acetaminophen, and alcohol which can lead to acute liver failure. It’s the only internal organ that can regenerate itself but that still doesn’t mean you should abuse it. The liver stores vitamins that are fat soluble and minerals, such as iron, and releases them to the blood as necessary. It also generates bile, which is a greenish alkaline fluid that aids digestion, to break down fats.  It’s important to make sure your liver is functioning correctly and we recommend you get your liver enzymes tested periodically.

The liver is one of the biggest organs in the body. It is responsible for numerous significant metabolic functions. It transforms the nutrients in the foods you consume into substances that the body can use, stores these substances, and provides cells with them when necessary. Another key function of the liver is it takes up toxic substances and turns them into harmless substances or makes sure they are released from the body.

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The human adult liver weighs about 3.1 pounds and is found in the right upper abdomen, right below the diaphragm. It is quite large, so it takes up most of the space under the ribs and even some space in the left upper abdomen. If you viewed it from the outside, you can easily distinguish a larger right lobe and smaller left lobe. These two lobes are split up by a band of connective tissue that keeps the liver in the abdominal cavity. The gallbladder, where bile is kept, is found in the small hollow near the liver.

Liver tissue is made up of many miniscule units of liver cells that are called lobules. Lots of canals that carry blood and bile run between the liver cells. Blood that comes from the gallbladder, and pancreas flows through the portal vein to the liver, thus carrying nutrients, medication and even toxic substances. Once these substances get to the liver, they are processed, stored, transformed, detoxified, and passed back into the blood or released in the bowel to be eliminated. This process allows the liver to, for example, get rid of alcohol from your blood and remove by-products from the breakdown of medications.

The liver, with the help of vitamin K, creates proteins that are preventers  of  blood clotting. It also plays a vital role in all metabolic processes in the body. In fat metabolism, the liver cells break down fats and in turn produces energy. They produce about 800 ml of bile per day. This olive green liquid is collected in small ducts and then goes through the main bile duct, which carries it to the part of the small intestine called the duodenum. As mentioned, bile is critical for the breakdown and absorption of fats.

The liver also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, as it helps to ensure that the level of sugar in your blood, otherwise known as blood glucose, stays continuous. When blood sugar levels go up, like after a meal, the liver takes the sugar from blood supplied by the portal vein and keeps it in the form of glycogen. On the other hand, if someone’s blood sugar levels are lower, the liver breaks down the glycogen and releases sugar into the blood. In addition to sugar, it also keeps vitamins and minerals, such as iron and copper, and lets them into the blood when necessary.  It’s important to test for blood sugar, at least annually, and we recommend a simple blood test that you can order online

The liver also plays a significant role in protein metabolism. The liver cells transform amino acids in foods, in order for them to be used to create energy or produce fats or carbohydrates. There is a toxic substance that is called ammonia, and it is a consequence of this process. The cells in the liver turn ammonia to a less toxic substance called urea, and it is released into the blood. Urea is then moved to the kidneys and leaves the body in urine.

Different Types of Liver Tests

There is a blood test, also known as hepatic function test, that is used to screen the liver to see if it is functioning normally. Levels for the following are included in the test are bilirubin, liver enzymes, and blood proteins. There are many acronyms associated with the different components of this blood test and there are acceptable levels that physicians use to help diagnose problems with the liver. Albumin, Globulin and Total Protein levels are used to measure the amount and type of protein in your blood. They are a useful index of total health and nutrition. Abnormal results are an indicator of malnutrition, liver or kidney disease, cirrhosis, multiple myeloma, sarcoid, amyloid, lupus, and/or major infections. Globulin is the antibody protein important for fighting disease. If one of these values is high, but the other values are within expected ranges, the result is probably not significant, but only your physician can confirm this. See the discount online blood lab tests available that you can order yourself to see if your liver and other organs are functioning properly.

LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) levels are an enzyme found in blood and tissues. Elevated levels are found in various diseases including myocardial infarction, cancer, and anemia. A hemolyzed blood specimen can falsely elevate levels. Slightly decreased levels are usually insignificant but only your physician can confirm this. The Gamma GT (GGT) component is a liver enzyme whose elevation may indicate liver disease. Moderate intake of alcohol and some common medications may cause elevated levels to occur. Bilirubin is a primary pigment found in bile. It is derived from hemoglobin and prepared by the liver and builds up when the liver is functioning poorly or when some other disorder reduces the normal flow of bile. It is expanded also when there has been elimination of red blood cells. Finally, AST & ALT are caused by injury to cells which then releases these enzymes into the blood. Liver disease and heart attacks, as well as severe physical injury can cause elevation of these values. small values are probably not significant, but can only be confirmed by your physician.

