I have been wanting to write about this beautiful organ of ours for a while now, it is such an important part of our body’s detoxification process and we need to look after it so much more than we do. I am constantly blown away by what our body does for us and we take it for granted every single day. My mission is to help remind us all what we have and how we can look after it better. In this blog I am going to explain briefly how our liver detoxifies, the importance of supporting it and how we can do that.
The liver is the second largest organ in our body and sits just below the right ribcage. It performs many functions, such as the synthesis and secretion of bile, maintenance of blood glucose levels, regulation of hormones, and producing blood proteins just to name a few. However its main role is detoxification. I am only going to go into this briefly as there are many complex processes which involve the detoxification role.
The liver is made up of liver lobules which contain millions of liver cells or hepatocytes. As blood flows through the liver carrying substances such as pathogens, cell debris, inactive hormones, heavy metals, and pesticides, the liver cells start to alter these substances before they can safely enter our bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream our other detoxifying systems such as the digestive, urinary and respiratory systems then remove them permanently from our body.
If you hold up your hand you see that you have 5 fingers, imagine your fingers are the pathways out of the liver (Stage 2), the palm of your hand is the road in (stage 1). The liver is constantly having things enter at stage 1 to start to detoxify but what can happen is stage 1 and 2 get backed up with liver loaders, such as caffeine, sugar, fatty foods, and alcohol for example and the efficiency of this process starts to decrease, actually over time the small liver cells begin to die. Thankfully this wonderful organ can regenerate these cells however long term they begin to be replaced by fat globules which is where we hear the term “fatty Liver”.
The liver is pretty smart so will always get rid of the nasty things first for example alcohol,our body sees this as a poison so it must get rid of it straight away. So what can happen day in and day out is all the nasty things start to get stuck at stage 1 and stage 2 or in between both. Other substances that our body actually makes, for example cholesterol has it’s own metabolism system so any extra cholesterol we don’t need has to be detoxified through the liver and then excreted out of the body as well as everything else.
However if the liver is not working efficiently this extra cholesterol has to go somewhere and since the body recognises it, the liver thinks well your safer than this pesticide for example so I will dump you back into the bloodstream even though you have been slightly altered for detoxification. So here we have extra “recycled” cholesterol in our blood which our body doesn’t need and not in it’s original form. This can lead on to potential serious health issues.
On a side note our bodies actually make 80% of the cholesterol in our bodies, our diet makes up the other 20%. We need it to make our sex hormones. (I will focus more on cholesterol in a future blog)
Some Signs that your liver may be struggling
Waking around 2-3 am with a racing heart rate feeling hot
Heavy clotting periods
So what can we do about it.
Fistly the most imperative thing is to reduce the liver loaders that you are consuming so that it can do it’s job efficiently and effectively…think about how much processed foods you are eating, how many coffee’s or energy drinks are you drinking a day, what is your alcohol consumption like? Can you eat foods with less pesticides on them (if you cant afford our don’t have access to organic check out the clean 15 and the dirty dozen)….
Eat foods that are liver healthy. For example for your liver to work effectively it’s important to have Vitamins B so adding more wholegrains in your diet. Sulphur rich foods like broccoli, kale, cabbage, are also a good addition. Increase the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids and zinc (this is essential to convert cholesterol to our sex hormones)
I am also a firm beleiver that we as humans on this planet are unable to get all the nutrients we need every single day so that our bodies perform the way they were designed to. Bridging the gap between the diet we eat and the nutrients we need is in my opinion a necessity. Specifically for the liver I recommend Usana’s Hepa Plus, It contains scientifically selected liver cleansing ingredients such as milk thistle, tumeric, Alpa lipoeic acid and many more. I provide this and many other supplements through my clinic.
I hope this has shed some light on this wonderful organ of ours! Look after it beautiful people you only have one. If you think your liver may be struggling or you would like some more information or guidance on this please contact me via email email@example.com for a free health consultation.
Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology Frederic Martini
American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2012
Beauty from the inside and Out Dr Libby Weaver
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php ( information on the dirty dozen )