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Herbal Supplements for Liver Health and Why They May Be Harmful to Kidney Health

Industry by Rosemary Tambini on June 8, 2022

Herbal Supplements for Liver Health and Why They May Be Harmful to Kidney Health

It is estimated that nine out of ten people in the United States have chronic kidney disease. Approximately 4.5 million American adults have liver disease. While medical attention is sometimes necessary, what if your health brand could help consumers promote their own health in both areas before their condition worsens?

Causes of Liver and Kidney Problems

One in 11 Americans will experience a kidney-related health concern at least once in their lifetime. If an individual experiences muscle cramps, shortness of breath, swelling of feet and ankles, and a loss of appetite, they may have an underlying kidney issue. Kidney disease symptoms may overlap with those of other conditions or no condition at all, making kidney disease difficult to detect without medical testing.

Viruses and parasites can infect the liver, causing inflammation that limits liver function and inhibits it from functioning properly. Genetics also play a role, as parents can pass down an abnormal gene that causes liver diseases. Your private label health business has the ability to help people change lanes before their current lifestyle creates permanent damage and help those with genetically driven kidney issues manage their symptoms as much as possible.

Liver and Kidney Health Market on the Rise

Both the kidney and liver supplement markets are gradually growing. Retailers are reporting that due to COVID, consumers are taking more of an interest in their own health, but the kidney and liver markets are underdeveloped, leaving plenty of room for your product innovation to pave the way for the nutraceutical industry.

Opportunity for Kidney Health Category Growth

Did you know that each year, more than half a million people go to the emergency room for kidney stone problems? While there are currently no over-the-counter medications for kidney stones, there are supplement options. As Salim Rayes, CEO and founder of Moonstone Nutrition told Vitamin Retailer, “some herbal products are available through e-commerce, but none are scientifically proven. Patients are typically prescribed potassium citrate pills, which are big, expensive and very hard on the stomach.” As a result, patient compliance is low, and stone recurrence rates are high. With millions of people enduring painful kidney stones, it is TIME to essentially create the kidney health category in retail.

Are Liver Detoxes Even Worth It?

Detox tea, detox blends, detox supplements… do they do anything? Are they necessary? Well, not necessarily. David Winston, founder and president of Herbalist & Alchemist, claims “people are a bit obsessed with the need to cleanse and ‘detox.’ While we are exposed to a great number of toxic chemicals in our food, homes and environment, the human body is actually quite good at eliminating metabolic wastes.” Winston recommends focusing on herbs for healthy amounts of cleansing. While more research is required, here are six promising herbal ingredients used for liver detox purposes:

  • Ginseng: A popular herbal supplement known for its powerful anti-inflammatory agency, ginseng has been shown to help protect against liver damage and is generally considered safe. However, as with any dietary supplement, it is highly suggested that people consult their doctors before taking a ginseng product for a healthier liver.
  • Green tea extract: Research shows that supplementing with green tea can help individuals with liver disease. Though not technically an herb, green tea and its main polyphenol compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) are often included in reviews regarding herbal remedies for liver conditions. A study which involved 80 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease found that daily green tea supplements (500 mg) for 90 days significantly reduced the liver damage markers alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST).
  • Licorice root: An herb we know about in terms of gut health, licorice root’s glycyrrhizin content has been used in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine when treating ailments, including liver disease. Like green tea’s agency, licorice root supplements may help protect against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but this time it can also help with alcohol-related liver damage. It is important that your customers seek medical advice before taking any licorice root-containing product, as it could result in high blood pressure and low levels of potassium, depending on the individual’s current conditions.
  • Turmeric: It may just be the most well-known supplement ingredient on the market today. Be it for mental, heart, or liver health, turmeric’s main component curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular herb for various products. A study conducted in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease showed that daily administration of 500 mg of a curcumin supplement for 8 weeks considerably reduced liver fat content and levels of AST and ALT, compared to a placebo group.
  • Ginkgo biloba: is an herbal supplement connected to better liver health, showing reduced liver fibrosis and improved liver function in rodents. While more research is indeed needed, there is hope with this ingredient in supplements for humans.

Herbal Dangers for Kidney Health

Although the herbal supplement market is worth more than several million dollars, there are many herbal supplements on the market today that may be harmful to people with kidney disease. Here are some supplements to avoid if you wish to offer a beneficial product that keeps such individuals out of harm’s way.

  • Astragalus
  • Horsetail
  • Yohimbe
  • Cat’s claw

Phosphorus can be especially harmful to those on dialysis. Some herbals supplements that include this mineral are flaxseed, evening primrose, and stinging nettle leaf extract. Potassium is another mineral that people on dialysis should avoid. Some herbal supplements that include potassium are kelp, coriander leaf, and alfalfa. Prescription medication taken for kidney problems can interact with supplements adversely, so beware of the above ingredients often used in other products.

The Pros of Clinical Research

If you are naturopath who endorses the use of dietary supplements and vitamins, conduct your own clinical research that shows the effectiveness of certain ingredients. This way, you can not only incorporate clinically tested ingredients, but attract customers with credibility. Just because herbal ingredients may not be best for those with kidney complications, that does not mean you can’t offer supplements which are beneficial to kidney and urinary function overall. Supplementation for kidney health is not a one-size-fits-all matter and deserves more research.

Custom Kidney Supplement Manufacturer

While Makers Nutrition does not offer a ready-to-go formula for kidney health, we will gladly assist in the manufacturing of your custom supplement. Once you have conducted your research and have science-backed evidence, request a FREE quote to get started or call 1-844-625-3771.


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