Could your liver be responsible for your health problems?

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Your liver is the most powerful metabolic organ in your body. If you look after your liver, you will increase your chances of having a long and healthy life. People with a sick liver typically experience a lot of fatigue and they are at risk of developing a number of health issues.

If your liver works well, it will enable all the other organs and systems in your body to work better.

Here are some ways your liver keeps you healthy:

Your liver detoxes your body

The liver converts toxic ammonia into urea, which can then be safely eliminated by the kidneys. Ammonia is an end product of protein metabolism. If ammonia builds up, even slightly, you will experience brain dysfunction. The liver structure is a filter which removes unhealthy cells, dead cells, bacteria and other micro-organisms from the bloodstream so they can be destroyed in the liver. The liver filters the blood from the gut – all the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. If you have a leaky gut, it leaks to your liver.

Your liver regulates your blood sugar

The liver manufactures glucose and glycogen. This is vitally important to stabilise blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for sugary foods. People with a fatty liver are more likely to engage in non-hungry eating due to factors such as fatigue, irritability, anxiety or cravings.

Your liver regulates your metabolism

The liver makes the fats cholesterol, lipoproteins and triglycerides. The liver keeps your blood fats in the healthy range.

Your liver is the protector of your immune system

The liver filter contains many immunologically active cells, acting as a ‘sieve’ for proteins carried to it from the intestinal blood. The liver filter (sieve) is altered by many factors such as stress, smoking, alcohol, ageing and environmental chemicals. An open (excessively permeable) liver sieve increases incidence of immune disorders. The liver manufactures immune factors which strengthen your immune defences.

How you can protect your liver

  • Try to eat unprocessed, healthy foods in their natural state. Ideally base your diet on foods that don’t have an ingredients list.
  • Try to keep your weight in the healthy range. Carrying weight around your torso places a strain on your liver. This is called visceral adipose tissue.
  • A high sugar diet can do a lot of harm to your liver. It encourages liver inflammation and can make your liver look like that of an alcoholic even if you don’t drink.
  • If you have excess iron levels in your blood, become a regular blood donor and you will see the levels come down.  Excess iron can harm the liver.
  • Ensure you consume enough vitamin C to reduce free radicals attacking your liver. A daily dose of 1000mg to 2000mg of vitamin C is protective.
  • Your liver may benefit from the Dr Cabot 15 Day Cleanse. This is an easy to follow program that helps improve liver, gut and immune function. It is an excellent way to start feeling more energetic and implement better eating habits.
  • Selenium can help the liver in many ways and is a powerful liver protector, by encouraging glutathione production.
  • Raw juicing can accelerate the repair of liver damage and improve immune function. Good things to juice include kale, cabbage, carrot, beet, ginger, lime, lemon, grapefruit, parsley, basil, and coriander.
  • Fermented foods high in probiotics can help, and include miso, kefir, sauerkraut, and kim chi. They are able to improve gut health and thus reduce liver inflammation.

If you have any concerns about your health, please don’t self diagnose. See a qualified healthcare practitioner for a diagnosis.

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