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New Report Outlines National Strategy to Eliminate Hepatitis

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Priority and strategy – these are the key aspects of hepatitis elimination that were put forward by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (The National Academies) in their recent report, “A National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C: Phase Two Report.”

“Viral hepatitis is simply not a sufficient priority in the United States,” said Brian Strom of Rutgers University, who heads the committee that conducted the study behind this consensus report. “Despite being the seventh leading cause of death in the world — and killing more people every year than HIV, road traffic accidents, or diabetes — viral hepatitis accounts for less than 1 percent of the National Institutes of Health research budget.”

Combined, chronic hepatitis B and C affect about 4 million people in the U.S., alone. Viral hepatitis increases the risk of developing liver cancer, which has become more prevalent. From 2003 to 2012, liver cancer cases in the U.S. have increased by 38 percent, while deaths caused by this condition rose by 56 percent. Developing a more strategic approach to prevent, diagnose, and treat hepatitis is indeed fundamental to address liver cancer.

The very reason that the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation was established in his name, in 2008, was in direct response to Al’s untimely death, during this noted nine-year time period, when liver cancer cases — and fatalities associated with viral hepatitis — were markedly on the rise.

The report underscores hepatitis as a public health concern and highlights the barriers to its elimination. It also points to important tools such as diagnosis — even more helpful when it’s early — which could cut the number of hepatitis B-related deaths by 2030. Screening at-risk populations for hepatitis B could also reduce liver cancer cases from this virus strain by 45 percent.

Keeping hepatitis elimination as a top public health priority requires aggressive efforts, the report suggests. For example, the report committee noted that a coordinated federal effort would be needed to effectively manage injection practices and expand syringe exchange programs for people who inject drugs.

Prevention through immunization is also part of the outlined strategy. The committee called for the National Council on Quality Assurance to monitor the delivery of hepatitis B vaccines to newborns, particularly those born to women with chronic hepatitis B.

Regarding hepatitis C, which has no known vaccine, the report suggests new payment models that will help hepatitis C patients — especially those who are underserved with little to no access to health insurance — pay for expensive medication. 

“By implementing The National Academies’ recommendations, we can erase the stigma that keeps our nation from achieving elimination and specifically address the needs of those most heavily impacted by hepatitis B and C, including people who use drugs, the incarcerated, and people using Medicaid and other public health programs,” said Ryan Clary, executive director of National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR).

To learn more about the report, click here

To know more about The National Academies, visit their website

For more on hepatitis testing guidelines, click here

WHO Promotes New Hepatitis Testing Guidelines

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

The medical and health communities have made great strides in developing hepatitis treatments and making these available across the world. However, viral hepatitis continues to affect over 300 million people and to cause 1.4 million deaths each year, thus begging the question — are we doing enough to combat hepatitis?

CaptureThe World Health Organization (WHO) confronts this question with an official response: the first ever publication outlining global guidelines for viral hepatitis released in February 2017 at the 26th Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver in Shanghai, China.

Testing remains to be one of the most important and basic means to prevent and manage hepatitis. This is especially true because many people with hepatitis may not exhibit any symptoms. Affected individuals may unknowingly live with the virus for decades, and later suffer from its long-term effects. For example, up to 85 percent of those with hepatitis C develop serious infections that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

One of the goals in introducing the new guidelines is to simplify the current approaches to hepatitis testing — from determining the people who need to get tested, to identifying testing centers, and to connecting affected people with suitable treatment resources.

“Improving access to hepatitis testing is critical to increasing access to life-saving treatments,” said Dr. Marc Bulterys in WHO’s press release announcing the newly issued guidelines. Bulterys noted that testing is particularly important in low- and middle-income countries where many people are not aware that they are infected and have limited access to treatment.

The WHO guidelines encourage rapid diagnostic testing for high-risk groups such as: those who have HIV, those who inject drugs, and children born from mothers with hepatitis. The guidelines also push for rapid testing of hard-to-reach populations, community health workers, and incarcerated people.

Ultimately, the guidelines serve as a blueprint for countries to strengthen current hepatitis testing programs, encourage early detection, and improve chances of survival. Clearly, WHO’s tremendous work and efforts align with ADRLF’s message to: SCREEN. Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate!

