Carotenoids in Different Etiologies of Chronic Liver Diseases

By Kyle J. Norton

The liver is the largest internal organ found in the human which plays an essential role in filtering the blood from the digestive system before passing them to other parts of the body.

The liver also produces cholesterol, a waxy substance which aids digestion, builds cell membranes and produces vitamin D and steroid hormones.

Liver disease is a class of medical condition characterized by the reducing partly or completely the function of the liver, including liver failure.

Most common types of liver disease in the US are
* Hepatitis C (26%) is a liver disease caused by liver inflammation caused by viral Hepatitis C, leading to irreversible liver scars. Over time, the condition can also induce liver cancer.

* Alcoholic liver disease (21%) is a condition caused long-term excessive alcohol drinking. It is known that years of alcohol abuse can cause the liver to become inflamed and swollen. Over time, it has been found to induce the formation of liver scars, known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final stage of liver disease.

* Hepatitis C plus alcoholic liver disease (15%)
* Cryptogenic causes (18%) is a condition with no apparent underlying reason. However, most researchers suggested that many cases of cryptogenic cirrhosis are likely caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition of fat accumulated in the liver.
* Hepatitis B and  D (15%) are liver diseases caused by liver inflammation caused by viral Hepatitis C, leading to irreversible liver scars. Over time, the condition can also induce liver cancer.

Most common symptoms of liver disease are jaundice, abdominal pain and swelling, swelling in the legs and ankles, itchy skin, dark urine color, pale stool color, or bloody or tar-colored stool, chronic fatigue and nausea or vomiting.

Carotenoids is a class of mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, including lycopene and carotene, found abundantly in ripe tomato, pumpkins, carrots, corn, and daffodils.

On finding a natural ingredient for the treatment of chronic liver diseases, researchers examined the effects of carotenoids against reactive oxygen species and oxidative damage associated with the onset of liver damage.

Overexpression of free radical-induced oxidative stress in the liver not only induced lipid and protein oxidation but also caused the alternation of the liver cell DNA, leading to reduced function of the liver.

Dietary carotenoids as antioxidants not only protected the liver cellular metabolism but also balanced the ratio of free radical in the liver, thus preventing the onset of liver oxidative stress, the major cause of chronic liver disease, including cancer.

In other words, carotenoids enhanced the liver functioning by inactivating reactive oxygen species and obstructing lipid and protein oxidative damage, the vital prophylactic strategic molecules.

In chemical differentiation,
 β-Carotene supplementation enhanced the levels of antioxidants in the tested subject that act as free radical scavengers such as vitamin C, glutathione, and glutathione-related enzymes against liver toxicity caused by administration of aflatoxin-B1.

Furthermore, β-Carotene also inhibited liver disease associated with both HBV and HCV by suppressing the elevation of inflammatory and oxidative conditions in hepatocytes.

* Lycopene found abundantly in tomato and products of tomato possesses antioxidant, and detoxification abilities in many epidemiological and animal studies, thus preventing liver oxidative stress induced chronic diseases.

* Lutein, another phytochemical and bioactive compound found in carotenoids has been found epidemiologically to possess a strong antioxidant activity by promoting the production liver antioxdant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione,  against diseases associated with oxidative stress including antiviral activity against hepatitis B.

* Other carotenoids such as β-Cryptoxanthin, α-carotene, fucoxanthin, and zeaxanthin also show promising effects against chronic liver injury through their antioxidant activity.

Taken altogether, betacyanins used alone or combined with conventional medicine may be considered a remedy for the prevention and treatment of adjuvant rheumatic diseases, pending to the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of carotenoids in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Role of Dietary Carotenoids in Different Etiologies of Chronic Liver Diseases By Uzma Latief and Riaz Ahmad