The liver's main job is to filter waste products from the bloodstream as they flow from the digestive system. The liver also produces proteins important for blood clotting and other functions. Because the liver produces and accumulates certain kinds of fats and cholesterol, oils that help reduce cholesterol will be good for your liver. Oils that help reduce inflammation are also beneficial for the liver and the rest of the body.
Fish oil, which contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, provides numerous health benefits. Fish oil, which can be consumed in supplement form or in fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna, is especially helpful at lowering triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat, and if they exist at high levels in your bloodstream, it can raise your total cholesterol profile. Taking fish oil can be an effective way of helping preserve liver health or manage a condition known as non-fatty liver disease. Because the liver produces and accumulates fats in the body, higher amounts of triglycerides can contribute to liver inflammation and liver disease. Use caution if trying fish oil.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils because it is an unsaturated fat and because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike saturated fats, such as coconut and palm kernel oils, unsaturated fats do not contribute to elevated triglyceride levels. A study in the Oct. 29, 2010 issue of "Nutrition and Metabolism" found that olive oil helped reverse oxidative stress to the liver, a result researchers ascribed to olive oil's antioxidant properties.
Like fish oil, krill oil helps improve your body's cholesterol levels and combats inflammation. In a study published in the February 2011 issue of "Frontiers in Nutrigenomics," researches found that krill oil provided healthier benefits to liver RNA molecules than fish oil. Krill oil is obtained from krill, the tiny ocean fish that are consumed by whales. Krill oil tends to produce a less "fishy" aftertaste than the kind that can accompany some fish oil supplements. Use caution if trying krill or any fish oil supplement.
Unlike oils that can be consumed, healthy oils such as rosemary oil can benefit the liver and the body as a whole when absorbed through the skin. A massage oil or a bath that contains rosemary oil can provide healthy benefits for the liver and gall bladder, muscle aches, congestion and other respiratory troubles, as well as arthritis and similar conditions caused by inflammation. Exercise caution if trying rosemary oil.
- Cleveland Clinic: Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- "Frontiers in Nutrigenomics"; Differential effects of krill oil and fish oil on the hepatic transcriptome in mice; Lena Burri, et al.; June 2011
- "Nutrition and Metabolism"; Effects of olive oil and its fractions on oxidative stress and the liver's fatty acid composition; By Amel Nakbi, et al.; Oct. 2010