Learn more about WHO’s Guidelines here

Identify early signs of hepatitis here

Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day — Smoothie Style!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

There are different ways to go green and celebrate this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. Keeping your liver health in mind, you can skip the green-frosted cupcakes and lime-colored beer and go for healthier options. Leafy greens contain a lot of fiber and antioxidants that assist important liver functions, such as breaking down toxins and chemicals. So, don’t leave your health to luck! Try these tasty green smoothie recipes that will help cleanse your liver as you commemorate this popular, festive holiday dedicated to Ireland’s patron saint.  ‘Drowning the shamrock’ can have its benefits!

smoothie-1200530_1920Ultimate Green Smoothie (source: www.incrediblesmoothies.com)

This recipe calls for fresh ginger, which contains gingerol — a bioactive compound with digestive cleansing and medicinal properties.

Ingredients:

1 orange, peeled

1 medium banana, peeled

1/2 lime, peeled

1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked for 5 minutes

1 small piece of ginger, grated

2 cups kale or dandelion greens, chopped

8 ounces of water or homemade almond milk

Directions:

Add all the ingredients except for the greens to your blender and hit the “pulse” button a few times. Then add the greens and blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Green Goddess (source: www.prevention.com)

This smoothie makes use of spinach, which contains a skin-friendly compound called glycoglycerolipids, and also features parsley, which is an effective diuretic.

Ingredients:

10 spinach leaves

1 stalk celery

½ cucumber

½ cup parsley

Directions:

Put all ingredients through a juicer. Chill with ice, if desired.

Green Detox Smoothie (source: www.autoimmunewellness.com)

This smoothie has coconut juice, which contains fatty acids that help process toxins in the blood stream. For more on the liver health benefits of coconuts, as well as buying tips, check out our previous blog.        

Ingredients:

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and roughly chopped, peel left on

1 kiwi, peeled and roughly sliced

1 large green kale leaf, stalk removed (save it for something else), leaf roughly chopped

¼ packed cup curly parsley, stalks included

2½-inch piece cucumber, thickly sliced, peel left on

¾-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced

2 cups coconut water

Directions:

Put all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.

For more liver-cleansing recipes you might want to try, click here.

So, get your green on, and enjoy St. Patrick’s Day without harming your liver! And always remember to: Screen, Vaccinate — Don’t Hesitate!

Support ADRLF on World Cancer Day

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Greetings ADRLF Friends & Family,

We hope this winter finds you in great health and spirits! In observance of World Cancer Day 2017, we’re proud to share that 2016 has been a great year for the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation and our mission to screen, vaccinate, and increase awareness around hepatitis and its alarmingly silent relationship to liver cancer. With your ongoing support our voices together will continue to grow and spread this message across small communities and global borders.

badge 1

Festive, serious, and goal-oriented at once, our work this year has expanded our outreach! This year, for our annual fundraiser, we got a little sporty and hosted a fun, interactive 1970s themed event — ADRLF’s Disco Bowl Spring Fling! A May afternoon of spirited bowling, and colorful bell bottoms, concluded with a special musical performance by The Discoettes, as we raised $9000 from sponsors and supporters towards health screenings and education.                         

In July, ADRLF produced a second annual social media event to help promote World Hepatitis Day! This time, to honor Al’s deep pride of his Cuban-American heritage, we focused on Latino (Spanish-/Portuguese-speaking) populations worldwide, vis-à-vis hepatitis related issues such as:  awareness, stigma, treatment access, and mobilization — particularly in under-served communities and regardless of immigration status. Joining forces with the World Hepatitis Alliance to help launch the NOhep initiative — a global movement aimed at eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030 — our own “Top Ten” initiative doubled our Twitter outreach, engaged new allies, and attracted potential healthcare partners.

In keeping Al’s vibrant legacy alive through youth outreach, we have set up two scholarships in Al’s name at his beloved college and high school alma maters — Long Island University (Brookville, NY), and Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, NY), respectively.  We look forward to these students being hopeful envoys of our message through their educational work.                

Rounding out the year, in partnership with the Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, we hosted a successful “Give Thanks for Your Liver” Open House/Hepatitis Screening Event in November. With tasty treats on offer throughout, the gorgeous autumn day kicked off with an interactive educational presentation on hepatitis, followed by fun liver-wellness-inspired classes from cooking, to art, to dance led by illustrious professional instructors! Meanwhile, inclined visitors were provided free hepatitis screenings, and helpful healthcare information. Events like these are the cornerstone of our diligent work. Last but not least, our Board Member, Carson Kressley, brought national attention to the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation, when his team played for ADRLF on ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud — and won! 

