Ever thought about what your liver does for you? It’s likely you have only given your liver a cursory thought unless you’ve had a liver function test from your GP & it’s come up not so healthy. You’ve probably heard that your liver helps process alcohol, but in the wider scheme of things, this is just the tip on the iceberg when it comes to the talents of your liver. Essentially, nearly everything that enters our bloodstream, everything you eat passes through the liver. It’s your liver that makes sure everything gets filed into the right place, the bad things get filtered out & the good things get turned into energy & healthy tissue. If your liver is having trouble keeping up with its workload you are going to get a backlog of nasties polluting your amazing, fabulous body – and we can’t have that now can we?
Detoxification assists you to function at your best, however it may be particularly important to consider a detox program if you have a chronic condition, digestive symptoms, ongoing fatigue and inflammatory disorders. Detoxification can also support those with autism, autoimmunity, weight gain and in fact, any patient who wishes to improve their health, digestion and overall vitality. Aging well is also part of the benefits of caring for your liver. Look after your liver & it will look after you!
How can you tell your liver is under functioning?
There are many clues that your liver is under stress and these manifest as symptoms that mean you just don’t feel right. If you have any of the following, it’s time to detox:
- You feel tired, sluggish or lethargic
- Your concentration is not what it used to be
- You pick up every cold or sniffle that goes around
- Your breath is a constant battle to keep fresh – and not just cause you had an extra serving of garlic with lunch!
- You often have sinus congestion & post nasal drip – that yukky sensation of mucous in the back of your throat
- Your body odour is unpleasant when not using deodorant or perfume
- You get gas, bloating or discomfort after eating
- You have dark circles under your eyes
- You have allergies or a skin condition like eczema, acne or psoriasis
- You can go for more than 1 day without having a bowel movement
- You smoke, spend time around a lot of smokers or have smoked in the past
- You usually drink less than 3 cups of water a day
- You usually eat meat more than 2 times a day
- You tend to wake up bloated or puffy in the mornings
- You eat less than ½ cup of green vegetables a day
- What will a detox do for me?
A detox helps your body focus on repairing itself. This means that instead of working hard to process the Red Bull’s, coffee, refined sugars & saturated fats, not to mention the environmental pollution & stress we deal with every day, your liver will have time to do the normal stuff that keeps us feeling healthy. This means more energy, regular bowel movements, clear skin & easier weight management. People who frequently complain of headaches, allergies, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances and skin disorders usually find improvements in their symptoms as the gut restores optimal function following a detox.
What’s the link between weight loss & a detox?
Surprise! Your liver controls your metabolism. Ok, your thyroid has something to do with this too, but the liver & your thyroid gland work as a team & your weight loss team has dropped the ball if your liver is sidelined with a hangover, so to speak. Your liver transforms many of your hormones into their active state and this is also true for your thyroid hormones. So, your sluggish metabolism could have something to do with your overburdened liver. Healing your liver improves insulin sensitivity & this has benefits when it comes to shifting belly fat, which has the greatest risk of adverse health implications.
What does a detox involve?
Your liver is an integral part of your digestive system & doesn't operate alone. This said, a detox concentrates on healing & supporting the function of your digestion.
Dietary changes take the stress off your digestion with a focus on anti-inflammatory foods & your naturopath will guide you on any particular foods for you. This is part of the initial phase of reducing the burden on your liver & digestive system. Clean, healthy living is a lifelong goal, so a detox gives you a taste of what this is like & the benefits you will experience. During this period your naturopath may include herbs to assist balance the bacteria in your digestive tract & stimulate good digestion. This is where your bowel, liver & gall bladder get all the support they need to happily go about their work. You also need good levels of stomach acid to have healthy bacteria in your digestive tract – the fact is we have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that helps process our foods & actually nourishes the cells lining our intestines.
Here you focus on rebuilding the digestive lining to be all pink & healthy, supporting urinary elimination, alkalising the body and re balancing the beneficial flora levels within the gastrointestinal tract. Your naturopath will support you with supplements designed to heal your digestive tract, help you get rid of heavy metals stored in the body & build up your good bacteria.
Giving your liver a hard time?
It’s important to take care of your liver, particularly if you are taking a lot of medications, work in an environment with lots of pollutants, or have any of the symptoms listed above. The fact is your liver can regenerate its cells, we just have to give it the opportunity! If you would like some advice on starting a detox program, come in & see me for a consult. Correcting a lifetime of bad habits is something you generally need to do in baby steps, but your liver is a vital organ & not something you can do without, so taking those steps to detox is an important part of caring for your long term health.
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