All too often in this “industry” we focus on external appearance versus the more important aspect of our health, our internal organs. We are willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on supplement stacks that target our workouts: pre-workout, protein, amino acids. But when it comes down to our internal organs, we neglect them. Completely. There is a name for people who only care about external appearance: bros. Here’s a tip kids, don’t be a bro. Take care of your internal organs, especially your liver.
The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body. It is also the largest gland in the human body. The liver has many major functions, most of them extend from the liver’s main function: bile production. Bile production is responsible for so many things including metabolization of fats and proteins. Failure to produce enough bile is a condition known as Cholestasis.
Cholestasis is the medical diagnosis for a disorder of the liver causing a stoppage or block in bile production. While bile production is stopped, the pigment bilirubin escapes into the bloodstream and accumulates.
In a healthy liver, bilirubin joins with the bile in the liver and moves through the digestive tract. Bilirubin is extracted from the body through the stool or urine.
In an unhealthy liver, suffering from cholestasis, bilirubin leads into the blood stream which can cause jaundice. You may have heard of jaundice in babies…this is exactly that. It can also lead intense itching and dark urine.
Causes of Cholestasis
Being a fitness centric website, we want to focus on two big causes of cholestasis: alcohol and steroid abuse.
First, alcoholics are prone to cholestasis due to alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease is a result of overconsuming alcohol that damages the liver, leading to a buildup of fats, inflammation, and scarring. If you’ve been to college, I am sure you have consumed your fair share amounts of alcohol. Yes, you may not have been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease, but you sure as hell didn’t do yourself, or your liver, any favors. If you consume large amounts of alcohol, you should be concerned about your liver health.
Steroid abuse can also lead to cholestasis. What do we mean by abuse? Well really, if you are on any sort of steroid cycle, you should be concerned about your liver health. A liver supplement should always be taken while on a cycle, even if you think you’re not abusing. The fact is, more people do abuse steroids, taking large amounts in a short period of time. Developing cholestasis, and then jaundice from steroid use, can lead to severe pain, discomfort and weight-loss…seems counter intuitive for someone taking steroids.
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, more commonly referred to as TUDCA, is a bile salt that is found naturally occurring in the body. TUDCA is a water-soluble bile salt, which is in contrast to regular bile salts possessing both water soluble and fat soluble ends and conferring a detergent effect. This is good for the bile salt’s biological purpose (emulsifying fats in the intestines to help with absorption) but when bile acids back up in the liver, a clinical state called cholestasis which occurs when the liver is unhealthy, these bile salts can be damaging to cells by destroying the membranes and signalling for cell death. TUDCA and other water soluble bile salts like UDCA compete with this toxicity and thus indirectly protect cells from death [source: Examine.com].
Studies on TUDCA have shown it to prevent cholestasis. This is our go-to supplement for liver health. Even if you’re not on steroids, or you don’t consume alcohol, you should still take care of your liver health, and TUDCA is the ultimate source to do that.
On-top-of preventing cholestasis, TUDCA also has been shown to combat elevated liver enzymes. Those on anabolic steroids can suffer from elevated liver enzymes. This is another reason to take TUDCA for your liver health.
TUDCA is FDA-approved for treatment of liver diseases caused by lack of bile flow (cholestasis). A growing body of evidence is also supporting the use of TUDCA for diseases beyond the liver.
A study on TUDCA tested doses of 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 1,500 mg per day over six months, finding that there was little difference between the doses. It is recommended to consumer 500mg to 1,500mg per day. Use your brain here, if you’re on steroids or consume massive amounts of alcohol, lean towards the 1,500mg per day.
Where to buy TUDCA?
The biggest issue with TUDCA is sourcing. Most companies look to come out with a TUDCA supplement, but cannot source high quality TUDCA consistently (TUDCA can either come from bear bile or synthetically produced.) The highest quality TUDCA is sourced from live, wild bears. This makes it extremely difficult and, to some, taboo.
The one way to know you’re getting a high quality TUDCA supplement is to ask for a third-party test of their TUDCA product. We did just that with a company called Leviathan Nutrition. They had no problem sending us their third-party testing that shows they have high quality TUDCA.
The testing revealed that their TUDCA was 286.88mg our of 300mg TUDCA. That is 95.6% TUDCA. Honestly, this isn’t bad at all considering how tough this stuff is to source. The purity level was 95.99% pure.
Here’s the best part, it’s affordable. May TUDCA’s you find online are really expensive, but they also do not post their test results. Leviathan Nutrition offers affordable, quality TUDCA that you should take, especially if you’re on “gear” or drink a lot of alcohol.