Thanks to robust stateside healthcare advocacy, today over 91% of Latino/Hispanic babies in the U.S. have access to hepatitis B vaccines  

With February 4th highlighting World Cancer Day, we share the global message: “We Can. I Can.” We can conquer hepatitis and liver cancer. Please join us in spreading the word by supporting ADRLF’s winter initiative with your donations. In doing so, you can also honor a friend, colleague or family member with a gift in their name as we work together to help save lives.  With our volunteer board and minimal overhead costs, every penny makes a difference and your tax- deductible donation will go directly to our outreach. Al left an indelible mark on us all.  Thank you for believing in our foundation, embracing Al’s spirit, and supporting our message along this amazing 8-year journey.   

Happy winter! And help keep spreading the word to: Screen. Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate! 

The ADRLF Board

Darcy Becker, Lisa Collins, Cara Joy David, Harriett D. Foy, Elana Hayden, Carson Kressley, Dr. Carlos Ortiz, Crayton Robey & Daniella Stromberg

 

Do Energy Drinks Cause Hepatitis?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Do energy drinks cause hepatitis? The connection between energy drinks and this serious liver disease became a major concern after an alarming case report was published by a group of researchers from the University of Florida College of Medicine. The report cited a case of acute hepatitis that was associated with the patient’s consumption of 4 to 5 energy drinks a day for three weeks, prior to being hospitalized. The 50-year-old patient showed symptoms of hepatitis C and was found to have underlying hepatitis infection. However, further tests showed that his liver damage was not caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV); rather, it was caused by toxins or drugs.

liver, hepatitis, energy drink,

Take energy drinks in moderation to avoid liver injury. (Photo credit: Tambako The Jaguar)

So what does this mean?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that results in the inflammation of the liver. Untreated cases can lead to scarring of the liver or cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. HCV is commonly spread through contact with infected body fluids or blood, as in the case of an infected pregnant woman passing the virus to the fetus. The virus is also spread through sharing contaminated needles, particularly among drug users. It is important to note that HCV is not spread through casual contact, food or water.

In this patient’s case, where do energy drinks fit into the scenario?

Further laboratory studies showed that the patient’s blood had high levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid – in fact it “exceeded quantifiable limits.” Notably, these vitamins are commonly found in energy drinks. When taken in large amounts, they can be toxic. And these vitamins – as do all chemicals and toxins that enter our body – typically accumulate in the liver. As such, for this patient, the excessive quantities of these energy drink ingredients caused a liver injury.

But how does this affect your energy drink intake?

A constructive point of this case report is that moderation is key. Drug-induced liver injury is a serious and common health problem in the U.S. Energy drinks, in particular, contain significant amounts of caffeine, niacin, and vitamins like B6. Harmless as these ‘vitamins’ may sound, consumers must keep within the recommended daily values of vitamins and nutrients to avoid the harmful risks of overdose. So before swearing off of energy drinks altogether, just be mindful that healthwise — ‘overdoing it’ can be just as harmful as not doing any thing at all. And with that as a guide in this new year, we remind you to make sure to take preventative actions against hepatitis: Screen. Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate.

Learn more about drug-induced liver injury here

Prevent hepatitis with these awareness tips

Celebrate with Liver Liberating Holiday Recipes

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Parties! Gatherings! Homecomings! It’s that electric time of the year again with joyful songs, colorful lights, and cheerful spirits abound! Yet while this season is a top fave for most, it can also be a highly stressful one — especially for those who are tasked to prepare the holiday meal. Creating a balance of traditional and healthy options can be challenging, but not impossible. For starters, take note of foods that are rich in vitamins and fiber, which assist digestion (your guests will thank you later!). These include whole grains and leafy greens. Also consider using ingredients with antioxidants and methionine, which help the liver process sugar, additives, and toxins that are commonly found in many holiday offerings. For example — fish, legumes, brussel sprouts, beets, and fruits such as blueberries and Goji berries have high antioxidant levels, and therefore may help prevent liver damage.

Celebrate the holidays with liver-friendly options (photo credit: Clara Don)

Celebrate the holidays with liver-friendly options (photo credit: Clara Don)

In the spirit of giving, ADRLF shares these delectable and healthy recipes for a stress-free and liver-friendly holiday feast.  We promise with these offerings on your table, you’ll be the toast of the town!

