Things That Can Damage Your Liver & Kidneys

Things That Can Damage Your Liver & Kidneys

What is damaging your liver and Kidneys? | Dr. Erin Mayfield | Licensed DO, DipABLM, DipOLOG

Your liver and kidney’s are amazing organs that is often overlooked.

They are a major powerhouse that keeps your entire body healthy by filtering out toxins and extra fluid in your blood. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. If they start to fail, harmful wastes will build up in your system and lead to the demise of other organs. Let’s take a look at a few things you might be surprised about. 

Sugar

Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth. It can harm your liver, too. The organ uses one type of sugar, called fructose, to make fat. Too much-refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup causes a fatty buildup that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you’re not overweight. It’s one more reason to limit foods with added sugars, such as soda, pastries, and candy.

Salt

Sodium overload leads to increased blood pressure, which puts a strain on your kidneys. The typical American diet has been estimated to contain about 3,300 mg of sodium per day, which is much higher than the 2,300 mg daily maximum (about a teaspoon of salt) recommended by the government for healthy adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of the sodium Americans consume is found in processed food and restaurant meals.

Meat & Dairy Products

Diets high in animal protein from meats and dairy products can cause kidney damage because they can be very hard to metabolize. This places a heavy burden on the kidneys, making it hard for them to eliminate waste products. A high-protein diet may cause or exacerbate existing kidney problems. In addition, studies show many health benefits to moving away from an animal-based diet towards one based on plants. Colorful plant foods are nutritional powerhouses and can prevent chronic disease.

Extra Pounds

The extra fat can build up in your liver cells and lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As a result, your liver may swell. Over time, it can harden and scar liver tissue (doctors call this cirrhosis). You are more likely to get NAFLD if you are overweight or obese, middle-aged, or have diabetes. You may be able to turn things around. Diet and exercise can stop the disease.

Soft Drinks

Research shows that people who drink a lot of soft drinks are more likely to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Studies don’t prove that the drinks were the cause. But if you down a lot of sodas and have been meaning to cut back, this could be a good reason to switch what you sip.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are a man-made fat in some packaged foods and baked goods. (You’ll see them listed as “partially hydrogenated” ingredients). A diet high in trans fats makes you more likely to gain weight. That’s not good for your liver. Check the ingredients list. Even if it says “0” grams of trans fat, it may still have a small amount, and that adds up.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

A large percentage of our processed foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Unfortunately, the long-term health effects of GMO crops on humans remain unknown due to the lack of studies. However, studies on animals indicate that serious health effects are linked to GMOs. These include changes in major organs like the kidneys.

How to Keep Your Liver & Kidneys Healthy

Eat the Rainbow

That means fruits and vegetables from all the colors of the rainbow, which helps ensure you get all the nutrients and fiber you need. Avoid refined carbs like doughnuts and white bread in favor of whole-grain rice, breads, and cereals. A bit of meat, dairy, and fat can also help. But not too much, and look for “good” (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) fats from seeds, nuts, fish, and vegetable oils.

Resources:

Documentaries

  • Forks over Knives
  • The Game Changers Movie, (added perks of athletes and a urologist)
  • Code Blue, Dr. Stancic reversed her multiple sclerosis brain lesions with food; she talks about the lack of nutrition education in med schools.

Websites:

To sum things up:

Your doesn’t get the respect it deserves. If you asked most people to rank their organs, their liver might be way down the list.  But day and night, it breaks down food, fights infection, and filters bad stuff from your blood. You can’t live without it. Luckily, you can often slow, stop, or even reverse liver damage.

Dr. Erin Mayfield and her research have proven successful in treating patients with fatty livers using lifestyle medicine.  Following her recommended treatment for fatty liver, high blood pressure and diabetes can reverse health problems and start healing your body.