The liver is located in the upper-right area of the abdomen and it performs an astonishingly large number of tasks that impact all body systems (more than 500 known functions).
Our liver really is a hero for our health and we should do what we can to protect it, to maintain optimal function .It plays a major role in metabolism and has a number of functions in the body, including:
• glycogen storage (carbohydrates/sugar for energy)
• breaking down old red blood cells
• plasma protein synthesis
• It produces bile, an alkaline compound which aids in digestion
• Breaks down and metabolises lipids (fats from our food)
• The liver is among the few internal human organs capable of natural regeneration of lost tissue; as little as 25% of remaining liver can regenerate into a whole liver again.
• The liver performs several roles in carbohydrate metabolism including the breakdown of insulin and other hormones
• it is responsible for protein metabolism
• Cholesterol synthesis
• the production of triglycerides/ fats (You know when you have your cholesterol and triglycerides tested by the GP in your blood tests – the health of your liver is helping to keep those levels in a safe range)
• it produces coagulation factors – natural clotting agent so we don’t bleed out if we injure ourselves
• the liver breaks down haemoglobin, creating metabolites that are added to bile as pigment (bilirubin)
• breaks down toxic substances and most medicinal products in a process called drug metabolism,
• The liver stores a multitude of substances, including glucose in the form of glycogen, vitamin B12, iron, and copper
• The liver is responsible for keeping our immune system healthy. It contains many immunologically active cells, acting as a ‘sieve’ for invading bacteria carried to it via the portal system.
Signs and symptoms that your liver may need some support?
• metabolic disorders, glucose imbalance, insulin resistance – such as weight gain, especially around the middle abdomen
• Fatty liver – when the body can’t process carbohydrates so it stores it as fat and accumulates around the liver
• protein or fat digestive disturbance – may experience pain or discomfort in the area of your liver after eating high protein/fat foods
• toxic symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, brain fog
• immune issues – not able to get over a cold/flu
• anemia – if your body is not holding your iron levels – it could be your liver needs support
• hormonal imbalances – the liver is responsible for packaging up all the nutrients that are needed for hormonal health
• skin issues – acne, eczema, dermatitis
Action Plan to get your liver back in tip top shape
Step 1 – Stop these foods
Reducing or eliminating the highly processed foods, sugars and foods containing sugars, alcohol and excessive amount of coffee, – as mentioned above. The similarity between what causes an acidic body, inflammation and liver imbalance are all one and the same. Also for liver support, reducing high fat foods such as deep fried foods and fatty cuts of meat. As you probably are aware, the unhealthiest kind of fats are the “trans-fats” found particularly in frozen bakery items, pastries and margarine.
Step 2 – Increase these foods
Increasing fresh veggies and salads, particularly green varieties (it’s all sounding familiar now – yes just as you would do to decrease acidity, inflammation, and cellular deterioration). Enjoying fruit, for its natural sweetness. Having lean cuts of meat and chicken. Enjoying all varieties of fish, including salmon, tuna (as they are high in omega 3’s – great to reduce inflammation). Snack foods are raw unsalted nuts and seed, protein balls. Good quality yoghurt.
Step 3 – Drinks, anyone?
Drink minimum of 2 litres of water per day. Add the juice of ½ a lemon, first thing in the morning for a gentle liver flush. Reduce alcohol intake, and have alcohol free days. Stop energy drinks and soft drinks (they are downright nasty for your health with what is in them). Make your own fresh juice instead of commercially prepared juice. Tea and coffee – aim to have no more than 3 cups per day. Substitute with herb tea. Dandelion Root tea is a fantastic liver detox tea
Step 4 – now we have the basics covered and you’ll start to feel amazing. You can step it up, if you like and add some supplements or even consider doing a “proper” Comprehensive Detox.
Wonderful liver herbs include – St Mary’s Thistle which is known to be a liver protecting herb. Dandelion Root, Globe Artichoke, Barberry. The list is extensive. However, please note – liver herbs are bitter. It is by their very bitter nature , is how it helps to detoxify and cleanse and decongest the liver. I would often recommend liver supplement tablets or capsules , not in liquid form. There are also specific vitamins, mineral and nutrients that help support optimal liver function. Usually, I would recommend one supplement that has herbs and other nutrients in one tablet. Easy!
Liver Detox – If this is of interest to you, I really do suggest you get the Practitioner Detox that I recommend. There are some “cheap imitations” in the retail stores, and I have seen people worse off than they started using some of the retail formulas. Even one person I know, ended up in hospital. Which is why I say it is something best left to the research and development team that formulate the Detox Supplements/powders that I can recommend for you. My clients have access to a fantastic discount when you order directly from the company using their “Patient Ordering System”. I will also email you food lists, meal plans and a link for some wonderful healthy recipes (that are great to use, even when you’re not doing the detox)