The liver is a fascinating organ, and certainly one you can’t live without. Every single thing you eat and drink passes through it, not to mention the 500+ life functions it is responsible for. It’s the ultimate multi-tasker and 2nd largest organ in your body to boot (skin is #1). It’s most famous job is that of detoxification. It breaks down and transforms substances like ammonia, metabolic waste, drugs, alcohol, and chemicals so that they may be eliminated from the body. This is why individuals with poor liver function begin to develop signs of toxicity such as, weight gain, mood changes, decreased immunity, skin changes, and discoloration of the eyes. It’s such a hard working organ that when it is not functioning at an optimal level, you will notice it effecting your entire body system. Essentially, it’s also the only organ we have to purify our bloodstream – that’s a big deal.
Basically, if you were a car – your liver is the engine. Now do you want to be an old Chevy or a brand new sports car?
Here’s what you need to know: What Harms Your Liver?
Anytime you are overburdening your liver with toxins, you are prompting it to work harder. Over-time this creates stress on the liver and backlog as it attempts to keep up with everything that needs to pass through. Here are some common toxins that impair liver flow and compromise function:
- Excessive alcohol intake –alcohol is beneficial but only in limited amounts (1-2 standard drinks/day, and in otherwise healthy, non-pregnant individuals).
- Acetomenophin (aka TYLENOL) – this popular pain relief drug directly harms the liver and can lead to acute liver failure in high amounts.
- Pharmaceutical Drugs – drugs are processed via the liver and/or kidney for excretion, therefore it’s never a good idea to be taking drugs over the long-term. Instead, aim to always identify the root cause of a disease and heal naturally!
- Hormones – found in animal products (like beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy). Natural and synthetic hormones are used to accelerate growth rates in animals for faster production.
- Processed Foods/Additives – refined/chemically processed goods, artificial sweeteners, colorants, and preservatives all are bad for the body and sent to the liver for detoxification, creating undue burden!
- Pollutants – something nearly impossible to avoid, there are countless pollutants circulating in our environment and need to be processed out from our body’s circulation. Since this is a hard one to control (since it involves global agreement and adherence to reducing pollution), you can always do your best at reducing your own carbon footprint and making your home as environmentally clean as possible. Take a look at how houseplants can have a powerful impact on the air you breathe, reducing toxins and clearing up Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)!
- Insecticides – residues of pesticides are found in many foods that are not organic, and are in fact strong poisons that the liver must work to eliminate. Long-term exposure over the years can lead to many adverse health effects. If you were thinking of a reason to switch to organic, watch this recent interesting experiment:
Most of what you put into your mouth isn’t exactly pure. Plants are sprayed with chemicals, animals are injected with potent hormones and lots of foods are genetically engineered with so much stuff that they make Frankenstein look as natural as a puppy. What’s that mean to us? For one thing, it means these toxins enter your body and can potentially destroy tissues or damage cells. It’s the liver’s job to cope with these toxic chemicals as they travel from the environment via food into your body, almost like a drug smuggler trying to make it past customs. – Dr. Mehmet Oz
How to Restore Your Liver
Thankfully, the liver is a fascinating organ – and one that can be completely regenerated. It’s actually the only organ in the body that can do this, replacing damaged tissue with brand new cells. “If up to 50 – 60 percent of the liver cells may be killed within 3 – 4 days in an extreme case like a Tylenol overdose, the liver will repair completely after 30 days if no complications arise.”– University of Iowa, Health
This has tremendous implications for us since we can actually reverse liver damage and have it functioning at its most optimal level in no time. With the help of a good diet and various herbs and antioxidants, your liver will be loved and in turn will have you feeling and looking your best!
Glutathione – the mother of all antioxidants
Glutathione is a master detoxifier of the immune system, while also being the secret to preventing aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer’s disease. – Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
Your body does in fact produce it, but it gets dramatically reduced by daily environmental stressors, only leaving the liver with an increased burden to handle. So if you love your liver, glutathione provides potent benefits – Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
Milk-Thistle (aka Sylibum marianum) is one of the most powerful liver regeneration herbs out there, detoxifying and protecting liver function. It’s actually been used for thousand of years as a natural treatment for liver disorders, widely in Europe and then becoming part of Chinese Medicine as well. It’s also been praised for aiding the kidney, gall bladder, adrenals, treating inflammatory bowel disease, and benefiting immunity.So when looking to boost or regenerate liver function, this is a top herb to consider.
