Can Amla Help Liver Cirrhosis?
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Amla for Liver Cirrhosis: What’s the Verdict?
Liver diseases are a prominent health issue worldwide, with one recent study suggesting that up to 10% of people worldwide are currently affected by liver problems.
Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry (Emblica officianalis), is an ancient cure-all superfood from Ayurvedic medicine. It also happens to be one of a few natural remedies that has begun to show distinct, evidence-based potential to help prevent liver disease.
Alongside amla’s antioxidant power and cardiovascular benefits (both of which support your liver health), evidence indicates that amla not only improves liver health, but can also offer protection against harmful liver agents including:
- Carbon tetrachloride
- And heavy metals
These hepatoprotective effects are still being investigated, with current research still in early testing phases, but the early signs are that amla has serious potential to help you maintain a healthy liver.
In this article, we’ll touch on some of the main causes of liver damage and how amla’s benefits help combat these risk factors. We’ll also touch on how amla presents many benefits to your health.
Table of Contents
How Liver Damage Works
There are three major causes of liver damage: alcohol and drug abuse, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and infections from bacteria and viruses.
One of the most common, and most commonly known causes of liver damage is alcohol abuse. Despite being incredibly widespread and popular, alcohol is toxic to your liver, the tissue responsible for detoxifying ethanol.
When you consume alcohol, your liver is the organ that filters the alcohol out of your digestive system, breaks it down, and processes it. However, the liver can only process about 1 standard drink an hour, which allows excess alcohol to filter into your blood (causing the feeling of drunkenness).
However, alcohol is still a toxin, so the chemical process of breaking it down damages cells in the liver, and can also cause high levels of oxidative stress. Over the long term, consistently damaging your liver through alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis, and ultimately liver failure.
According to a recent study, “excess drinking” is qualified as more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and raises your risk for these problems drastically in the long term.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
The second common cause of liver damage is fatty liver disease, which is caused by a buildup of excess fat in the liver. It is normal for the liver to have a moderate amount of fat, but if your liver fat content exceeds 5-10% of its weight, NAFLD beginsbeings.
NAFLD doesn’t have many initial symptoms, but if left untreated (often identified by specific enzymes showing up in blood work) it can cause long liver damage and cirrhosis.
The biggest risk factors for NAFLD are obesity, high blood glucose, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol.
Other Viral and Bacterial Conditions (Hepatitis B)
There are also a wide range of viral and bacterial conditions that affect the liver. One of the most common and dangerous is hepatitis B, which directly targets the liver and drastically increases the rate and risk of liver damage.
Like many viral and bacterial conditions, these liver-affecting diseases are most-often caused by contact with or transmission from infected individuals.
Progression of Liver Damage
The vast majority of liver damage progresses in a similar manner, from a healthy liver, to fibrosis, to cirrhosis, and finally to cancer and failure.
Fortunately, your liver is very resilient, and if you catch liver damage early it can be reversed. The early symptoms of liver damage include:
- Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Dark urine
- Pale, bloody, or black (tarlike) stool
- Swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen
- Decrease in appetite
- Persistent fatigue
- Skin that feels itchy
- Bruising more easily than usual
What Science Says About How Amla Might Help Your Liver
For alcohol-based oxidative stress, amla’s incredibly high antioxidant value is quite beneficial.
For damage caused by NAFLD, amla tackles all major risk factors with its powerful anti-obesity, blood-glucose-lowering, insulin sensitivity-improving, and cholesterol-lowering effects.
Amla also boosts your innate immunity, both through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Reduce Oxidative Stress Caused by Drinking
Amla has the highest antioxidant value of any naturally occurring plant, outranking other common superfoods — blueberries, goji berries, turmeric, and others — sometimes by an order of magnitude.
These antioxidants roam your bloodstream, scavenging harmful particles called free radicals that are generated as your liver processes alcohol. This helps reduce your body’s oxidative stress, and helps protect your liver cells (as well as other cells).
Tackling Fatty Liver Disease Risk Factors
As we mentioned above, there are four major risk factors for fatty liver disease: high blood glucose, high body fat, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol.
Amla has evidence-based benefits to improve all four. Studies have shown this berry’s ability to consistently lower cholesterol, promote weight loss, and lower your blood glucose as much as leading medications, all of which help reduce insulin resistance.
Boost Your Innate (General) Immunity
Amla’s antioxidant power, nutritional value (including higher levels of vitamin C than most citrus) and its anti-inflammatory properties both help boost your general immunity, which is one of the most effective ways to protect your body from many viral and bacterial infections.
Free radicals are also generated by your immune system, which antioxidants support and help keep your body functioning in top shape. A similar process occurs with inflammation, which is where amla’s anti-inflammatory properties are decisively helpful.
No amount of immune-boosting can make your body impervious to bacterial and viral infection, but it can certainly make a difference.
Other Ways Amla May Benefit Your Health
The interesting thing about amla is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of its incredibly diverse health benefits. There’s a reason this superfood has been called a “wonder berry”, especially after evidence builds that this ancient cure-all may actually work.
In fact, the evidence suggests that amla may have:
- Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory
- Wound healing
- Weight loss
- And Neuroprotective effects
To learn more about this incredibly potent plant-based medicine, you can explore our full article on the benefits of amla here.
How to Get Amla Powder in Your Diet
All of this begs the question: why isn’t amla more popular?
Well, this is true for two reasons. The first is that it’s difficult to source high quality, organic amla, even in India and Southeast Asia. The second is that by itself, amla tastes incredibly tart and bitter.
We’ve tackled both of these hurdles with Amla Green. We source 100% organic, high- quality amla berries for a 20x concentrated powder, mixing the flavors with hibiscus or green tea to offer a tasty way to integrate amla into your diet.
We’re thrilled to share Amla Green and its benefits with the world, which is why we’re offering your first batch risk-free. If you don’t like it, you can send it back for a full refund, no questions asked.
But we think you’ll like it. We sure do.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
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Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta