It’s remarkable how certain habits can actually undermine your bone health. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that there are some very common habits that can actually cause liver damage, setting the stage for weak and fragile bones.
Today we’re going to take a close look at seven habits that can negatively impact liver function, but first, let’s explore the connection between bones and liver health.
What Does Your Liver Have To Do With Your Bones?
Behind the scenes, your liver performs an amazing array of life-saving tasks. It works hard to keep toxic materials out of your blood stream, and it plays a vital role in the uptake of bone-building vitamins. Your liver also is responsible for the manufacture of Vitamin D, which is absolutely essential for strong bones.
A functional liver produces bile, which is necessary for the uptake of fat-soluble vitamins like E, K, A, and D. In fact, Vitamin D is manufactured in the liver from a precursor that is also made by the liver: a form of cholesterol known as 7-dehydrocholestrerol. The liver makes this precursor and releases it into the bloodstream, where it takes up residence in the skin. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, 7-dehydrocholestrerol converts into cholecalciferol, which is then metabolized in your liver to Vitamin D.
Bone-damaging toxins like pesticides, viruses, drugs, synthetic food additives, and so forth must be kept out of your bloodstream. This is the liver’s job. These toxins can accumulate in the liver without you realizing it, which is why a periodic cleanse is a good idea.
So as you can see, your liver has quite a bit to do with healthy bones. That’s why it’s so important to keep your liver in top shape, and here are seven things you can avoid to ensure your liver will function properly.
1. Excessive Vitamin A Supplements
Too much Vitamin A in oral supplements can be quite taxing for your liver. So it’s important that you know the recommended levels of this micronutrient. The RDA for Vitamin A for women is 2,300 IU, and 3,000 IU for men.
Over-consumption of Vitamin A from consuming Vitamin A-rich foods (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and mangoes) is just about impossible. Also, bear in mind that these foods contain a precursor of Vitamin A, mainly beta-carotene. The latter gets converted into Vitamin A predominantly in the intestines.
2. Too Much Sugar
Research continues to support the dangers of excessive sugar consumption. Various types of sugar such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose have all been investigated in relation to overall health, with fructose being particularly implicated in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Unfortunately, sugar – especially corn syrup, which is typically made with GMO corn – is extremely prevalent, especially in processed foods, and that’s why it’s so important to recognize its presence and be aware of what you’re eating. It’s easy to consume too much sugar without realizing it, but if you’re following the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, then you’re already have your sugar intake under control, helping you to protect your bones and your liver.
3. Soft Drink Consumption
This point naturally follows the previous one. Sugary soft drinks are one of the most common ways that people ingest excessive sugar. It’s hard to believe, but a 12-ounce soft drink contains 39 grams of sugar (that’s about two tablespoons, or eight teaspoons), and many people drink two or more sugary soft drinks each day.
Dark-colored soft drinks and colas also contain caramel coloring, which is “rich in advanced glycation end products that potentially increase insulin resistance and inflammation.”1 In addition, soft drinks greatly damage bones due to their high phosphoric acid content. This corrosive acid breaks down calcium and “melts” bone.
According to a study on the consumption of sugary soft drinks and liver disease:
“…high fructose consumption may contribute to NAFLD (Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) pathogenesis because fructose-induced ATP depletion promotes hepatic necroinflammation. Moreover, fructose promotes…increased AGEs, and increased hepatic inflammation.”1
The study mentions AGEs, or Advanced Glycation End products. These are proteins that, when they bond to a sugar molecule, cause great harm in the body. They can accumulate in the brain and lead to Alzheimer’s disease, and they destroy collagen, the flexible matrix of bone.
4. Excess Weight
It’s no surprise that excess weight can harm your health, including your bone health. Excess fat can lead to NAFLD (Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease), causing your liver to swell due to inflammation and the accumulation of excess fat cells. The longer you remain overweight, the greater the risk, because hardening and scarring of the liver occur over time in the presence of excess fat (especially visceral fat, which surrounds the vital organ in the abdominal cavity).
5. Taking Acetaminophen
The dangers of this drug (the active ingredient in popular painkillers like Tylenol) are easily masked because there are so few immediate side effects. But acetaminophen carries a “liver warning” on the label for a reason – it’s harmful to your liver.
While the drug manufacturers assure us that it doesn’t harm the liver if taken “in the right dosage,” acetaminophen could, like most toxins, have a cumulative effect even if taken at the “correct” dose regularly. Besides, every person is different, and “too much” can be determined by your size, weight, what you’ve eaten that day, and all kinds of other factors. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies for chronic pain and inflammation.
6. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Everyone knows that drinking too much alcohol destroys the liver. But what many people tend to overlook is just how much is “too much”. As with soft drinks, it’s easy to drink too much alcohol without realizing it.
A standard serving of wine is 5 ounces, for instance, which translates to a little over half a cup; and 12 ounces of beer is considered one serving. The recommendation for women is no more than one drink a day, and two drinks for men. It’s not hard to exceed that – wine for lunch, beer for dinner, a glass of wine later in the evening…before you know it, you’ve gone over the “safe” limit.
Alcohol then begins to erode the liver if you have an extra drink or two regularly over a period of time. So enjoying a glass of wine or beer now and then is certainly fine; it’s just important to be aware so you don’t over-consume.
7. Eating Trans Fats
These man-made fats promote bone- and liver-damaging weight gain. They are manufactured by forcing minuscule bubbles of hydrogen into liquid oil, so as to make it solid and increase its shelf life. Trans fats are found in many packaged foods, such as cakes, cookies, and even coffee creamers. Like sugar, trans fats are hard to avoid, so it is not difficult to consume too much.
Trans fats are a risk factor in various health problems, including NAFLD. A study on animals notes that:
“…a strong relationship exists between the consumption of TFA in the oxidized oils and lipid peroxidation and non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).”2
Now that you’re well aware of the damage you could be doing to your liver, you can take proactive steps to avoid these common yet toxic habits.
Additionally, one of the best first steps you can take is to…
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So remember, when you take care of your liver, you’re also taking care of your bones!
Till next time,
1 Nseir, William; Nassar, Fares; and Assy, Nimer. “Soft drinks consumption and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” World J Gastroenterol. 16. 21. (2010): 2579-2588. Web. July 10, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880768/
2 Dhibi, M., et al. “The intake of high fat diet with different trans fatty acid levels differentially induces oxidative stress and non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats.” Nutr Metab (Lond). 8. 1. (2011): 65. Web. July 10, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21943357