July 23, 2018

simple nutrition - the liver

nutrition basics - the liver



The liver is amazing. I don't know why but I have this obsession with it. I think it may be my favorite organ. Do other people even have a favorite organ?


This post may be a little more science-y. A little more anatomy and physiology. A little more background.  I can assure you if you read through it and stick with me you will have a new appreciation for the liver and will start to think of your liver and how it is helping your body. I include information about detoxing, nutrients, hormones and products that you can use to support the liver.



Detoxing

The liver is your main organ for detoxing your body. Filtering the blood is an essential detoxifying function of the liver. Total blood supply passes through the liver several times a day and at any given time, about a pint of blood is in the liver being detoxified. Blood detoxification is critical because blood may be loaded with bacteria, endotoxins, antigen-antibody complexes, and other toxic substances from the intestines. (lifeextension.com)

Bile
The liver also produces Bile. Bile is a substance that helps emulsify, or break down fats. Larger pieces of fat are broken down into smaller pieces so that it is easier for the intestines to digest it.

Not only does your liver help with the breakdown and digestion of food, but before the nutrients from the food can go to the body, it has to make a pit stop at the liver. The liver gets first dibs. The liver is like an inspector and food runner (anyone else used to work in a restaurant?). It helps filter out waste from digestion and makes sure the nutrients that have been extracted from the food are safe to be disbursed.

Hormones
It not only filters toxins and nutrients, it also helps regulate hormones.

The liver creates proteins that can act as hormone carriers, it regulates sex hormones (specifically estrogen) and eliminates excess hormones.

Because of these important functions relating to the liver, it is important to support the liver and help it optimally function.

If the liver is not working optimally, it will not be able to produce the correct amount of protein carriers to transport the hormones where they need to go.

If the liver is not working optimally, it will not be able to regulate levels of hormones.

If the liver is not working optimally, it will not be able to filter the nutrients and get them out to the body where they need to go.

If the liver is not working optimally, it will not be able to rid the body of excess hormones, toxins, bacteria, etc.


So how do we ensure a healthy liver so that our bodies can detoxify themselves on a daily basis?

First we need to be aware of what we are putting in our body, on our body, what we are breathing in, etc. We also want to support the liver and body as much as we can through good nutrition, supportive herbs, spices, oils, and other supplements and real food that can support your system.

SUPPORTING THE LIVER

This is a list of different things that can help keep the liver working optimally. These are in addition to a healthy diet with lots of water, vegetables, and not too much sugar or processed foods. You do not need to include all the items listed below. However, it is a good idea to start incorporating healthier habits into your daily routine and diet.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Dandelion  - Dandelion - both in greens and in an herbal or supplement form - is great to support your liver. Studies have shown that the compounds in dandelion can help the liver in various ways.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23256442
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28841174
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27057110

Milk Thistle - an herb that is related to the daisy and ragweed families. It is also often called silymarin on supplements.

Milk thistle is a fantastic herb to support the liver. It may help protect the liver from toxins and drugs and stimulate the production of new liver cells. In animals, it reduces liver injury caused by acetaminophen, radiation, iron overload, and alcohol, among others. It has been used to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29316974
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28125040

Turmeric - Turmeric is from a plan in the ginger family. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that has been studied for it's anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, and antioxidant affects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19811613

Lemon Juice - The acidity and d-limonene in lemon juice can help stimulate bile production which will help the body break down fats. Lemon juice also provides antioxidants to help protect and support the liver.

Those who know me or read this blog regularly know I am an avid essential oil user. And although lemon essential oil can also support the liver, it is not the same as lemon juice and can't replace it. I would suggest using both to support the liver.

Oils 
There are several essential oils that can support the liver when taken with water or in a capsule. When you take oils to support your body, they actually help your body work better to do the things it is meant to do. Your liver knows how to detox, sometimes it just needs a boost.

Note: You should NEVER ingest oils without researching and knowing the source, how they farm, how they test oils, and knowing how many drops to actually take. I only trust Young Living for me and my family and would never recommend any other brand for ingestion. Research and ask a health professional before ingesting. 

These are a few oils recommended for liver support:
Frankincense Vitality
Endoflex Vitality
Juvavlex Vitality
GLF Vitality
Celery Seed Vitality
Lemon Vitality

All of these oils I recommend from Young Living. You can read more about Young Living and why their oils are superior on my Simply Oils - why Young Living page.

I hope you found this overview helpful and interesting. There are chapters upon chapters in nutrition and anatomy and physiology books about the liver. I know I could have included more, but this was just the basics. The takeaway is to love your liver.

To see all the simple things I do on a regular basis to improve my well-being, follow me on Instagram.

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