Maintaining a healthy liver is crucial for your overall health, as there are many common liver diseases. Fatty liver disease is when there is extra fat in the liver cells and is typically associated with those that drink too much alcohol.  This type of diseases generally does not have any symptoms.  If diagnosed, fatty liver disease will go away once alcohol is eliminated from the diet. Hepatitis B is a severe liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis purpose the liver to swell and become damaged. Hepatitis C is an infection produce by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver; hard scar tissue replaces soft healthy tissue Cirrhosis occurs in response to chronic damage to your liver. If you believe you may be suffering from any of these liver diseases, it is important that you see your primary health physician to find a course of action that works best for you.

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Why you want to have your liver tested

  • Ensure your liver is functioning correctly by getting a discount online blood tests
  • The liver is the ultimate filter; including toxic substances
  • The liver is one of the few organs that can regenerate
  • Alcohol and medications can strain the liver so it is important to check your liver functions with periodic blood tests
  • The liver breaks down bile which helps metabolize fats

Why having your blood tested for liver enzymes is a good health indicator

You will want to get a liver function test at least once a year to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage. The tests measure the levels of certain enzymes & proteins in your blood.  When you get your blood tests back from www.HealthOneLabs.com, it will show if you have tests within the normal range or outside the normal range. Based upon the results, you will want to see your physician to review the tests to determine if you have liver disease

Benefits of a liver function test

  • Diagnostic tool to determine if your liver is functioning correctly
  • Blood tests can show if you have any issues with your liver and should be discussed with your physician
  • Catching liver disease early gives patients the best prognosis
  • Ordering your own lab tests can save you time and money

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What is Leaky Gut?

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What is Leaky Gut?

In ancient medicine, it was believed that certain diseases originated in the stomach. Over time, this concept was rejected due to research, however recently leaky gut syndrome has become more popular. The leaky gut syndrome is also called increased intestinal permeability,

Causes of Leaky Gut

It is caused when the gut lining has holes allowing food, toxins, and bugs to penetrate tissue underneath it. This could lead to inflammation and an imbalance in the gut flora, which in turn could cause digestion issues among other things. Everyone has leaky gut to some extent as the gut lining is not impassable. Some people have a genetic predisposition that makes them more sensitive to digestive changes, but it is becoming more evident that the leading culprit is the lifestyle many people follow. The standard American diet is high in saturated fats and sugar, and low in fiber, which is a contributor to the leaky gut syndrome. Chronic stress and excessive use of alcohol also disrupt gut flora.Leaky Gut

Symptoms of leaky gut

Studies have found that leaky gut could be responsible for diseases like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Although mainstream medicine has not accepted leaky gut, alternative medicine practitioners have. The first thing they may advice is following an anti-inflammatory diet. They may also recommend reducing intake of alcohol, processed foods, and foods that may cause allergies. So, even though mainstream medicine hasn’t accepted the idea that leaky gut leads to diseases outside of the gastrointestinal tract, eating an anti-inflammatory diet and reducing the intake of processed foods is never a bad idea.

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What you should know about CRP

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What you should know about CRP

CRP is C-reactive protein, a protein found in the body that reacts to the inflammatory response. Called a complement protein, CRP and other proteins like it respond to tissue damage. These proteins and other aggregates of the inflammatory, cause a reaction to help repair when there is an injury anywhere in the body. This quick reaction to tissue damage and inflammation is part of our immune response.

Reactions to Inflammation

Due to this reaction, CRP levels are understandably elevated after surgery or accidental physical trauma. CRP levels are also affected when the body undergoes vascular events that leave tissue without oxygen, such as heart attacks or strokes. CRP levels are often watched after myocardial infarction or heart attack, along with other blood tests to prevent another episode.

CRP & Infection

When someone is actively fighting infections, like appendicitis, influenza, or pneumonia, CRP levels will also be elevated. CRP levels, along with white blood cell counts, are a big determinant when physicians decide if a treatment is effective at eliminating the infection.

