The liver, also known as the ultimate multitasking organ, is underestimated in its importance and significance. That is why it is it should be a top priority to keep your liver healthy.
The liver, weighing in about 3 pounds, sits on the right side of the abdominal cavity. Situated below the liver sits the gallbladder and portions of the pancreas and intestines.
The liver serves in multiple roles:
- It helps to filter the blood from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body.
- It aids in detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing drugs.
- It helps secrete bile to assist in food breakdown.
- It makes proteins so blood clotting is possible.
- It helps break down damaged blood cells so that the body may remove them.
So what issues can arise if the liver is not operating at optimal standards?
There are many medical conditions associated with the liver, such as hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, gall bladder disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, and hemochromatosis only to name a few.
According to ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, the liver is the primary organ responsible for removing toxins and purifying byproducts so that they may be delivered to the necessary organs in a purified condition.
When the liver is healthy and happy, the body will experience:
- Increased energy levels
- Clearer skin
- Regular menstrual cycle with reduced PMS
- Improved allergy symptoms
- Stronger immunity
- Fewer GI issues
- Improved oral health
- Improved mood and mental clarity
“A healthy liver results in better blood flow upward and outward, throughout our vessels, veins and capillaries, which transport oxygen and nutrients to our cells. The liver also interacts with other organs like the gallbladder, stomach and spleen, since it receives digested particles or toxins and decides what to do with them: circulate them around through the blood or eliminate them before they can cause damage.” Dr. Axe
While the jury is still out on the efficacy of “liver detox”, the American Liver Foundation outlines ways you can keep your liver out of trouble.
- Foods that have been shows to have protective effects include:
- Coffee (in moderation): Increases antioxidant levels while decreasing inflammation
- Tea: Black and green tea have been shown to improve fat and enzyme levels. Avoid green tea extract as it can cause damage to the liver.
- Grapefruit: The two main antioxidants found in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin that reduces inflammation.
- Beetroot juice: Protects the liver from oxidative reactions and increases detoxifying enzymes.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Be cautious with concurrent thyroid conditions. These vegetables have been found to increase detoxifying enzymes.
- Nuts: One six-month observational study in 106 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease found eating nuts was associated with improved levels of liver enzymes.
- Fatty fish. Studies have shown that fish help prevent fat from building up, keep enzyme levels normal, fight inflammation and improve insulin resistance.
- Olive oil. Helps prevent fat accumulation in liver and improved blood flow.
- Limit alcohol.
- Manage medications.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals. Use natural hair and skin products as well as natural household supplies.
- Avoid excess supplements. Iron, Niacin, Vitamin A have been shown to be harmful to the liver in excess doses.
- Avoid a plethora of unnecessary herbal products. A recent study in the journal Hepatology claims that liver injury due to supplements and herbs is on the rise.
- Get the heart rate up and just move.
While discussions of liver health often end up taking a back seat to more exciting health news, it is a vital component to achieving greater balance. So drink your coffee, limit your supplements and get your body moving!
Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on holistic care and good health maintenance. For more information on healthy eating habits and achieving and maintaining OPTIMAL health, CONTACT our office today to schedule your appointment. You can also learn more by following Dr. Raman on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Over the last three months, I have deliberately chosen to write and focus on understanding how a healthy gut affects every aspect of our health. It has become clearly evident to me that the true source of healing resides in the confines of our GI tract.
I recently attended a talk given by my dear friend on the topic of Ayurvedic Medicine. This healing concept originated in India over 3,000 years ago. The fundamental philosophy of Ayurveda is “heal thy gut, heal thy symptoms.” During this talk, the realization came upon me that what Eastern ancient medicine knew 3,000 years ago has only claimed territory in the West a decade ago.
How many times do we recall our mothers or grandmothers complaining of merciless symptoms of menopause or our fathers moaning with relentless joint pain? Not much at all, right? But now, it seems every article, every conversation, every ad mentions one physical ailment or another and how there is a medication to “fix” it. I often wonder why we see so many advertisements for medications but hardly any on exercise or nutrition. Why does medication have to always be the only answer?
Why are the children of this generation thrown into the fires of puberty before they even hit double digits? Why do the women in the third through fifth decade of their lives suffer when life is supposed to be rosy? What could have so drastically changed within the last 30 years that health is no longer the care free life we once thought it was?
Our DIET has changed. Our FOOD industry has changed. Our CONSUMPTION has changed. There is no big mystery disease that explains most of our symptoms. We, as humans, need to simply the search for the answers.
We are what we eat.
I know it is frustrating!! We eat the “right” foods. We eat the “right” quantities. We eat at the “right” times. Yet, nothing seems to help improve those dreaded badgering symptoms. If what you are doing is not working, stop trying to put a round peg in a square hole. Look at other causes. Look at what is going into your mouth!!
The term “leaky gut” is beginning to make its way into research labs and proving how our gut seems to have the answers. Here’s a very simplistic explanation. Altered, modified, hormone and antibiotic infested crops are not meant for human bodies to process. Over the years, this constant traumatic exposure has caused disruptions to our DNA structure. The breakage of the DNA molecule has resulted in maladaptive pattern to which our bodies don’t recognize. This causes our endocrine system to short circuit. It prevents our hormonal pathway from staying in true alignment.
Simultaneously, antibiotics in the food enter the lumen of the bowel and kill our “good” gut flora. With the diminishing army of the good guys, the bad guys, “bad” bacteria, flourish. These bad guys cause a “leak” in our gut. This leak triggers a release of inflammatory cytokines. The surge of cytokines leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance subsequently causes weight gain, hormonal imbalances, diabetes and eventually blankets the operation of every system in the body.
With full disclosure, I share the story of my own journey over the last two years. In 2014, my thyroid relapsed. Normally it is a small adjustment in my medication and I revert back to normal. At that time nothing worked. Long story short, I soon found out I had a severe sensitivity to gluten, which I never experienced before. I gave up gluten expecting to improve. Never came. Struggled on for the next 18 months while beating my head against a wall trying to figure out what I was missing. I was a “clean” eater. I exercised like a crazy person. Slept like a baby. Why couldn’t I figure this out? So in February of this year, I had blood taken for the MRT Leap Food sensitivity testing. MRT checks for 150 of the most common food sensitivities.
I had my answer. The test confirmed I had high sensitivity to apples, quinoa, whey, milk, lentils, turmeric, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, chocolate, oats, and broccoli.
Say what?? But those are all the healthy foods I was “supposed” to eat. That’s what I was told. That’s what I read. And there isn’t anyone taking away my chocolate and peanut butter!!
It turns out those specific foods were continuously causing insults to my GI system. The leaky gut was now a high tide flood. I very slowly started decreasing and eliminating the high reactive foods. Within two weeks, swelling in my hands diminished. Energy levels improved. Weight started to normalize. Life started to have hope.
It has only been two months. But in these two months, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt, clear to me, we must heal the layers that lie in solar plexus. When getting evaluated by your physician, it is very important ALL medical causes are evaluated also. You are welcome to call my office and learn more about this test, and other ways I can help you.
If you are left with more frustrating questions than answers, I encourage you to look into the core of your existence, the core of your health, the core of your central energy. Look into the core of your gut!