The liver is the largest organ of the body. It has multiple functions (>5000) to perform such as Regulation, Synthesis & Secretion, Storage and Purification, Transformation & Clearance. The liver can also be struck by over 100 types of diseases. Silymarin and Phospholipids (Phosphosil) have a synergistic role to play in ensuring well-being of the liver cell membrane.
Each soft gelatin capsule of Phosphosil contains:
• Lecithin……………………………………………………1000 mg
(equivalent to 500 mg phospholipids: phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol. Linoleic acid content approx. 70%)
• Silymarin…………………………………………………….20 mg
Indications / Benefits
Phosphosil is useful for fatty liver as in alcoholism, toxic liver damage, acute viral hepatitis and intoxications, chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
10 softgel capsules in a blister strip. 3 blister strips in a pack.
1. Why is the liver important?
The liver is the largest organ of the body, weighing 1.6 kgs; it has multiple functions (>5000) to perform which can be conveniently categorized as three:
- Regulation, synthesis & secretion. The liver participates in utilization of glucose, lipids and proteins; it also produces bile for digesting fats.
- Storage. Glucose (as glycogen), fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) and minerals are accumulated in liver.
- Purification, transformation & clearance. All hormones and drugs – after their actions are over, as well as toxins are destroyed by the liver.
2. What diseases can strike the liver?
The liver can be struck by over 100 types of diseases.
The liver cells are known as hepatocytes, and most affections result in hepatitis. The commonest cause of hepatitis is virus infection; depending on the type of virus (A, B, C, D, E) infecting, the diseases is labelled as viral hepatitis A, viral hepatitis B, viral hepatitis C, viral hepatitis D or viral hepatitis E. Viral hepatitis A is commonest and is caused by intake of unhygienic food and / or water. Besides viruses, alcohol-mediated damage is another commonest cause of liver disease. If not checked in initial stages, alcoholic hepatitis leads to a chronic and eventually fatal outcome called as cirrhosis of liver.
3. What options are available to manage the disease liver?
Usually rest, energizing drinks, avoiding the liver – offensive alcohol / medicines and vitamins are advised for any hepatitis. Although this constitutes a good supportive care for the liver, it is not enough. Phospholipid -based products are the best to stimulate liver regeneration and re-start liver functioning at the earliest.
4. What are Phospholipids?
The phospholipid story began when it was isolated first from lecithin. The word lecithin is derived from lekithos, the Greek word for egg yolk, by Maurice Gobley when he isolated it from eggs around 1847. But egg lecithin was too expensive and commercial lecithin was first prepared in Germany from soybean in the 1920s. Chemically, the term phospholipid derives from the fact that these molecules contain a blend of lipid and phosphorus. Hundreds of different varieties of phospholipids exist, but currently the phospholipids in various products all come from one class: the glycerophospholipids.
5. How are Phospholipids related to the liver?
The outer covering cell membrane of hepatocytes is composed of lipids – glycerophospholipids. There are 100 billion hepatocytes in the liver, and hence adequate availability of phospholipids is vital for the structure of the membrane, and the functioning of the hepatocyte as a whole. As is evident, the phospholipid molecules has a head and two tails; it is arranged as a double-layer and has protein molecules scattered in-between.
6. Describe the peculiar arrangement of Phospholipids & its importance to liver?
In the hepatocyte membrane the charged heads of the phospholipid molecules face outwards whilst the uncharged hydrophobic tails of the two layers face each other in the centre interiorly. The phospholipid molecules are glued by small amounts of cholesterol present in-between their heads. Phospholipids are fluidizing whilst cholesterol is rigidizing.
This arrangement of few RIGIDIZING cholesterol molecules in between the FLUIDIZING phospholipid molecules controls membrane fluidity of hepatocytes and is the key to optimal liver functioning.
7. Describe on the phospholipids & normally present in the liver?
There are over 200 varieties of phospholipids present in liver. Of these the most important ones are primarily four:
Phosphatidylcholine constitutes 70-80% of phospholipid content of liver; the second most prevalent being phosphatidylethanolamine
8. What happens in Liver Diseases?
There are 300 million hepatocytes actively involved in phospholipid manufacturing. In the diseased liver, this synthesis of PLs is affected since the energy requirements of 5600 calories/Mol for PC synthesis cannot be easily met by the damaged hepatocytes. This leads to liver cell damage in various hepatitis / cirrhosis. In addition, the hepatocytes have a life span of 150 days, and this also adds to its loss.
