Liver Detoxification According To A Naturopath

    The liver is the second largest organ, located in the upper right abdomen. It is the only organ in the body that can renew itself, and is responsible for protecting you from toxins you are exposed to on a daily basis. When you ingest anything, the liver starts the detoxification process. Its function is to take everything in, figure out what it is, organize it and transmute it, and ship it out to specific destinations. For this reason, the liver is often known as the body’s big packaging and shipping warehouse; it foresees all the little details and organises it into a cohesive wholeness.

    The Liver Detoxification Process

    There are two steps involved in the liver detoxification process known as the Phase I and Phase II Liver Detox.

    In Phase I, the liver purifies the blood and neutralizes chemicals and toxins, or converts it to an intermediate form for Phase II.

    In Phase II, the liver further breaks down chemicals and toxins to prepare for excretion through bile production from the gallbladder. The gallbladder clears bile into the small intestine, the bile is then bound to soluble fibre contained in fruits and vegetables ingested and carries it out through the stools, and other waste is excreted through the kidneys as urine and also through skin as sweat.

    A weakened liver function means that Phase II is slower than Phase I, therefore toxins start to accumulate in the body. When this happens, the liver stores toxins in  fat cells as most of these toxins are fat soluble and don’t circulate in the blood. This can then lead to weight gain and excess adipose tissues in the body. These toxins also damage the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the body leading to low energy & poor metabolism.

    The liver requires certain nutrients for efficient Phase I and Phase II liver detox.These include vitamin B6, B12, active folic acid, indole-carbinol, N-acetyl cysteine, glutathione and more. Apart from the required nutrients, an efficient elimination through the colon, kidneys and skin is also required.

    6 Signs You Need To Detox Your Liver

    1. You have skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rashes and itchy skin
    1. You have bloating, constipation and diarrhea
    1. You have allergies, nausea and are sensitive to certain fragrances
    1. You have a foggy brain and lack of focus or suffer from migraines headaches
    1. You have fatigue, muscles aches and pains and suffer from low mood
    1.  You have painful or heavy periods (for women)

    If any of these symptoms match what you are experiencing, it may be time to consider ways of supporting your liver detoxification, according to naturopathy.

    6 Dietary Modifications That Can Support Liver Detoxification

    1. Include more bitter leafy green vegetables or herbs such as kale, artichoke, collards, burdock root, dandelion and parsley. Bitters have a direct impact on the stomach by secreting digestive systems, releasing pancreatic enzymes and  bile secretions from liver and gallbladder to aid in the elimination of waste. Bitters  also have a cooling effect on the body reducing excess heat associated to inflammation
    1. Adding cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts which are high in sulphur content and can support digestion with a  detoxifying effect. These foods are high in fibre too which will simultaneously improve elimination from the bowels while assisting the liver with detoxification
    1. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles to assist with liver detox and improve elimination from the bowels
    1. Consuming root vegetables such as carrots and beetroots regularly
    1. Eating antioxidant rich foods that helps to fight off free radicals  such as berries, green tea, avocado and apples
    1. Drink plenty  of water to support elimination of waste through the kidneys. It is also important to drink clean water and one way to do is is by filtering water beforehand

    5 Herbs To Support Liver Function

    1. Dandelion Root – A bitter tonic and liver remedy. Aids in digestion of fats and oils and has a mild laxative effect. It is an overall liver support. The herb is very cooling which can help treat excess heat in the body. One way to do this is by having a cup of dandelion root tea especially after heavy meals to assist with digestion
    2. Turmeric – One of the most popular anti-inflammatory herbs. Turmeric enhances Phase I and II liver detoxifications. It is an antioxidant, helps reduce cholesterol levels, and increases bile production from the liver assisting in digestion of fats. The benefits of turmeric are seen when used consistently in food or taken in the form of tinctures
    3. Milk Thistle – This herb is used in the liver detoxification process. It is used to treat liver damage, hepatitis A, B, C and fatty liver disease. The herb assists in digestion of fats and oils, reduces constipation & abdominal bloating. Supplementing with milk thistle is best either in capsule or tincture form
    4. Burdock Root – Considered the primary herb for the liver. The root aids in clearing toxins from the blood through its alternative action by opening the channels of elimination, facilitating detoxification and cleansing of the system. The burdock root’s diuretic action aids in purging the body of the waste through the kidneys. It is used to treat chronic skin conditions such as eczema, acne & psoriasis. Burdock root can be consumed regularly in teas or taken in the form of tinctures
    5. Schisandra Chinensis – Enhances Phase I & II liver detoxification by reducing heat and inflammation through its astringent, sour and bitter taste. The berry is also an immune tonic, adrenal tonic & helps build up core vitality. It works well when paired with milk thistle and is best taken in powder form as a supplement

    6 Lifestyle Ways To Care For Your Liver 

    1. Reduce exposure to environmental toxins such as chemicals found in your household products which may be in detergents, cleaning products or  beauty products as they may be endocrine disruptors 
    1. Have organic foods and products when possible especially when it comes to meat & dairy
    2. Regular sweating promotes elimination of waste through the skin, your largest organ so making sure you do activities that allow you to sweat or consider going into a sauna
    3. Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system with exfoliation of the skin ridding body of toxins
    4. Consider supplementing with NAC also known as N-acetyl cysteine. NAC helps to replenish the body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione – which helps fight off free radicals in the body and is essential for immunity. It assists with liver detoxification and is especially helpful for side effects associated  with certain medications as well as to protect from exposure  environmental toxins
    5. Manage stress levels: high stress levels mean often being prone to reaching out for stimulants such as coffee or that glass of wine. Stress also causes inflammation in the body which can inhibit our systems from working correctly. By managing stress levels and getting quality sleep, having regular exercise and reaching to herbal teas instead of alcohol, stress management and reduction is possible and  the liver will benefit 

    The liver has a big task to do, and a big responsibility to manage every single day. It is constantly processing and eliminating toxins exposed to through our food, medications and the environment. If you think your liver needs some support and attention, above are some simple ways you can be of assistance right away.  Your liver and your health will thank you for giving it extra care and attention because once the liver function is at its optimum, other health associated conditions will also inherently dissipate.

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