Our liver is a powerhouse, it has some 500 known physical functions in our bodies, isn’t that crazy?!!
When I was growing up I had no clue what the liver was or did, I just remember my Mum serving it to me with some bacon for dinner. Now I get a little freaked out at the thought of eating liver, especially as it is the main detox organ in the body so if you’re not getting it from a good clean source of meat who knows what toxins could be stored in there – yuk!
Not only does the liver have about 500 different functions but it also has approximately three pints of blood passing through it every minute – yes, I did say every minute!
Today, I want to touch on just some of those important functions of the liver and some signs and symptoms that may be showing up for you as an indicator that maybe your liver needs some extra TLC.
#1. The liver is a blood filter and screens everything in the blood and it will take the nutrients, oxygen, toxins and waste products out. If it detects anything toxic the liver cells starts their work to de-activate them.
Toxins enter your body through your lungs, skin and your gut (small intestine) and they are sent to your liver. The liver deals with a wide range of toxins such as:
- Heavy metals (aluminum, copper, lead, mercury)
- Drugs (recreational & pharmaceutical)
Your liver function becomes sluggish when it is overloaded and this can lead to symptoms such as:
- Serious fatigue
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Varicose veins
- Dark bags under the eyes and a host of other health problems
#2. It regulates blood sugar along with the pancreas and adrenals. If the sugar level in the blood gets too low, the adrenals secrete hormones, which stimulate the liver to release glycogen (stored glucose) and if blood sugar levels get too high, the pancreas secretes insulin which tells the liver to remove excess glucose from the blood and store it as glycogen.
#3. Regulate fats in the blood along with the gallbladder. When these organs aren’t working properly due to an overload of toxins they can’t regulate the fat level and this is the single most important cause of high blood fat levels
#4. Regulation of blood protein levels, if protein levels are too low, the liver will put protein back into the blood stream to be taken throughout the body. If the liver doesn’t make protein properly, wasting of muscle if the most obvious sign
#4. The liver regulates hormones by breaking them down regularly otherwise they will continue to circulate through the body giving out of date signals. Signs of a hormonal imbalance can include things like PMS symptoms – bloating, breast tenderness and mood changes.
If you have thyroid issues, you also want to be looking after your liver as this can also have an impact on your metabolic rate, which is already affected.
#5. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is related to anger, depression, negativity, irritability and mood fluctuations so loving your liver may also help you to love yourself and become a happier, calm person once again.
Your liver is dependent on a steady and big supply of nutrients in order for it to detox and carry out all of its other 499 functions efficiently. That’s why it’s important to eat a variety of whole live foods in your daily diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you know that your diet is not optimal, your stress levels are pretty high and you use a lot of products on your skin or hair it is very likely that you have an overburdened liver. A gentle cleanse can help with many of the symptoms we have talked about and the development of other issues related to an unhealthy liver. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how I can help you with this.
To give your liver some loving right away, try eating beets as they help detoxify the liver as used in the salad below.
Carrot & Beet Salad
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups grated beets
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp dried dill
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (purchase Omega Nutrition brand at the health food store)
1 Tbsp flax oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl up to one hour before serving.