The liver is the largest gland in the human body and the sole internal organ that has the ability to regenerate itself. Its key functions include secretion of bile, storing vitamins, clotting blood and destroying bacteria. The liver also acts as a detoxification agent by disposing of toxic substances through the kidneys and bowels.
The kidneys maintain water balance in the body, assist with chemical balance and remove waste products. There are a number of vitamins essential for effective functioning of the liver and kidneys.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin B6 is essential for a healthy liver and kidneys 36. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in converting carbohydrates into energy and removing toxins from the body. Healthy sources of vitamin B6 include:
Vitamin B6 also assists in maintaining a healthy immune system, metabolism of proteins and reducing kidney stone occurrence.
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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is crucial for absorption of calcium and for healthy immune function. The Colorado State University Website states that dietary calcium is not absorbed efficiently in the absence of vitamin D. People who suffer from liver disease may benefit from vitamin D which is also essential for efficient kidney function 34. It is believed to slow down the progression of chronic liver disease as well, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Important food sources of vitamin D include:
- leafy vegetables
- fish oils
- fortified cereals
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is crucial for absorption of calcium and for healthy immune function.
- The Colorado State University Website states that dietary calcium is not absorbed efficiently in the absence of vitamin D. People who suffer from liver disease may benefit from vitamin D which is also essential for efficient kidney function 3.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that protects the liver by stimulating the production of detoxifying enzymes and helps with the absorption of iron. It also aids in preventing and dissolving kidney stones. Vitamin C intake with B-complex vitamins can assist in lessening liver disorders like cirrhosis and hepatitis. Major sources include citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit as well as kiwi, pineapple, broccoli and red pepper.
- Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that protects the liver by stimulating the production of detoxifying enzymes and helps with the absorption of iron.
- Vitamin C intake with B-complex vitamins can assist in lessening liver disorders like cirrhosis and hepatitis.
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Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin which prevents vitamin A and essential fatty acids from being oxidized in the cells. As an antioxidant, it assists the liver with the process of detoxification and in breaking down fats. According to a study by the U.C. Irvine College of Medicine, high doses of vitamin E may play a key role in reducing blood pressure, especially in patients with kidney disease. Another study by the University of Essex Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences indicates that dietary supplementation with Vitamin E may cut down oxidative stress thereby slowing the progression of kidney disease 23. Healthy sources of vitamin E are nuts, broccoli and spinach.
- Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin which prevents vitamin A and essential fatty acids from being oxidized in the cells.
- Another study by the University of Essex Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences indicates that dietary supplementation with Vitamin E may cut down oxidative stress thereby slowing the progression of kidney disease 2.
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- MedlinePlus: Vitamin D
- PubMed: Vitamin E May Slow Kidney Failure Owing to Oxidative Stress
- Oregon State University: Vitamin C
- Colorado State University: Vitamin D; Calcitriol
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin D
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B6; Pyridoxine
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ShaeLee Chatterton began writing professionally in 2007. She has written articles for "Women's Health" magazine online and edited for LA Splash Magazine. She is a fitness nutrition coach through the National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association and is certified as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise. Chatterton earned a Bachelor of Arts in exercise science and communications at Boise State University.