For a while, the body copes successfully. But over the years, you will increasingly think that «I need to cleanse the liver». Initially, after loud parties, hangovers will get worse. Then you will start to feel heaviness in the right side after fatty food. And even later, your skin may turn yellow. These are all symptoms of liver damage. At the same time, you will not feel any pain — the liver simply «does not know how» to hurt.
And so you decided to take a «miracle pill» that will restore liver health…
At this stage, you are faced with a huge choice of hepatoprotectors — drugs that restore the liver. And now it can be scary:
The liver cannot be cured with pills, it can only be preserved as much as possible for old age.
Hepatoprotectors as a class of drugs exist only in the post-Soviet space. In Europe and the USA, their ineffectiveness has long been proven and they have abandoned their mass use. There they are presented as dietary supplements. Let’s go through the list and figure out why it’s not worth wasting money on hepatoprotectors.
Essential phospholipids are the most popular among them.
Theory: It is believed that they are the «building material» for liver cells and are embedded in them — they plug «holes». Thus, «restoration» occurs.
Practice: Technically, everything is correct. But in reality, phospholipids are in every cell of the body, not just in the liver. When you take a capsule, it dissolves in the stomach, the substance is absorbed into the blood, and then «has no idea where you hurt». Phospholipids are embedded in the cells of the mucous membrane, blood, muscles, and so on. That is, they are distributed evenly in the body, and do not specifically «fly» to the liver. To get any therapeutic result, you need to take these drugs for years. Considering their price — it’s easier to have a liver transplant right away.
Silymarin. This is the «star» among budget hepatoprotectors.
Theory: Silymarin, one of the biologically active substances of milk thistle, supposedly penetrates the liver cell and stimulates its recovery from the inside. It triggers the production of its own proteins, phospholipids, etc.
Practice: Silymarin has no proven effectiveness, in other words — it does not work according to numerous clinical studies.
Ademetionine — «super glue for the liver»
Theory: ademetionine is needed to embed phospholipids in the walls of liver cells. If phospholipids are bricks, then ademetionine is the cement that connects them.
Practice: exactly the same story as with essential phospholipids. Ademetionine is needed in all cells of the body, so it is evenly distributed in them. The liver receives amounts insufficient to create a clinical effect.
Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)
The only hepatoprotector approved by the FDA — the US drug control agency. UDCA has extremely narrow indications — the treatment of cholesterol stones in the gallbladder, less than 15mm in diameter. And that’s all. The drug is still unable to restore the liver.
Is there really no hope? There is only one way out. Take care of your liver and love it, eat right, exercise, prevent obesity and do not abuse alcohol. If you want to learn more about this — we have a special article about a diet beneficial for the liver.