9. How does the loss of Phospholipid content affect the liver?
Lessened phospholipid availability upsets the balance between fluidizing phospholipid and the rigidizing cholesterol in favour of the latter. The diminished hepatocyte membrane fluidity opens up calcium ion (Ca++) channels and consequently the Ca++ enter the hepatocyte membrane. Ca++ facilitates the destruction of the phospholipid molecule with consequent liberation of inflammatory and destructive chemical mediators. Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is the enzyme which ultimately mediates the formation of inflammatory PGE2 and LTB4, the latter being also tissue destructive to cause cirrhosis.
10. What is the logical approach to manage liver damage?
Soybean is the best source of lecithin-derived phospholipids. It has been commercially exploited as a source for phospholipids due to various reasons.
- Soybean has a high concentration of lecithin – 1.5% vs the next best peanuts as 1.1%; vegetables / dairy products provide <0.01% and cereals / nonveg food items contain 0.5-1%.
- Soybean lecithin has all the important phospholipids, the total content being approximately 50%. Nearly half the phospholipid provided is the all-important phosphatidylcholine
- Soybean lecithin is devoid of preformed arachidonic acid, which could otherwise lead to liberation of damaging PGE2 and LTB4. 4. Soybean is energizing but does not additionally provide cholesterol unlike egg lecithin.
- Soybean lecithin incorporates essential phospholipids. Essential phospholipids are those whose essential polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content is approximately 70% of the total provided. The PUFAs, being unsaturated, have presence of double bonds which allows the fatty acid chain to bend (kink). The kinking facilitates better transfer of nutrients across the hepatocyte cell membrane.
11. What is the logical approach to manage liver damage?
Essential phospholipids provide various benefits to the ailing liver:
- Essential phospholipids restore the hepatocyte membrane structure and stabilize the same. This limits further attack by the offending viruses.
- By enhancing fluidity of hepatocyte membrane, essential phospholipids facilitate optimal entry of nutrients into liver cell. This is especially since the essential phospholipids contain essential PUFAs, and not saturated fats, such that the phospholipid molecules are not tightly placed.
- Energy manufacturing (as adenosine triphosphate, ATP) is also stimulated since the mitochondrial membrane also gets a fresh supply of essential phospholipids.
- Essential phospholipids intake normalize the phospholipid: protein ratio of 50: 1 molecules. This in itself restarts the protein-enzyme functioning.
- The chemical mediators (PG and LT) emitting out of essential phospholipids function as signalling aids for hepatocytes, both to send messages as well as to transmit those received to within the hepatocyte.
- The long-standing liver damage (chronic hepatitis) is essentially due to an abnormality in immune system working. Essential phospholipids intake also ensures their availability for the defence cells’ membranes such that these white blood cells (WBC) once again function normally. The phospholipid: cholesterol ratio of the WBC once normalized; these cells curtail their faulty damaging action to the hepatocytes in chronic hepatitis.
- Adequate phospholipid also facilitates thrombin synthesis, as well enhances vitamin K absorption. This normalizes the otherwise defective clotting which may occur in a liver disease.
In those taking alcohol, essential phospholipids not only prevents their damaging action, but also have an ability to ward off the development of the deadly cirrhosis – the commonest complication of excessive, long-term alcohol intake.
12. Are essential Phospholipids only essential in liver disease?
In any infection or inflammation, the free radicals are generated by the invading WBCs. It has been claimed that many patient even die due to massive free radical invasion caused by infections such as in viral hepatitis! Hence, it is essential to provide additional support to the liver with an antioxidant.
13. What would constitute an ideal anti-oxidant protection for the liver?
Silymarin is the active principle extracted from the fruit of Silybium marianum. The active principles are silybin, isosilybin, silydianin and silycristin. Silymarin exerts a protective effect for the liver through several mechanisms:
- Provides antioxidant protection.
- Regenerates damaged liver cells.
- Stabilizes hepatocyte membrane.
- Prevents the cirrhosis development in alcoholics.
In fact, as far as the latter three actions are concerned, silymarin complements the phospholipids.
14. How safe are essential Phospholipids & Silymarin ?
No side effects have been observed with essential phospholipids over years of usage and there are, therefore, no restrictions attached – including usage by pregnant mothers and lactating females. Silymarin is also safe; only those known to be allergic to soya or a product containing lecithin, or silymarin, should avoid products containing these.
15. For what affection of the liver, could an essential Phospholipid and Silymarin combination product be used?
Availability of an essential phospholipid – silymarin containing product is expected to be highly beneficial for those affected with any liver disease, and additionally help prevent the dangerous consequences of the acute hepatic disorders, reverse the chronic diseases, and prevent complications of the latter such as cirrhosis. For alcoholic and drug-induced liver damages, essential phospholipids are a valuable adjunct.