Although the holiday season may not be the most receptive time for discussions on a healthy liver – there are merits to not waiting till a new year or ‘end of vacation’ to heed some liver protection advice. It is a no brainer that regular indulging in happy hour can challenge normal liver function and health. There are many additional factors that are capable of compromising your liver and your health, and there are strategies you can implement for protection.
Your liver is the your most important organ in your pursuit for disease prevention and fighting; especially cancer. A healthy, properly functioning liver is crucial to vitality and healthy longevity. The liver works pretty hard on a daily basis. Maintaining a happy liver that operates efficiently can be a challenge. According to research, just living on this planet is sufficient to cause liver damage in one of every three people.
The liver is involved in the digestion of food and removes harmful substances from the body. It converts nutrients from the food you eat into essential blood components, stores vitamins and minerals and produces proteins and enzymes to maintain hormone balances in your body. The livers helps your immune system to fight infections, removes bacteria from the blood and makes bile which is necessary for digestion.
Symptoms of possible liver inefficiency, malfunction or pathology:
- abdominal bloating, tenderness or pain
- weight gain, especially in the abdominal area
- unexplained fatigue
- loss of appetite
- indigestion, nausea, acid reflux, vomiting
- spider-shaped blood vessels on the upper part of the body
- jaundice (a yellow coloring of the eyes and skin)
- vomiting of blood
- urine changes, dark urine or pale
- bloody or tar-looking stool
- fluid retention
- prolonged itching of the skin
- skin changes/conditions (rashes, acne)
- food sensitivities and intolerances
- hormone irregularities
- unexplained symptoms
The above symptoms, although associated with possible liver inefficiency or pathology, may also be associated with other conditions. To determine your liver status you may want to ask your doctor for a liver enzyme test. Alanine aminotransferases (ALT) is a liver enzyme that is released when the liver is injured. Research has shown that the more lead, mercury and organochlorine pesticides found in a person’s blood or urine, the greater risk of abnormal ALT. Compromised liver detoxification pathways pay not be reflected in liver enzyme testing. Indications of compromised liver detoxification pathways may present with specific symptoms. A compromised liver can raise the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, allergies and many other ailments.
Natural detoxification is achieved through a series of naturally occurring processes in your body. The Phase l and phase ll detoxification pathways converts toxic chemicals into less harmful chemicals through various chemical reactions (such as oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis). Excessive levels of free radicals, which are produced by these processes, can damage the liver cells. Adequate stores of antioxidants reduce free radical damage. Periods of high or chronic toxin exposure can deplete your body’s antioxidant stores making toxic chemical exposures more dangerous and compromised liver function and damage more likely. Antioxidant stores can become depleted in about three days without replenishing.
Aging, as well as lack of physical activity poor nutrition, toxins and drugs, are responsible for decreased phase l detoxification. After my many past health challenges and recovery, I am very protective of my health and liver. Use of ‘anti’ type of medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or anti-hypertensives) have been associated with memory loss issues; another reason I avoid them – my mother suffers from dementia and I am doing everything I can to prevent ending up the same way. You can read about the 20 ‘anti’ drugs that have been found to cause memory loss at http://realfarmacy.com/beware-20-medications-cause-memory-loss/. As a holistic wellness practitioner I use neuromuscular biofeedback to assess organ weakness to various factors including food, personal care products, supplements and drugs. Toxins in personal care products all have to be detoxified by the liver, as do toxins (food additives, pesticides) in food. People are always surprised at what items have the biggest impact, creating distress to their liver. My recommendation is always to green their diets, personal care, laundry, cleaning and medicine cabinets. Reassessment after clients have made these changes always reveals improved liver strength.
Pathological detoxifiers are people who have an imbalance between the phase l and phase ll detoxification pathways leading to a buildup of reactive intermediate metabolites and subsequent tissue damage and liver disease. Click on the image for better resolution.
The chart below provides you with information on factors that compromise liver function (FOE) and factors that improve liver function (FRIEND). View chart as pdf MAINTAINING HEALTHY LONGEVITY
or view as pdf MAINTAINING HEALTHY LONGEVITY
With the information in the chart above you will be better equipped to protect and support your liver in the midst of toxins, distress and happy hour – promoting healthy longevity.
Enjoy the holidays, every day living and your vacation time prepared.
Sometimes the liver and your body need extra help in the form of detoxification aids. For information on these visit my web page www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/detox.htm and read my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION: Utilizing the ‘doctor within’ in combination with self-help therapies and tools for optimum health, available at http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/what_people_are_saying.htm.
Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P.
Holistic Wellness Practitioner
Health by Design
Sources and Resources:
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/819872-overview, Toxicity, Mercury, Barry M. Diner, MD, http://www.drgregemerson.com.au/factfile_show.php?StoryId=102, Environmental Toxins,
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20090529/environmental-toxins-and-liver-disease, Environmental Toxins & Liver Disease: A Link?, Kathleen Doheny,
http://www.westonaprice.org/envtoxins/index.html, Environmental Toxins,
Image: By permission Kailash Narayanhttp://www.bestofhealth.com/np/Previous/July00/liver.html
The Detoxification Enzyme Systems – Alternative Medicine, DeAnn J. Liska, Ph.D, www.altmedrev.com/publications/3/3/187.pdf
Percival, M (Dr) (1997) ‘Phytonutrients and Detoxification’ Clinical Nutrition Insights Vol 5 No 2 Amber Ackerson N.D. Dietary Regulation of Detoxification Tyler Encapsulations Bland, J (Dr) (1997) The 20 Day Rejuvenation Diet Keats Publishing ‘Standard Detoxification Profile.’ Application Guide Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory (1997) ‘How to Detox’ Here’s Health (May 1998) ‘Innovative Clinical Approaches to the Cascade of Chronic Illness’ Nutri Ltd (1997) ‘The Detoxification Process Simplified’ Heathcomm International (1997) Kaminski, M M.D Functional Medicine Symposium Course Notes (1998) The Gut Liver Connection
Research-Based, Natural Detox Ingredients: Research Findings for Natural Detoxification Support System, MAGGIE EATON, RDN, LD, http://odomhealthandwellness.com/research-based-natural-detox-ingredients-research-findings-for-natural-detoxification-support-system/
1 Updates on toxins harming the liver, Nicole Cutler L.Ac., http://www.liversupport.com/wordpress/2010/04/update-on-toxins-harming-the-liver/
 Updates on toxins harming the liver, Nicole Cutler L.Ac., http://www.liversupport.com/wordpress/2010/04/update-on-toxins-harming-the-liver/
 Nutritional Approaches to Liver Detoxification, Helen Kimber, http://www.positivehealth.com/article/detoxification/nutritional-approaches-to-liver-detoxification
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