Surprising things that could damage your liver

We all know too well alcohol can damage your liver, but it’s not just the demon drink that can give this vital organ a thrashing.

A few hidden dangers are lurking out there. If you want to keep your liver functioning to the best of its capacity, you should pay attention.


Sugar is the demon drug of the ages, and it’s also playing its part in damaging your liver.

Put simply, the liver uses fructose to make fat. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup and the fatty build-up can lead to liver disease.

High-fructose corn syrup is used heavily in the US, so it’s a good idea to avoid foods manufactured in America.


Being overweight will damage your liver. If extra fat builds up in your liver cells it can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Over time, your liver may swell and harden and lose function.

Trans fats

These are the naughty fats, and a diet high in trans fats means it is more likely you will gain weight, and then we have the obesity problem, as above.

They are found naturally in some foods such as dairy and some meats, but generally you’ll find them in manufactured food, deep fried food and some baked goods.

Check the ingredient list and if you see ‘hydrogenated oils’ or partially ‘hydrogenated vegetable oils’ on the packaging, they are trans fats. Try and avoid them.

This handy guide is a good start.


There’s a few things out there that may seem to be a good idea on the surface, but could be damaging your liver in the long term. One of them is vitamin A.

Vitamin A is found naturally in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables but you can also take it in supplements.

Vitamin A helps with vision, the immune system, growth and development and helps your organs work properly.

Check with your doctor before taking any vitamin A supplements because you probably don’t need them.

If you have been prescribed a vitamin A supplement, your doctor will almost always ask for a liver function test beforehand to make sure it’s safe.


We are becoming more aware of how potentially dangerous over-the-counter painkillers can be, and one of those risks is damaging your liver.

No need to panic, but just be sure to take the recommended dose.

Always check the branding as well. Just because it has a different brand name, doesn’t mean it’s a different drug, so don’t double up on dosage, thinking there is a different active ingredient.

You should look for the word paracetamol on the packaging, but it could also be labelled acetaminophen, APAP, AC, acetaminophen, acetaminoph, acetaminop, acetamin, or acetam.


We all know alcohol is bad for your liver, what’s less well known is how much and it’s a startlingly small amount.

WebMD recommends only drinking one standard drink a day for women and up to two a day for men. And no ‘banking’ those figures for the weekend.

Are you careful about looking after your liver? Would you avoid any of the above? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Can turmeric improve your health

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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