As a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I identify and address imbalances in the body. I work to assess people’s symptoms, looking to find the root cause of their symptoms or illness. Part of my analysis involves considering the body’s vital organs and if there appears to be any problem with them. One of the most important organs in the body that I consider is the liver, which is responsible for more than 500 tasks a day. Often, due to the toxic world that many of us live in, the liver gets overwhelmed and does not function properly, which can lead to a variety of symptoms or illnesses. Luckily, the liver is the most regenerative organ in the entire body, and there are steps you can take to improve liver health. Read on to learn more about your liver and what you can do to improve your liver health naturally.
What Does The Liver Do?
Our livers play crucial roles in keeping us healthy. Some of the key functions of a healthy liver include detoxing and removing toxic waste products, regulating blood sugar and blood clotting, metabolizing nutrients and producing bile for digestion. According to the Allergy Research Group, “the liver acts as a secondary ‘firewall,’ protecting the body against the harmful pathogens and other microbial products that may have snuck past the primary barrier of the gut “walls.” The liver is so crucial that while you can live with part of a liver, you can’t live without any liver at all. Without a liver, the blood cannot clot properly. Additionally, anything that passes through your digestive system, including toxins, chemicals and drugs would build up in the blood.
Specifically when it comes to toxins, we are exposed to hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of toxins throughout our lifetime. This can include pesticides, air pollutants or toxins in our food supply. All of these must make their way through the grand central station of the body— the liver. The liver is able to detox naturally and remove toxins, metals, drugs, pesticides, chemicals, artificial hormones, excess hormones, etc through 3 different phases.
However, when the liver is not functioning properly, harmful compounds can pile up. This can lead to a variety of health symptoms and issues which can include: fatigue, anger or mood changes, insomnia, acne, allergies, histamine intolerance, hormonal imbalances, PMS, bloating, congestion, weight gain, yellowing of the eyes or skin, recurring candida or yeast infections, parasites, eczema, fibrocystic breasts, hypertension, kidney issues, headaches, bad breath, constipation, sensitivity to the environment or chemicals, hives, indigestion, joint pain, nausea, leaky gut, brain fog, etc.
What Reduces Liver Function?
Liver problems can be caused by a variety of factors. A poor diet, excess alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle can definitely lead to liver problems. Additionally, some other things that can cause reduced liver function and lead to liver disease can include:
-Excess Heavy Metals
-Mineral Deficiencies or Imbalances
-Excess Hormones (not detoxed properly)
-Parasites (Liver Flukes)
-Excess Glyphosate, Herbicides & Pesticides
-Too Many Toxins, Chemicals & Xenoestrogens
-Mold & Mycotoxins
-Epstein Barr Virus
Ways to Improve Liver Health Naturally
The good news is that your liver can heal and regenerate. As the liver heals, positive changes occur throughout the body, helping you to feel better. Below are some of my recommendations on how to improve liver health naturally:
Foods For Liver Health:
Your diet can play a role in liver health. Make sure to incorporate a lot of the below foods, which can help keep the liver healthy and functioning properly:
Minerals & Vitamins:
There are quite a few minerals and vitamins that I recommend when people want to improve their liver function and liver health naturally. I recommend working with a functional practitioner like myself to customize a specific vitamin and supplement regimen that works for your specific needs. These vitamins and minerals that I often recommend to those looking to optimize their liver health:
Magnesium— supplementing with magnesium can not only preserve liver function, but also slow the progression of liver disease, and reduce associated mortality rates.
Selenium— supplementation has been shown to improve liver function by reducing serum AST and ALT levels.
Molybdenum— Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral that is a component of four different enzymes in the body that help break down proteins, alcohol, drugs, and toxins.
Molybdenum is also a co-factor for the sulfite oxidase enzyme, which converts sulfites into sulfates.
Zinc— Zinc plays a pivotal role in enzyme functions and serves as a cofactor for methylation, which is crucial for optimal liver function.
Chromium— Chromium balances the metabolic and clinical markers in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Additional nutrients such as methionine, B2, folate, B12, B6, and magnesium are required for optimal methylation in liver detox as well.
Herbs and Supplements For Liver Health:
Supplements can also play a key role in helping to restore your liver health.. Some of the supplements and herbs for liver health that I frequently use include:
Horsetail— may protect your liver.
Taurine— Taurine can help to increase the production of bile, which works to remove harmful toxins and chemicals. When bile is not regularly being cycled out, one can become more prone to conditions like gallstones.
Inositol— Inositol is a type of sugar that may help regulate liver and metabolic issues.
Artichoke Leaf Extract— Supplementing with artichoke leaf extract may protect your liver from damage and increase the production of bile, which helps remove harmful toxins from your liver. Artichoke leaf extract may also help liver cells regenerate. Additionally, artichoke leaf extract has been studied for its ability to reduce total Cholesterol, LDL and Triglyceride labels in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
Choline— helps prevent bile from getting thick and sludgy
Amino Acids: Glycine/Taurine— Some amino acids are crucial in helping to neutralize liver toxins. Glycine and taurine are especially important and crucial for the formation of bile acids.
Note: Make sure to check in with your doctor prior to using any supplement. Also, don’t just buy any ol’ supplements; ensure they are good quality, preferably from an online dispensary or specialty grocery store.
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