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Autoimmunity and CRP

When the body’s immune system starts to target its own cells, it is called Autoimmune disorder.  Some examples of autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, lupus, and hypothyroidism in some cases. In addition to physical symptoms of pain and fever, autoimmune diseases will increase the inflammatory response. C-reactive protein levels are often evaluated by doctors, again, with other tests, to help determine the severity or progression of the disease or episode.

CRP & Heart

Because CRP is elevated after a heart attack, most doctors will follow its levels in patients after coronary events. If initial levels of CRP are over 2.4 mg/dL, they are considered at risk for coronary events.  It is desirable to have CRP levels less than 1.0 mg/dL. Statin drugs treated for hyperlipidemia reduce CRP levels, another reason to keep at-risk patients on these drugs. It is evident that patients who have consistently higher CRP levels are more likely to have hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Some cancers may elevate CRP levels and is often very high during acute or chronic kidney failure. A CRP blood test alone will not diagnose a single disease but can be significant in the presence of other symptoms.

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Why is a Complete Blood Count blood test important?

A complete blood count (CBC) is the go-to test to analyze the three main types of cells within the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells contain a molecule called hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. A CBC shows the number of red blood cells, their size and shape, and the concentration of hemoglobin within each cell. Red blood cells can be low if a person has been losing blood or if they have anemia (low hemoglobin levels). If you are diagnosed with anemia, your doctor will then order more specific tests to determine if your anemia is the result of recent blood loss, low iron levels, or a vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.

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The white blood cells are a key player in the body’s immune system, defending you against potentially harmful organisms. A CBC gives a total white cell count and the percentages of the different types of white cells, which can help your doctor determine what sort of infection your body is fighting (bacterial, parasitic, etc.). Additionally, leukemia, which is a cancer of the bone marrow, can be diagnosed if abnormal white cells are present in the blood.

A blood platelet count in the normal range is necessary to ensure the blood clots as it should, preventing excessive blood loss from injuries or surgery

 


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What is the best nut butter?

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What is the best nut butter?

Peanut butter is the most popular nut butter, but it may have some competition. To name a few there is almond butter, sunflower butter, and cashew butter. Most of these provide protein, magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, and copper. It is becoming increasingly popular to add things like collagen, omega-3s, and coconut to nut and seed butters for added health benefits, but are all of these additives necessary? The answer is, it depends. The most important thing when determining if a nut butter is healthy is reading the label. Look for nut butters that have no more than 3 grams of added sugars, less than 3 grams of saturated fat, 6-8 grams of protein, less than 150 mg of sodium.

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A good rule of thumb when reading food labels is if you can pronounce the ingredients, then there is a good chance that it’s a good option. There are also options that are similar to nut butters for those that are allergic to nuts such as sunflower butter, soy and pea butter, and tahini. When looking for the healthiest versions of these nut-free butters look for options with minimal ingredients. Lastly, you should beware of spreads that resemble nut butters, but are actually spreads with more sugar than nuts. A few examples include cookie butter, chocolate spread, and granola butter. Overall, nut butters are a great snack option full of vitamins and nutrients, but it is important to select options made with clean and minimal ingredients.


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Does daily physical activity boost your mood?

It is widely known that regular exercise is key for overall good physical health, however, it is possible that it could prevent depression. A study done by JAMA Psychiatry found that there was a 26% decrease in chances for individuals to become depressed for each major increase in physical activity. It was even something as simple as replacing 15 minutes you would usually spend sitting with a 15-minute run. Before this study, it was unsure whether exercising improves mental health or if moving less is an effect of being depressed.

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The study found that exercise independently reduced the risk of depression. It was also found that everyday tasks and activities like walking to get coffee or taking the stairs to count towards your daily physical activity. This is great because it means you don’t necessarily have to exercise the conventional way every single day on a treadmill or Stairmaster, but simply making small changes like walking instead of driving makes a big difference. This also increases your chances of staying active daily because exercise doesn’t have to be daunting, but should be time to unplug and de-stress.To live a healthy active lifestyle you have to find what works for you, whether it’d be going to a group exercise class or going on a walk. Ensuring you exercise daily will help improve your mental well being, so go out there and find physical activities that are enjoyable to you.