Sweet Potato Latkes with Tomatillo Salsa

If you’re feeling a bit more health-conscious and adventurous this year, try this healthier latke recipe from Men’s Fitness. Sweet potatoes (instead of the traditional potatoes) are low in sodium and high in multivitamins, such beta-carotene, vitamins B5 and B6, and niacin. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant that aids liver cleansing.

Ingredients for Latkes:

1 lb. sweet potatoes or yams

2 large eggs (beaten)

2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. kosher salt

Black pepper to taste

½ cup to ¾ cup olive oil

Low-fat sour cream (optional)

 

Ingredients for Tomatillo Salsa:

1 lb. tomatillos (green tomatoes)

1 head garlic, peeled

10-15 habanero peppers (dependent on desired spice factor)

Handful of cilantro

Salt and pepper

Instructions for Latkes:

  1. Peel sweet potatoes and/or yams and coarsely grate by hand (or use a food processor).
  2. Drain potatoes/yams of any access liquid with paper towel or clean dishcloth.
  3. Place sweet potatoes/yams in bowl and mix with beaten eggs, flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper. Coupons
  4. In a 12-inch or slightly larger non-stick pan, begin to heat up olive oil.
  5. Pat potato mixture into 3-inch round patties, making sure they are well condensed and sticking together nicely.
  6. Place 4 latkes in pan at a time and fry on each side until brown and crispy. Each family likes their latkes at different consistencies from slightly browned to almost black and very crispy. Note that sugar burns quickly and turns things black faster, so flip the latkes often.
  7. Remove latkes from oil and place on platter layered with paper towels to absorb extra oil.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until all latkes are made.

Instructions for Tomatillo Salsa:

  1. Place tomatillos in boiling hot water until they are soft.
  2. Cook garlic in oven at 350 degrees with a little olive oil until it turns brown.
  3. Mix all ingredients (tomatillos, pinch of salt and pepper, habanero chiles, cilantro) in a blender and puree.

Instructions for Serving:

  1. Drizzle the tomatillo salsa over the sweet latkes or place it next to latkes.
  2. Drizzle with sour cream or serve it on the side. (optional)

 

Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets & Pomegranate

Quinoa tops the list of the healthiest foods, with its high-fiber and high-protein content. It also features flavonoids  — plant anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory qualities that have various health benefits. This recipe from Eating Well definitely adds a delicious twist to your holiday menu.

Ingredients for Salad

3 medium beets (about 1¼ pounds)

2 cups vegetable broth

1½ cups water

2 cups red quinoa

½ teaspoon salt

3 medium oranges

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided

½ cup chopped pitted dates1 whole pomegranate, seeded

Instructions:

  1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Trim the root end of the beets and remove any greens (reserving for another use); rinse and pat dry. Wrap individually in foil. Roast until tender, 1 to 1¼ hours, depending on size. (Alternatively, place beets in a microwave-safe dish, add ¼ cup water, cover loosely and microwave on High until the beets are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.)
  3. Bring broth, water, quinoa and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl.
  4. Zest and juice 1 orange. Place the juice in a medium bowl. Working over another bowl, cut the remaining 2 oranges into segments (see Tips) and set aside. Measure the juice from the first orange—if it isn’t quite ⅓ cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes until you get ⅓ cup. Add the zest, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and pepper to the juice; gradually whisk in oil in a thin stream until well combined. Stir in ¼ cup parsley.
  5. Peel and dice roasted beets when they are cool enough to handle. Add to the quinoa along with dates and gently combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with the reserved orange segments, pomegranate seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

 

Coconut Eggnog

The holiday season would not be complete without traditional items like eggnog. Skip the alcohol (if you’re inclined), and add some liver-friendly goodness by using coconut milk as your base. Coconuts have large amounts of MCT, making it a liver “superfood.” MCT is a fatty acid that helps the liver detoxify. Here’s a useful guide in buying coconuts. For an easy or a traditional method, we love this recipe from Wellness Mama.

 

Ingredients for Eggnog:

6 cups of coconut milk (about 3 cans)

6 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of vanilla

¼ cup honey or cane sugar or a few drops of stevia extract (optional)

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ cup (or more) spiced rum or brandy (optional)

Instructions:

Easy method

  1. Put all ingredients except alcohol in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. SLOWLY bring up to low heat in a medium saucepan, being careful not to let it boil. When it is warmed and barely starting to thicken, it is ready.
  3. Chill in fridge for a few hours or overnight and whisk alcohol in just before serving.

