Everyday Practices for a Healthy Liver

June 29, 2020

What the Liver Does For You:

 

The liver plays an integral role in the overall health of your body. It is the largest organ in the body and is involved in over 500 metabolic functions throughout the body. 

 

 

 

 

The liver plays a significant role in the process of detoxification and cleaning the blood. Anything ingested will be filtered through the liver. Every system in the body relies on the liver's ability to cleanse and deliver fresh, clean blood efficiently. Imagine a water filter; after a while of filtering dirty water, the screen becomes bogged down with toxins and begins to filter slower. Similar to how the liver operates, becoming sluggish when overloaded with toxins. Detoxification is not an easy feat, considering the increasing amount of toxins we come into contact with in everyday life. But there are many simple practices you can adopt to keep the liver healthy and prevent overload. [1.] [3.]

 

The liver also plays a role in blood sugar regulation. When the body recognizes blood sugar rising, the liver will begin to remove the sugar from the blood and store it as glycogen. On the contrary, when the body senses blood sugar falling, the liver will convert the glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. [2.]

 

The liver plays a significant role in the body's ability to break down fats and the production of bile. Bile is a fluid produced by the body to breakdown fats during digestion. Bile also helps remove toxins and other waste products from the body. 

 

 

Signs Your Liver May Be Under Stress:

 

How does one know if their liver is needing a boost? Below is a list of conditions and symptoms that are exacerbated by an overburdened and sluggish liver. But it is essential to consult your naturopathic doctor to dive deep into an individualized health plan. The liver may not be the only thing in your body, contributing to declining health.

 

 

  • Skin Conditions 

    • Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne

  • Diabetes

  • Weight Gain

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Fatigue

  • Mood Disorders

  • Digestive Disorders 

    • Constipation, nausea, IBS

 

 

While it may be impossible to live a 100% toxin-free life, you can make easy lifestyle changes to support healthy liver functioning every day. 

 

 

Daily Habits to Keep the Liver Happy

 

  1. Avoid Toxins

  • Toxins can originate from both your internal and external environments. 

    • Internal examples: by-products of digestion, stress, inflammation, and oxidative stress 

    • External examples are smoking, drugs, alcohol, medications, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, pollution, chlorine, insecticides, plastic use, mold, and radiation (technology use).

  • While it is virtually impossible to avoid toxins, doing your best to limit the external toxin exposure will positively influence the production of internal toxins and lighten the stress load on your liver. 

 

2. Eat a Liver Friendly Diet

  • Avoiding processed foods, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates are the first step to adjusting their diet to support the liver.

  • Cruciferous Vegetables: 

    • Next, add in more cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolate, a group of compounds that boost the production of detoxifying enzymes in the liver and lower oxidative stress [4.]

  • Leafy Greens: 

    • Add in more leafy greens, as they are high in the compound chlorophyll. Which can improve the liver's ability to remove toxins from the body. 

  • Beets: 

    • Eat more beets! Beets will help the liver break down waste to be excreted faster by stimulating bile flow. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. 

  • Garlic: 

    • It contains selenium, which can stimulate liver enzymes helping the flush body toxins easier. [6.]

  • Turmeric Root: 

    • The main active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin. Which is a potent antioxidant, great for lowering inflammation and helping repair liver cells. Curcumin also helps with flushing out heavy metals and stimulating bile. 

    •  

 

 

3. Drink Plenty of water

  • Our bodies are about 60% water, and water is vital to the proper functioning of all systems in the body. The liver is no different; dehydration impacts your livers' ability to remove toxins tremendously. [1.]

 

 

4. Herbal Support

  • Milk thistle: 

    • Milk thistle contains silymarin, a group of compounds that are known to have antioxidant effects. Preliminary studies have suggested silymarin works by preventing toxic substances from attaching to liver cells. [2.]

  • Artichoke Leaf: 

    • Artichoke Leaf can help promote the growth of new liver tissue and reduce inflammation of the liver. [7.]

  • Dandelion Root 

    • Dandelion has been used for centuries as a tool to help the liver. Dandelion works by stimulating bile, which helps with the metabolism of fats, removing toxins, and relieving constipation. Dandelion is also high in potassium; a diuretic increases the flow of urine and promotes excretion of toxins. [5.]

 

 

 

Good liver health is vital for the overall health of your body. When signs of a sluggish liver start to appear, incorporating some of the mentioned practices will promote healthy and long-lasting liver functioning. Note, it is always best to consult with your physician or naturopathic doctor before starting any kind of new protocol. 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplement of the Month:

Milk Thistle

 

 

 

As seen above, Milk thistle is great for the liver and preventing toxic substances from binding to cells of the liver. But milk thistle also offers numerous other health benefits such as:

 

Support Liver Health

Improves Inflammatory Skin Conditions (Acne)

Support Bone Health

Boost Immune System

Increases Resistance to Oxidative Stress

 

Milk thistle is most commonly taken in tincture or capsule form. Contact Dr. Kizzy for more direction on adding milk thistle into your care program. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citations: 

  1. Healthy Liver - 13 Tips on How to Have a Healthy Liver. (2020, May 20). Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://liverfoundation.org/13-ways-to-a-healthy-liver/

2. Mulrow C, Lawrence V, Jacobs B, et al. Milk Thistle: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects: Summary. 2000. In: AHRQ Evidence Report Summaries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 1998-2005. 21. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11896/

 

3. University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). (2014, September 29). New way to detox? 'Gold of Pleasure' oilseed boosåts liver detoxification enzymes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 24, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140929124011.htm

 

4. Cruciferous Vegetables. (2020, January 01). Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables

5. Liver, “, 19, N., 19, J., 20, A., 20, J., 29, A., . . . 14, J. (2020, June 16). Dandelion: A key herb for liver health, better digestion and beautiful skin. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.naturimedica.com/dandelion-the-key-herb-for-liver-health-better-digestion-and-beautiful-skin/

6. Garlic. (2020, January 01). Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/garlic

 

7. Jerusalem Artichoke. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://www.theartofhealing.com.au/jerusalem_artichoke.html

8. Yellow dock

 

 

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