If your going to put intoxicants into your body then plan ahead and minimize the damage
Protect you Liver from the ravages of Christmas
No doubt it’s the season of celebration on many levels. Be it work charismas parties or nights out catching up with old friends, people tend to consume more alcohol than they would normally. Excess alcohol is without doubt damaging to the body and from a health perspective the advice would be to consume alcohol in moderation or practice complete abstinence.
On a more realistic level however people still go overboard even if they are aware of the health implications. Here in Ireland I often get asked “is there anything I can do to lessen the adverse health effects from consuming too much alcohol?” Though it seems like a daft question, it is very common. The answer is ‘Yes’
As the main area of damage is the liver and generally most of the other complications spawn from this, an approach to take if you know your going to have a heavy night on the tiles is to protect your liver in advance.
St Mary’s thistle (Silybum marianum)
Our best herb for protecting the liver from damage is St Mary’s thistle. Milk thistle is shown to protect the liver against the damage of cancer chemo therapy. The herb was taken regularly by fellow class mates in university who claimed it largely reduced the negative effects of hangover if taken the night before. Though this is anecdotal, let’s take a look at what the research shows regarding this herb.
St Mary’s thistle has a broad spectrum of actions which help to maintain healthy liver function. Alcoholic liver damage results in an elevation of liver enzymes. In trials St Mary’s Thistle largely reduces liver enzymes in people who have liver disease, suggesting that it will have benefit where there is damage from alcohol. It accelerated the regeneration of liver cells when taken after liver damage occurred. It increases survival rates in patients with advanced liver disease (especially alcoholic cirrhosis). It also has a protective mechanism against stomach ulcers. St Mary’s thistle taken throughout the festive period will certainly have a protective action on your liver. Also a great herb to take in the new year when your in detox mode. It’s a very safe herb in the right preparation and at the right dose.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a strong diuretic which increases the excretion of fluids from the body, and unless they are replaced it will cause dehydration.
Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach. This will enhance the damaging effects on the body as the body uses the alcohol as its sole fuel source and this will play havoc with your blood sugar levels
Avoid high sugar drinks. Traditionally alcohol was taken in moderation and in the form of a fermented grain or fruit with little additives. The alco-pops and high sugar mixers drank today in large amounts are damaging to the body.
Never drink red bull, gurana and caffeinated energy drinks mixed with alcohol. These mixes have grown in popularity in recent years. The likes of red bull and other energy drinks are probably more damaging to the body than the alcohol – so avoid these.
Enjoy the festivities.
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