Traditional method

  1. Heat coconut milk and vanilla until warm in medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk or blend the egg yolks, sugar and spices in a blender.
  3. Slowly add in about half of the coconut mixture to the egg yolks to warm it and then add the whole mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Bring up to low heat and whisk until barely starting to thicken.

 

* * * * * *  * *  * *

Do let us know how it all turned out at @ADRLFoundation! We’d love a few tasty words from you, or better yet, a picture!

The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation wishes you and yours the HAPPIEST & HEALTHIEST OF HOLIDAYS!

Tasty Recipes for Your Needed Autumn Liver Cleanse!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Are you experiencing abdominal bloating, having trouble digesting fatty foods, gaining weight even with deliberate calorie restriction, and/or experiencing pain on the right upper abdominal area under the rib cage? Your liver might be telling you it needs help. Your liver functions as the main organ for flushing out toxins, as well it is a key organ for digestion. Your liver might be working on overtime, and in need of you ‘pressing the reset button’ with a refreshing cleanse.

Take advantage of Fall harvest for liver-friendly cleansing treats (Photo credit: Creative Commons; Cale Bruckner).

Here are three tasty treats for your liver:


Mediterranean Apple Cider Recipe
INGREDIENTS:
4 cups of apple cider
Half cup of orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
Half teaspoon of ground allspice
Pinch of nutmeg
*Note: Allspice is a special herb that is commonly used to cook savoury dishes. This superb herb is made from dried pimenta fruit of the evergreen myrtle plant: Pimenta Dioica.


INSTRUCTIONS:
In a pot or thick saucepan, place the apple cider, followed by the cloves, pinch of nutmeg, and the half-teaspoon of Allspice. Stir to mix the spices with the apple cider. Poor the orange juice and then add the cinnamon stick.
Turn the stove to medium-high heat until the cider begins to boil. Then adjust the heat to lower setting and let the concoction simmer for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to occasionally stir the cider.


Let it cool for a while. Some people enjoy this drink warm; some people like to place this in the refrigerator to cool it overnight. Either way, your body will benefit from this tasty, healthy concoction!


Apple Cider Jam
INGREDIENTS:
5 cups of apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip of lemon or orange zest
1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves
1 cup of honey
1 package of low or no-sugar-needed powdered pectin (such as Ball)


INSTRUCTIONS:
Mix the honey and the pectin. Then set aside. Pour the apple cider into a large pot. Group the cinnamon stick, lemon zest, and cloves together in a cheesecloth and add to the pot. Boil the mixture. Add the honey-pectin mixture. Stir the mixture constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and take out the cheesecloth from the mixture. Skim any foam from the surface of the jelly. Pour the mixture into a jar then let it rest for at least six hours.


Onion-Apple Cider Soup
INGREDIENTS:
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
6 large onions (about 3 1/2 pounds), halved, thinly sliced
3 cups of low-salt chicken broth
2 1/2 cups of bottled apple cider
12 large thyme sprigs
Chopped fresh thyme


INSTRUCTIONS:
Put the butter and oil in a large pot. Sauté the onions in the butter-oil mixture. Add the chicken broth, cider, and thyme sprigs. Boil. Reduce the heat and then season with salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer for 25 minutes, then remove the thyme sprigs.


These are three simple apple cider recipes that will benefit your liver this autumn — especially with the quickly approaching holidays, where your liver will be in high demand.


Always remember, apple cider is a great way to cleanse your liver. It has a combination of minerals, vitamins and alkalinity that helps the liver get rid of accumulated toxins; and apple cider also helps keep the body’s PH balance from becoming overly acidic.


Check this site for more liver detox recipes
 

Halloween Goodies: Threat or Treat?

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

If you ask young children what they like best about Halloween, there is a big chance that they will answer: “Candy!!” While the Halloween sweet treats may bring smiles to trick-or-treaters of all ages, they may also bring unwanted liver disease. Parents and guardians need to be cautious.  Candies and other sweet goodies are now commonly made with artificial sweeteners, which are more of a threat than a treat to our bodies’ health.  

