Located in the upper right section of the abdomen, the liver is the largest organ in the body. It plays important roles in detoxification of blood, protein synthesis, metabolism of fats and production of bile. Inflammation or infection of the liver can impair the function of the organ and lead to liver diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and cholestasis. Excessive alcohol and certain medications increase the risk of these conditions. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. However, certain natural supplements and foods such as carrots may help manage liver diseases.
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Vitamin A and flavonoids in carrots are responsible for the health benefits it provides. Carrot oil extracted from the dried carrots contains compounds such as carotol and alpha-pinene and has also been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, including blood pressure, liver disease and infections. Carrots are available as fresh or frozen vegetables, juice, oil, capsules and liquid extracts. The dose depends on the age of the patient and the condition being treated.
Link Between Carrots and Liver Diseases
Biofortified carrots that have increased concentration of the biologically active compounds and may increase the antioxidant capacity of the liver in animal models, according to a study published in the September 2008 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition.” This may help neutralize the harmful free radicals formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the body. The unstable free radicals interact with the components of the liver and other cells of the body and damage them. Drugs.com also states that carrot extracts can help protect the liver against the intoxication caused by chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride in laboratory animals. However, these benefits have not been proven in actual clinical cases. James A. Duke, author of the book “The Green Pharmacy,” also states that carrots afford significant protection to the liver from damage inflicted by harmful chemicals and pollutants.
Raw and cooked carrots are generally safe to use. However, ingestion of large amounts of carrots can lead to neurological problems. Also, the University of California Department of Medicine states that excessive intake of carrots leads to carotenemia defined by abnormal yellow-orange skin hue, especially in the ears, palms and soles. Carotenemia is in turn associated with a variety of other conditions, such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
Always talk to a doctor before consuming excessive amounts of carrots for promoting liver health. Also, carrot and its extracts may not substitute for your existing liver medications and its benefits have not been proven in real clinical cases. Inform your doctor about any other medications you might be taking or pre-existing conditions.