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How to Improve Liver Enzymes With Abstinence From Alcohol

author image Maura Shenker
Maura Shenker is a certified holistic nutritionist and health counselor who started her writing career in 2010. She leads group workshops, counsels individual clients and blogs about diet and lifestyle choices. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, a Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Your liver works to filter waste from your body, removing excess nutrients and toxins from your system. Think of elevated liver enzymes as an indication that your liver is working overtime. There are four separate liver enzymes, each one giving a clue about what could be damaging your liver. AST and ALT are two enzymes associated with liver cell damage and inflammation. ALT is a better indication of liver damage, because AST is found in other organs besides the liver. GGT and AP are two enzyme associated with inflammation in your bile ducts and can build-up in your bloodstream because they can't get through your blocked bile ducts. Alcoholic liver disease can cause elevated levels of all four types of enzymes.

Step 1

Stop drinking alcohol. According to the University of Iowa Hospital, alcohol is a poison and any amount of alcohol can produce damage to the liver. Your liver does not distinguish between different forms of alcohol -- a beer or glass of wine is not a better choice than hard liquor if you are trying to reverse liver damage.

Step 2

Consult with your doctor to determine that your elevated liver enzymes are the result of alcohol. Other substances, such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications can cause liver damage and higher-than-normal enzyme levels. Abstaining from alcohol may not be enough to reverse your liver damage if you're using medications that continue to affect your liver.

Step 3

Remove other risk factors for liver disease. Alcohol use is the most common cause of elevated liver enzymes, but smoking and obesity can also lead to liver damage. If you smoke, stop. If you're overweight, making healthier lifestyle choices that include regular exercise and a healthy diet can lower your liver enzyme levels.

Step 4

Take silymarin. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that silymarin, a flavonoid found in milk thistle can help protect the liver from toxins. Silymarin is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help your liver repair itself by generating new cells.

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