In comparing the effects of hepatic regeneration after partial hepatectomy, Yormaz et al (2012) looked at Sylibum Marinaum, Propofol, N-acetylcysteine and Vitamin E on Liver. They all showed beneficial effects in the regeneration of liver enzymes, however, Milk Thistle showed statistically significant improvements and faster regeneration capacity over all other treatments. Another study measured the capacity of milk thistle to impede induced liver damage (Aslan et al. 2014), while another even looked at it’s ability to prevent hepatic ischemia and reperfusion (Liu et al., 2013). These are just a few studies in the mounds of available evidence for Milk Thistle and liver health!
The Pure Drop Milk Thistle by Land Art is a pure extract without anything added. You can also use it therapeutically to relieve digestive disturbance (30 mins before meals).
*DOSAGE : Adult: 10 ml per day. Can be diluted in a juice or a glass of water.
*SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS FOR USE : Use for minimum of 3 week to see beneficial effects.
*CAUTIONS AND WARNINGS : Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant. Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist or worsen. Known adverse reaction: Hypersensitivity, such as an allergy, has been known to occur, in which case, discontinue use.
Necessary Dietary Adjustments If you’re really going to love your liver, the proper dietary adjustments are crucial. Here are some known foods that cleanse your liver:
• Garlic – with high amounts of allicin and selenium, this activates liver enzymes to aid the body in flushing out toxins.
• Grapefruit – high in vitamin C and antioxidants, this also boosts liver detoxification enzymes flushing out carcinogens and toxins. Caution if you are on medications, as grapefruit will clear them out of the body more quickly, reducing their effect.
• Green Tea – FULL of the plant antioxidants known as catechins, this beverage will greatly assist liver function.
• Avocado – this SUPERFOOD helps the body to produce glutathione, which as mentioned before, is necessary for the liver to cleanse away harmful toxins.
• Lemons & Limes – very high in vitamin C! Develop the habit of drinking a glass of water with lemon or lime every morning, this will stimulate your liver’s juices to start flowing!
• TURMERIC – Despite the anti-inflammatory, cancer protective, loads of over health benefits it provides, it’s also known to be the liver’s favorite spice! It helps to BOOST liver detox by assisting its enzymes, while making for a great culinary addition.
• Walnuts – high in arginine, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts play a big role in detoxifying the ammonia that can build up in the liver and be harmful.
• Apples – the high pectin content found in apples helps the body to cleanse and release toxins in the digestive tract (before reaching the liver), therefore reducing the toxic load that the liver must face.
DISCLAIMER : This article does not replace the advice or care of a medical health professional.
References : Aslan, Abdullah, and Muhammed Ismail Can. “Milk Thistle Impedes the Development of Carbontetrachloride-induced Liver Damage in Rats through Suppression of Bcl-2 and Regulating Caspase Pathway.” Life Sciences 117.1 (2014): 13-18. Web. Liu, S., Z. Chen, D. Cao, F. Liu, X. Wang, L. Zhao, R. Liu, and Z. Xiao. “Study on Protective Effect of Extract on Hepatic Ischemia-reperfusion Injury.” African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines Afr. J. Trad. Compl. Alt. Med. 10.5 (2013): n. pag. Web. Yormaz, S., E. Bulbuloglu, E. B. Kurutas, H. Ciralik, M. F. Yuzbasioglu, H. Yildiz, I. Coskuner, E. Silay, B. Kantarceken, M. Goksu, N. Senoglu, and I. T. Kale. “The Comparison of the Effects of Hepatic Regeneration after Partial Hepatectomy, Silybum Marinaum, Propofol, N-acetylcysteine and Vitamin E on Liver.” BLL Bratislava Medical Journal 113.03 (2012): 145-51. Web. Erica Grenci B.A., ND (CAND) 2016