The liver has over 500 known functions. It’s involved with digestion, the endocrine system which governs our hormones, controlling blood sugar, and protein and fat metabolism. Chemical exposure in this part of the 21st century is unfortunately, unprecedented in history. The average American consumes 10 pounds of chemical food additives each year through processed foods alone. Add to that the chemical burden caused by food sprayed with pesticides and from air and water pollution. You can see that our chemical burden is more than considerable.
The body has systems designed to eliminate waste and to detoxify poisons.
The liver chemically converts toxins in the body to be easily eliminated by the kidneys. Detoxification is a forever ongoing process and the sheer volume of chemicals in the environment and in the diet has caused many people to reach their threshold of tolerance.
When the body is burdened with more chemicals than it can efficiently detoxify, chronic health problems can occur. Problems like allergies, skin problems, digestive problems, headaches, fatigue, joint pain and a variety of ailments can be caused by chemical exposure. Theron Randolph, MD, and early researcher of chronic allergies, was convinced that “the increased incidence of allergies and other chronic health problems in the latter half of the 20th century is due to the amount of chemicals we are exposed to on a day‐to‐day basis”. With research starting to show the link between our increased toxin exposure, it’s critical for your body’s detoxification systems to be working properly. As your body’s largest internal organ, your liver is the most important detoxification organ.
The liver works to filter out toxins from the foods you eat and environmental exposures as well as acting as a blood purifier, clearing out your blood of these impurities and only utilizing the necessary nutrients. It goes without saying, if your liver isn’t working well, your ability to detox is going to be negatively affected. When your liver is overloaded with toxins, it creates a cascade of systemic chronic inflammation, which further affects your liver’s ability to rid itself of these toxins. It becomes a vicious cycle between toxin buildup and inflammation that can only be broken through limiting your toxin exposure and supporting your liver’s natural ability to detox. For those of you that only think of heart health, rest assured that a healthy liver is required for a healthy heart.
Support your liver naturally by limiting your toxic exposure and support your detox pathways.
The first step to limit your toxic exposure is to reduce (or best to eliminate) the consumption of processed foods. Become an ingredient label reader, if you notice that the ingredients look like a chemistry experiment, it’s because it is. The body was never intended to consume, process or handle lab-grown chemical ingredients that are typically found in processed snacks, foods and drinks, so do your best to avoid them. Instead, choose organic and Non-GMO real foods. Real food is whole food such as vegetables, fruits, herbs and ethically sourced wild caught fish, pasture-raised proteins and 100% grass-fed dairy options. Whole foods not only contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients but they are the building blocks of the body down to a cellular level.
To help boost your detox pathways and liver function, consider these natural food options to support the body.
- Dandelion Root Tea, Turmeric and Artichoke leaves. Making bile is one of the liver’s main ways of eliminating toxins. For this reason, increasing bile flow is often helpful in detoxifying. All three help to increase bile flow and thus are liver cleansers that will support the body’s detoxification processes.
- Milk Thistle. This herb’s well-researched antioxidant properties are largely due to one of it’s unique flavonoids, silymarin. This flavonoid (along with other phytonutrients in milk thistle) can help increase the glutathione levels in liver cells by as much as 50%! Because of this, milk thistle not only aids in eliminating toxins that have built up in the liver but it also helps to protect the liver cells from toxic damage. You can take it in a supplement capsule or as a tea but for those with digestive issues, an organic high quality grade Milk Thistle tea is ideal. It’s common for people with liver diseases or those taking any drugs that may stress the liver to supplement with milk thistle.
- Licorice should also be considered as a liver protecting herb. Like milk thistle, it has been used in clinical studies to treat both liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Licorice is able to act not only as a liver protectant but also acts in the digestive tract like an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It can help us get rid of potential bacterial toxins while simultaneously protecting the intestinal walls during the detoxifying process. Licorice root helps to speed the repair of stomach lining and restore balance to the body.
There are many different nutrients that provide direct support for the liver, and for steps in the detoxification process. However, there are also many nutrients that help prevent problems that occur during detoxification. Supporting the liver is simply one factor when it comes to supporting the body’s health as a whole, as well as for detox purposes. The above items are just a few accessible ingredients that can be easily integrated into your daily routine to keep your liver and the body from being overburdened from the daily toxic grind.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or would like to learn more about getting your liver to optimal function, contact us for an appointment!
All links included in this blog post are for your information and convenience. Vitality Rising receives no payment or benefit if you choose to purchase any products linked on this post.