Think twice about those sugar-filled halloween goodies. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

Think twice about those sugar-filled halloween goodies. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

Most of the Halloween treats are made with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose. In the 1970s after discovering that HFCS is 20% sweeter than table sugar and cheaper to produce, the food and beverage industry switched to corn syrup. Sadly, at present, 55% of sweeteners — used in manufacturing food and beverages in America — are HFCS. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about 25% of American calorie consumption is in the form of added sugars, most of which is HFCS. Dr. Talal Adhami, a member of American Liver Foundation’s National Medical Advisory Committee, argues that fructose in any form — including HFCS and crystalline fructose — is a major health hazard.

How do sugar substitutes — particularly the alternative processed fructose — damage the liver?

First, one of the problems with artificial sweeteners is that they are marketed as either healthier or safer alternatives because — as some “experts” say — “they pass through your body undigested.” In response to this train of thought, people are consuming fructose in greater, massive quantities. Yet the may be unaware that fructose, when excessively consumed, turns into a chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin.

The liver carries the entire burden of metabolizing fructose. Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, explains that our livers have a very limited capacity to metabolize sugar, particularly processed fructose. Because our liver cannot metabolize 100% of our fructose consumption, it turns into free fatty acids (FFAs), harmful forms of cholesterol, and triglycerides, which get stored as fat. This may lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver, and other liver diseases.

As fantastically fun as it is, Halloween is still no excuse to expose oneself to potentially frightful health hazards caused by artificial sweeteners. Enjoy this season — while taking care of your liver — by consuming candies and sweet goodies in moderation. After all, October is Liver Health Awareness month!

For additional information on why artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar, check out this article.

For a short list of what not to consume to protect our liver’s health, read this article.

For more information about your liver health and liver awareness month, visit this site.

“Give Thanks For Your Liver” with ADRLF on Nov. 2

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s cooking for ADRLF this season — a fun-filled, tasty, informative “Liver Wellness/Hepatitis Screening” Open House event with our partners at the Ryan Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, next Wednesday, November 2nd, from 11AM to 4PM, as we invite you to “Give Thanks for Your Liver.”

give-thanks

YOGA’ta Love Your Liver!

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Are you — or someone you know — one of the many people today whose job requires long hours of sitting and typing? If your answer is ‘yes,’ make sure you know the serious health risks associated with prolonged sitting. In our blog, Love your Liver? Get up and move!we discussed a study which found  that sitting for 10 hours or more a day may lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). To prevent NAFLD, it is important to reduce sitting time through physical activities like yoga — which features poses that are beneficial to your liver.

Try some yoga to keep your body and liver healthy. (Photo credit: MeditationMusic.net)

Try some yoga to keep your body and liver healthy. (Photo credit: MeditationMusic.net)

NAFLD is one of the most common liver diseases. It is a serious condition caused by the build-up of extra fat in the liver, which typically happens to people with sedentary practices, including extended periods of sitting. The accumulation of excess fat makes it difficult for the liver to breaking down fats into much-needed energy. To prevent NAFLD, incorporate a good diet and exercise into your daily routine.

Yoga (or asana in Sanskrit) is a great way to stay physically active even on tedious work days. Many physicians recommend yoga as an exercise to help improve general health and wellbeing. Certain yoga poses can stimulate the liver to function properly, helping other organs to work as well.  It’s also a relaxing way to stretch strained muscles and relieve stress after hours of sitting and typing on your desk, or driving. Yoga poses are easy to learn, simple to perform, and can be done at your own pace and comfort zone — at home, at the gym, or even in the office.

Here are some liver-friendly yoga poses that you can try —

Yoga Skull Breathing Exercise (Kapalbhati Pranayama): Breathing exercises are great in stimulating the liver. When done correctly, this yoga pose will help remove toxins, calm the mind, and keep depression away.

Seated Half-Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana):  This pose targets abdominal problems such as indigestion, constipation, or urinary tract disorders. It helps relieve pain by pressing your abdomen where your largest organ, the liver, is located.  The spinal twist stretches the muscles on your back and hip, giving you a soothing relief from stiffness.

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)This pose also targets the abdominal area, which consequently stimulates the liver as well as other nearby organs such as the pancreas and small and large intestines. Since it is a bow exercise, your back also gets the benefit of a total workout. Back muscles are stretched and strengthened to allow flexibility and improve good posture.

For pre-yoga stretching, check out these warm-up exercises

For more liver-friendly moves, practice these yoga poses

For exercises you can do at work, try these office yoga moves

Remember to consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. And to ensure a healthy liver, ADRLF reminds you to: Screen, Vaccinate, Educate, Don’t Hesitate!