Tired Always? Poor Liver Health Could Be Behind It

  • 3 mins read
  • Health Conditions
  • Digestive & Liver Health
  • Jillian Lai Mei Siew
Tiredness could be a sign of poor liver health

Feeling tired all the time is nothing new for most of us adults. Sometimes, we suffer from a dip in energy levels, there are times we crave some extra sleep in the mornings, feel exhausted at work, while doing household chores, or at social gatherings. However, we do not put too much thought into it, and go about accepting it as part of everyday adult life. But did you know that if this occurs all too frequently, it could be a sign of your liver health being in jeopardy. Shocking, right? Well, let’s find out how your liver might be responsible for the tiredness you feel.

Liver diseases

Now you must be thinking what made your liver do such things? Well, this fatigue is a predominant symptom of cholestatic liver disease in 65% to 85% of patients. Cholestatic liver disease is usually caused by primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), primary sclerosing cholangitis or drugs related to liver disease.

Fatigue and liver

Okay! Confession time. The pathogenesis of fatigue in general is still not clearly understood. Tiredness or fatigue is not a simple biological procedure, rather it is a complex system affecting nearly up to 20% of our population. But the main problem lies in the difficulties in defining and treating fatigue, so that symptoms are most of the time overlooked or ignored by physicians who care for liver disease patients.

Is the brain involved in any way?

Yes! Of course! Fatigue is caused by changes in neurotransmissions in our brain. Don’t be scared by the word neurotransmission. It is just how our brain and nerves interact with each other through various pathways.

Liver disease can cause alterations in the neurotransmitter pathways involved in behavioural activation, arousal and locomotor activity. Some of the neurotransmitters involved are corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), serotonin, and noradrenaline. This is why fatigue is often accompanied by anxiety or depression.

Importance of diet and proper nutrition

Let’s be honest. There are no magic pills that can solve your problem with fatigue. However, what you can do is to maintain that right balance between different foods and drinks so that your liver works properly and you can cope with the fatigue. The scientific evidence shows that a well-balanced diet is the best way to stay healthy and energetic.

Diet for liver

Enough on your brain, now let’s discuss how to keep your liver health in check. Well, that’s easy. All you need is to just eat good food. Let’s look into the list of foods which you should have and avoid to keep your liver health good and running.

Foods to have Foods to avoid
Cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and mustard greens), Beets, eggs, Green tea, Broccoli, oatmeal, Coffee (2-3 times a day), almond, spinach, blueberries, herbs and spices in a moderate amount, citrus fruits (lemon, lime), garlic, fatty fish Sugar, bakery items, Aerated fizzy drinks, alcohol, pizza, pasta, fatty fast foods, high salt food, red meat


To summarise, let’s be alert about our liver health. It’s important to have good food on our plates to keep away tiredness and be healthy.


  1. Swain MG. Fatigue in liver disease: pathophysiology and clinical management. Canadian journal of gastroenterology. 2006;20(3):181-8.
  2. Swain MG, Jones DE. Fatigue in chronic liver disease: New insights and therapeutic approaches. Liver International. 2019 Jan;39(1):6-19.
  3. Kumar D, Tandon RK. Fatigue in cholestatic liver disease—a perplexing symptom. Postgraduate medical journal. 2002;78(921):404-7.
  4. DIET FOR A HEALTHY LIVER: DO’S AND DON’TS. Available from:https://www.narayanahealth.org/blog/diet-for-a-healthy-liver-dos-and-donts/ . Accessed on – Aug 3, 2021

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