Our liver is responsible for various functions. It also takes part in the metabolism of different hormones in our body. However, certain nutritional deficiencies in our body can lead to chronic diseases.
According to studies, both chronic and acute liver diseases could have an effect on the body’s nutritional status and at the same time, could alter amino acid metabolism.
Experts also claim that the severity of malnutrition most especially in patients dealing with liver diseases vary from 10% to 100%. They also found out that patients are usually diagnosed with Protein-calorie malnutrition or PCM if the stage of the disease is already on its advanced stage.
Alterations of amino acid metabolism usually take place due to the following instances:
- Low levels of BCAAs (Branched-chain Amino Acids) such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine
- Increased levels of circulating aromatic amino acids such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine
It has also been studied that changes in amino acid could cause harmful health concerns such as cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis is often associated with increased endogenous leucine flux, decreased protein synthesis, and it’s also an indicator of protein breakdown and leucine oxidation.
Furthermore, severe liver issues due to the loss of hepatic regulation of protein metabolism could even result to an individual’s death.
There are also cases wherein patients dealing with acute and chronic liver diseases have a longer length of stay in medical institutions. Having said, medical experts were able to come up with trials before wherein BCAAs or amino acid supplementations were used to supporting therapies given to said patients.
With the help of amino acid supplements, a concept of prevention and treatment is now given to help combat liver complications. This is because the diseases which occurred also started due to malnutrition and amino acid deficiencies.
Amino Acids on Liver Disease
Due to poor nutritional balances in the body, people suffering from alcohol hepatitis are said to have poor survival rates. However, there are still ways they can surpass this but the treatments cannot guarantee vast recovery period.
Often times, medical experts would suggest patients with alcoholic hepatitis to stick with a clean diet in order for them to achieve a nutrition balance. Their diet will also have to include amino acid supplementations.
Similar to Alcohol Hepatitis’ treatment, a healthy diet with some support of amino acid supplementation must be introduced to the patients. This is because the said liver disease is also a result of nutrition imbalance in the system of the individual.
For these cases, it is recommended for the patients to include in their diet vegetable proteins or foods that are considered complete protein. At the same time, sources of BCAA-enriched must also be included in their meals.
Fulminant Hepatic Failure
This liver condition is due to the impairment of the liver to metabolize insulin and release glucose through gluconeogenesis.
For patients with this kind of condition, they are most likely to undergo a series of tests such as monitoring and continuous infusion of dextrose. For such cases, patients are still given nutritional support which also includes administering BCAAs and other medium-chain triglycerides to the patients.
Due to the long hospitalization of patients, a strong support system alongside nutritional monitoring should be the priorities for the patients.
How do we prevent liver complications such as Cirrhosis?
According to a study from The Journal of Nutrition which was released in the year 2006, early demonstrations and trials were conducted to see if BCAA supplementation could adhere to or manage liver conditions in patients.
During the experiment they conducted in rats and BCAA supplements, they were able to find out that BCAAs have a positive effect in rats wherein they came to conclude that BCAAs could also share the same effects with human beings.
They even found out that BCAA supplementations were able to give them positive feedback such as improved metabolic profiles, normalization of the respiratory, and protein normalization in the body.
Even up to today, researches and trials are still being conducted for them to further check if BCAAs could really manage liver conditions for the long run.
Looking back at everything we’ve discussed above, we were able to highlight that malnutrition as well as amino acid deficiency could really lead to a lot of serious health problems or worse – death.
This is why medical experts always recommend that our body needs to complete the 21 kinds of amino acids in order for the entire system to function properly.
Since we vary in body types, some people don’t usually consume the required amount of protein in a day and at some point that is tolerable.
Just keep in mind that amino acids are really important aside from they give us health benefits, they also protect us from experiencing serious health conditions such as the different complications of liver diseases.