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Liver health; your bodies most important filter

The liver is the largest internal organ weighing around 3lbs and it will hold up to 13% of our blood at any given time: making sure that it performs at a healthy level is really important.  Here are just a few of the livers important jobs:

  1. Produces bile

  2. Metabolizes fats, sugar and protein

  3. Cleaning and filtration system

  4. Process nutrients that our gut absorbs

  5. Filtering out toxins from our blood

  6. Mitigates medication effects on our body

  7. Stores fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin D and E) and minerals like iron and copper

  8. Regulates clotting and amino acid production

  9. Produces Cholesterol, our hormone building block

How to keep your liver healthy by avoiding offenders:

  1. Alcohol

  2. High Fat Diet

  3. Artificial sweeteners – this is why I always say less soda but if you have to drink it, don’t choose diet.

  4. Highly processed foods

  5. Heavy NSAIDs use

  6. Low blood levels of potassium in your body

  7. Unprotected sex

  8. Parasites

  9. Tattoo ink that contains heavy metals

  10. Drug use and sharing needles

  11. Tobacco Smoke

  12. Chemicals in cleaning products

  13. Chemicals in the beauty products

  14. Acetaminophen – Tylenol

An unhealthy liver will have some of the following symptoms:

  1. Dark urine

  2. Pale Stools

  3. Bloating and gas

  4. Constipation

  5. Acid reflux

  6. Inability to lose weight

  7. Chronic Fatigue

  8. Bruising easily

  9. Leg Swelling and itchy skin

These symptoms seem pretty generalized which makes it difficult to determine if your liver is the exact problem.  Of course if you have one of the following diagnosed conditions you will have liver problems:

  1. Hepatitis

  2. Cirrhosis of the liver

  3. Hemochromatosis

  4. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – this Is on the rise in the US about 24% of adults and 10% of children (seen more common in overweight individuals).

  5. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – an advanced form of NAFLD

Foods to eat to cleanse the Liver:

  1. Get the bowels moving – can use coffee enema’s and colonics for more serious cleanses.

  2. Eliminating waste through the bowels is essential to remove any toxins.

  3. Drink lots of filtered water – around 10 8oz glasses of water per day.

  4. Cruciferous vegetables – they contain sulfurous chemicals that help detox. (arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, & watercress).

  5. Blue Foods: these are high in polyphenols which are a stronger type of antioxidant (blueberries, purple cabbage, & purple yams). 

  6. Bitter plants will stimulate bile production- eat as much as you can stand – dandelion greens, bitter melon, & broccoli rabe.

  7. Burdock – drink it as a tea or eat as a food – helps lower cholesterol levels and supports liver damage repair.

Cleansing your liver with Herbs:  Remember if you have certain health conditions you will need to consult your doctor before consuming these items.

  1. Milk thistle – this is a hepatoprotectant and antioxidant that contains Silymarin which helps clean our liver.  Dosage in studies is around 100-150 mg 3x a day.

  2. NAC ( N-acetylcysteine) a powerful antioxidant that is a precursor to Glutathione and filters toxins in the lung and blood too. Dosage is 600-1200mg daily. I like doing a split dosage of 600mg 2x a day.

  3. Choline – This is helpful in transporting fat out of the liver and is mainly found in meats; vegan and vegetarians should include this in their diet.  Dosage around 500 for men and 400 for women.

  4. Zinc helps control fat deposits and immune system health. It helps the liver flush fat as well. Dosage about 15-30 mg daily.

By now you can probably see that keeping your liver healthy is really important.  Try some of the tips above or consult a functional medicine doctor to help you with this process.  It is always safest to avoid offenders and eat healthy liver foods as some supplements can interfere with other medications you may be taking.  

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