Love your Liver

The Liver

What does it do?liver

The liver is one of the most important organs in your body.  It is the largest organ in the body

The liver is a metabolically active organ responsible for many vital life functions. The primary functions of the liver are:

  • Bile production and excretion
  • Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
  • Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
  • Enzyme activation
  • Storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals
  • Synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin, and clotting factors
  • Blood detoxification and purification

The liver has well over 500 functions. The liver is tied to all bodily processes because it is responsible for filtration of all incoming foods and fluids. The body relies upon the liver to remove toxins so that nutrients supplied to the body are pure and capable of providing nourishment.

When might the liver need more support?

Many people don’t know they need to relieve stress for their liver’s well-being.

It’s easy to recognize when you are completely stressed out, but sometimes your body gives clues prior to a total emotional meltdown. By viewing these five signs as indications that stress relief is warranted, those with liver concerns can address their stress before it gets out of control. To protect your liver from stress, be on the lookout for:

1.    A Sore Jaw – During the day and even while sleeping, people under stress may clench their teeth or grind them back and forth against one another. Known as bruxism, teeth clenching and grinding can damage teeth and cause severe jaw and neck pain.

2.    Bad Skin – Stress is well-known to affect our external appearance. Stress can render the skin more sensitive to irritants, worsen pre-existing conditions like rosacea, psoriasis and acne, and it also dehydrates the skin.

3.    Libido Loss – Although loss of sexual desire can stem from many different types of physical and emotional issues, stress is certainly one of the most common.

4.    Hair Shedding – About 100 hair strands falling out per day and being replaced by new ones is a normal process. However, this hair loss can escalate to losing half to three-quarters of your hair when under extreme physical or emotional stress. Technically called telogen effluvium, stress-induced hair loss can occur weeks or months after the stressful event.

5.    Perpetually Stuffy with the Sniffles – The link between stress and immunity has been documented in just about every culture. If your immune system is rundown as evidenced by a seemingly endless run of colds, stress is one of the most likely culprits.

For those who are managing chronic liver disease, nearly every aspect of their life comes under scrutiny for its ability to help or hinder the liver. When it comes to stress, there is no doubt that it hinders liver function. Being aware of things like an aching jaw, having an uncharacteristic acne breakout, losing interest in sex, shedding chunks of hair and constantly battling a cold can signal that your stress levels are just too high. If this is the case, your liver would appreciate every effort you make to relieve stress and bring your body and mind back into equilibrium.

Nutrients to Support the Liver

The liver requires certain nutrients for detox. In addition, increasing the flow of bile is an important part of detox because bile carries stored fat-soluble toxins away from the liver to be excreted in the stools.

Signs of poor bile flow include constipation aggravated by fibre supplements, flatulence, dry skin and hair, indigestion 1-2 hours after eating, indigestion after fatty foods and small, hard stools.

Vitamin C

A water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports detox. It may also help to decrease some of the side effects of detox, such as headache or nausea.

A high potency multiple vitamin and mineral is helpful to deal with the toxic chemicals we are exposed to. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E are important in protecting the liver from damage as well as helping in detoxification mechanisms. Also important are nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, and trace minerals; they are critical in the elimination of heavy metals and other toxic compounds from the body.

Milk Thistle

This herb has many positive effects on the liver. It is an antioxidant, assists in liver cell regeneration, and is used after exposure to chemical and industrial pollutants or adverse effects from excess alcohol or fat consumption.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) known as silymarin – a group of flavonoid compounds – exerts a tremendous effect on protecting the liver from damage as well as enhancing the detoxification processes.

Silymarin prevents damage to the liver by acting as an antioxidant. Silymarin is many times more potent in antioxidant activity than vitamin E and vitamin C. The protective effect of silymarin against liver damage has been demonstrated in a number of experimental studies.

Sulphur Amino Acids

  • Methionine
  • Glutathione
  • Cystiene
  • Slippery Elm Zinc
  • Glutamine
  • Vitamin A and E
  • Taurine

Foods they are found in

Artichokes

Contains plant compounds known as caffeoylquinic acids, which increase the flow of bile and help to digest fats.

Beets

Beets contain betaine, which promotes the regeneration of liver cells and the flow of bile. It also has a beneficial effect on fat metabolism.

Broccoli

Broccoli and other members of the brassica family (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kholrabi) support the liver’s detoxification enzymes.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Food sources of vitamin C and glutathione, which are essential for detox.   Cruciferous vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, lemon juice and chlorella.

Protein

Protein is required by the liver for detox. Beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa, protein powder. Some people may choose to eat fish in moderation.

Onions and Garlic

Rich in sulfur-containing compounds.  Involved in sulfation, the main detox pathway for environmental chemicals and certain drugs and food additives. Helps with the elimination of harmful heavy metals from the body.

Dandelion Root

Increases the flow of bile. Can be taken as a tea

 Lifestyle

 Adopting a healthy lifestyle that will support a healthy liver includes avoiding alcohol and exercising regularly.  Some helpful ideas are:

Deep breathing exercises:  inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 12, and exhale for a count of 8.  Start with 2 minutes and work up to a goal of 5-10 minutes each day.

  • Take a brisk walk or another form of cardiovascular exercise 20-30 minutes each day.
  • Drink clean filtered water
  • Avoid aluminium cookware, try stainless steel instead.

It’s your life, it’s your liver, it’s your choice.

A healthy body comes from within – is all well in your world?