Liver enzymes may become elevated for several reasons, including over-consuming alcohol, taking prescription medication or developing an infection. While sometimes this is a temporary issue, liver enzymes that are elevated for extended periods of time can damage health. Several vitamins that are important in the process of liver detoxification may help in reducing elevated liver enzymes. These include SAMe, B-complex vitamins and the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
Before supplementing with any vitamins, check with your doctor. Once levels of liver enzymes have tested high, be sure to re-test them on a consistent basis.
SAMe is one nutrient that may help with liver ailments. In the book, "Nutrition and Alcohol: Linking Nutrient Interactions and Dietary Intake," authors Ronald Ross Watson and Victor R. Preedy point to research that indicates SAMe helps to lower liver enzymes for those suffering from liver disease. They also note other research which seems to point to SAMe's beneficial effects for cirrhosis of the liver and improved levels of glutathione, a protective antioxidant, in red blood cells and the liver.
Be sure to work closely with a doctor before supplementing with SAMe, particularly if currently taking prescription anti-depressants, as they have similar effects.
B-complex vitamins may be beneficial in reducing liver enzymes. The B-vitamins are important in both phases 1 and 2 of liver detoxification, according to "The Fast Track One-day Detox Diet" author Ann Louise Gittleman. Specifically, vitamin B1 helps to decrease the effects of alcohol, smoking and heavy metal toxicity. Vitamin B2, in part, produces glutathione, an antioxidant that promotes liver function, and vitamin B5 detoxifies byproducts of alcohol and candida overgrowth.
B-vitamins are generally considered safe, but check with your health care practitioner before adding them to your dietary regimen.
Antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E
The antioxidant vitamins A, C and E may also help with liver health. Each of these antioxidant vitamins is important to and is used in the phase 1 liver detoxification pathways, according to Ann Louise Gittleman in her book, "Living Beauty Detox Program." These vitamins are also known as free-radical scavengers and, therefore, protect the body from the damage produced by toxins.
Vitamins A and E are fat-soluble vitamins, while vitamin C is water-soluble. Fat-soluble nutrients are stored in the tissues and liver and, therefore, are less needed than water-soluble vitamins, which are excreted by the body. It may be easy to overdose on vitamins A and E when taking supplements, so work closely with a trained practitioner to monitor levels.
- "Nutrition and Alcohol: Linking Nutrient Interactions and Dietary Intake"; Ronald Ross Watson and Victor R. Preedy; 2004
- "The Fast Track One-day Detox Diet"; Ann Louise Gittleman; 2005
- "Living Beauty Detox Program"; Ann Louise Gittleman; 2001