Where is it and what does it do?
The liver is one of the largest organs of the body and weighs about 4lbs. It is located in the upper right abdomen and is completely covered by the ribs.
It is the only organ that can regenerate if damaged or if partly removed (up to 25%). One of the most important functions of the liver is the secretion of bile. Bile is stored in the gallbladder for use in the digestion of fats. (See article on gallbladder). The liver has over 500 functions, such as fat metabolism, which is:
The synthesis of fatty acids from amino acids and sugars, the production of lipoproteins, cholesterol and phospholipids and the oxidation of fat to produce energy.
The liver acts with insulin to help regulate blood sugar by producing GTF (glucose tolerance factor) from chromium and glutathione. If the body does not need the sugar immediately it is converted into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles and is readily converted back into sugar for energy as needed. Excess food is converted into fat in the liver and stored in the fatty tissues of the body.
Another very important function of the liver is detoxification. As food ferments in the intestines it produces ammonia as a by-product and it is this ammonia that is detoxified by the liver. The liver mixes harmful toxic substances such as pesticides, drugs, alcohol and normal metabolic waste with less harmful ones and excretes them via the kidneys and bowels.
For the liver to function properly, the excretory organs need to be healthy.
The liver is responsible for regulating thyroid function by converting the hormone thyroxine, (T4) to triiodothyronine, (T3). It also breaks down hormones such as adrenaline, aldosterone, insulin, estrogen, progesterone and other hormones once they have been utilized by the body.
Reasons For Poor Liver Function
The presence of cumulative poisons:
Insecticides, preservatives and other toxins can build up in the body and impair the liver. Even if it does not build up in the liver itself, the liver function may suffer if the toxins adversely affect the function of other organs such as the pancreas and/or kidneys.
A diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates and fats (especially saturated fats, fried food, and hydrogenated fats) is very hard on the liver.
A low protein diet does not produce the needed building blocks for repair.
Poor food choices include: processed foods, junk foods, refined white flour products, white sugar products, and imitation foods that are designed to be like the real thing but have been robbed of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
This creates liver fatigue. Much of our food today is artificial and contains many chemical substances. The liver is unable to detoxify these harmful chemicals when food is eaten to excess.
Medicines and street drugs put a great and unnecessary strain on the liver as they are chemical substances that are foreign and unnatural to the body.
Herbs that can be helpful for the liver
– Gymnema sylvestre
– Oregon grape
These foods help in detoxifying the liver:
Garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, lemon juice in hot water, beets, artichoke, dandelion, chicory, endive and rockets, prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, plums, orange, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples and pears.
Substances that negatively impact the liver
Alcohol, caffeine, oral contraceptives, cigarettes, chemicals, and processed foods.
Often there is more than one issue going on in the body at any one time. Everything is connected and sometimes the body needs to work in a prioritizing sequence. Don’t be alarmed if multiple supplements are suggested. It can be very beneficial to support several different systems and organs of the body as we assist it to heal.
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