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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

One of the most common misconceptions people have when trying to lose weight is that they need to cut out fat or eat foods that are labeled low-fat in order to achieve their goal or live a healthy lifestyle, however by doing this you could actually be doing more harm than good. Reducing fat often leads to a higher intake of refined carbs, and cuts out healthy fats that your body needs. Research has found diets with high amounts of saturated fats are associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and high blood cholesterol levels.

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So, instead of taking an approach that completely eliminates or significantly reduces fat, you should opt to include healthy unsaturated fats in your diet. Healthy fats are actually an essential macronutrient because they help your body absorb nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and antioxidants. Omega-3 fats optimize heart, nerve, and brain function. You should include healthy fats into your diet like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish, and try to limit your consumption of “reduced-fat” fat foods that are high in refined carbs and added sugars. A healthy diet includes healthy fats, primarily unrefined carbohydrates, and protein.


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What type of water should you be drinking?

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What type of water should you be drinking?

There is no question that staying hydrated is key when it comes to your health, like reducing fatigue, preserving sensitive tissues, and keeping your immune system healthy. There are many options when it comes to your drinking water such as:

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  • alkaline,
  • spring,
  • purified,
  • mineral, and
  • artesian,

but does it matter which one you are drinking?

Mineral water natural water that contains at least 250 part per million total of dissolved solids. Artesian water is acquired from a well that taps a layer of rock or sand. Spring water is derived from an underground source in spring. Purified water is highly treated through distillation, and deionization in order to meet certain standards. Lastly, alkaline water just has a higher pH than tap water,  with a pH of 8 or 9 as opposed to tap water’s pH of 7. So with all of these choices, which one is the best one? There is not much evidence that one type of water is superior to others, however, there is proof that states everyone is drinking enough water. It is recommended that men drink 125 ounces and women drink 91 ounces. That’s about 15 cups of water for men and 11 cups of water for women. Your body is made up of water, so it is important to stay hydrated regardless of your choice of water.


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The Relationship Between Blood Sugar and Dementia

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is a proven practice to help prevent diabetes. A simple blood test can provide you with important information about your fasting blood sugar level, glucose levels, and your risk for diabetes. But there may be other uses for measuring blood sugar than diabetes alone. Research shows that seniors that keep blood sugar levels low can help keep your brain healthy and prevent dementia. Among non-diabetics, those who develop dementia have higher fasting blood sugar levels. Those with higher glucose levels are 20 percent more likely to develop dementia. Among diabetics, the increase in the risk of dementia is even higher – 40 percent higher in those with higher blood sugar levels. Whether you’re diabetic or not, adopting a lifestyle to help control blood sugar levels is good for the brain and may help you avoid developing dementia. Here are three proven ways to lower your blood sugar:

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  1. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even losing 10 to 15 pounds can help lower blood sugar levels.
  2. Get regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 30-plus minutes daily. The exercise helps burn up extra sugar in the blood in both diabetics and non-diabetics.
  3. Choose healthy meals – high in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and limit red meats and high-fat dairy products. Follow a low-glycemic diet by avoiding soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks. And limit potatoes, white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

If you are a diabetic, you should monitor your blood sugar levels daily and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to prevent complications from this disease. Your doctor may also adjust your medications to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, as measured by an A1C level of less than 7 percent.


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Why you should care about Carotenoids

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Why you should care about Carotenoids

Carotenoids are substances in fruits and vegetables that give them their bright colors. They are prevalent in many orange colored vegetables. Typically, more carotenoids are in foods that have a darker pigment. Carotenoids act as antioxidants which prevent damage to our cells. It is easy to add antioxidants, especially carotenoids to your diet from the following produce:

  1. carrots
  2. sweet potatoes
  3. pumpkin
  4. cantaloupe
  5. apricot
  6. papaya
  7. red and orange peppers
  8. tomatoes
  9. beets

It has been found that women with the most carotenoids in their blood are less likely to develop breast cancer than those with lower levels.  Lycopene is the best carotenoid to protect against breast cancer. Tomato products are loaded with lycopene.

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So, besides the red and orange colored fruits and veggies in your diet, you can add tomato sauce, salsa, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Carotenoids are fat-soluble, it is important to add a little healthy fat to your diet.  An example of healthy fat is adding olive oil to your salad or vegetables or saute some garlic in olive oil before simmering tomatoes in the sauce. This will allow the body to absorb the nutrients and providing the benefit of lowering the risks of cancer. You can order your own lab tests to measure carotenoids with a simple blood test for Vitamin A


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