Why should we be giving any attention to our liver?

As a busy mum you may be thinking..."Geez I don't have time for this!" or "Sorry, but I love my evening wine too much, it helps me unwind from the day".
But that's just the thing...if you are feeling tired, sluggish with no energy yet you need a wine to unwind at the end of your busy day...it maybe time to give your liver some lovin!

Here are some indications your liver may need some loving:

  • Roll of fat around the liver (upper abdomen or just below your bra)
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Cellulite
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Flushed face
  • Congested sinuses and/or skin – eg: acne
  • Brain fog
  • Waking between 2am & 4am; this is when the liver detoxifies
  • Waking hot & sweaty
  • Anger or short temper
  • Mood swings
  • No appetite for breakfast
  • High cholesterol
  • Bloating easily & difficulty digesting fats (feeling nausea after eating something fatty)
  • Fatigue/tiredness & feeling groggy/toxic
  • Headaches
  • White/yellow coated tongue
  • Itchy skin
  • Bad breath
  • Constipated
  • Regular alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and processed foods
  • Having much worse hangovers / not tolerating alcohol as before

What is our liver really doing for us?

Storage:
Our liver stores many different nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, hormones, immune cells and the big one: fuel in the form of glycogen and triglycerides.

Filter:
All the blood in your body has to pass through the liver to be filtered or cleaned (approximately 1.4 litres per minute!). It detoxifies chemicals and alcohol and metabolises medications.

Conversion:
The liver is brilliant at building nutrients for us. There are 9 essential amino acid (building blocks) that we get from food and our liver builds the rest. We need these building blocks to build all sorts of things in the body from new tissue to hormones.
The liver is also expert in converting your waste eg; used hormones such as estrogen, it needs to break it down in to parts, then conjugate it back into a new form to be eliminated from the body as waste. If the liver is a bit sluggish then these can often be recycled back into the body and result in issues such as estrogen dominance for example which can result in PMS and painful periods.

It's all about the fuel. - The liver is all about storing fuel called glycogen and triglycerides…think about triglycerides as the coal and the glycogen as the light fluid.* When the liver is overloaded, your metabolism slows down, hence it’s hard to shift weight.

We need to support both phases of detoxification:

Phase 1 Detoxification: Activation phase where the liver breaks down toxins ready for Phase 2…at this point some of the components are even more toxic than when in there original form! Which is why it’s so important to have Phase 2 working well.

Phase 2 Detoxification: Conjugation is where the waste is packaged up ready to be shipped out via your stool or urine. Phytonutrients are imperative at this point to help the conjugation process which is why eating your vegetables is so important.

Looking after your liver

As with a lot of things with our health, it’s the small daily actions that we take that make the biggest impact (that’s why in my Rushed to Restored Package, you have small changes to make and accountability build in too).
We need to make sure we are giving our liver the tools it needs to do it’s job and also not overburden it with toxins that hinder it’s job.
Have you ever done a juice cleanse only to feel worse after? It’s probably because the liver wasn’t getting the right nutrients and amino acids (proteins) to support Phase 2 detoxification.

Toxins to avoid:

  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • transfats
  • medications/drugs
  • plastics (even BPA-free)
  • pesticides
  • heavy metals

Nutrients the liver needs

  • quality protein
  • all nutrients but in particular that are commonly deficient: B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin A.
  • the body’s master antioxidant Glutathione which is made in the liver

My tops tips to Love your Liver

  • Cruciferous/Brassica vegetables: Such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, pak choy, waercress, rocket.
    Consume daily at least 2 cups. In smoothies, soups, lightly steamed, in salads.
  • Quality protein: Such as grass-fed meat, fish, legumes. The source of amino acids that the liver needs to conjugate your waste and eliminate it.
    Pea protein powder is an excellent choice as it’s easily digestable and is easily added to your green smoothie.
  • Resistant starch: Such as cold cooked potatoes, beans, plantains or bananas (Green Banana Flour), AquaFava (liquid from cooking chickpeas or from a BPA-free can of chickpeas).
    Helps support the liver, feeds the good bacteria in the gut and helps with regulation of blood sugar.
    Add 1/2 organic banana with skin on to your smoothie or green banana flour & AquaFava to your smoothie.
    Good old homemade potato salad with homemade mayo is an awesome option!
  • Bitters & Sour: Such as rocket, dandelion leaves, beet leaves, lemon. Stimulates bile production.
    Small side salad of rocket with lemon juice as an entree before dinner can stimulate good digestion and help to digest fats.
  • Healthy fats: such as olive oil, avocado can help insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
    Add avocado to your smoothies and salads
  • Medicinal herbs: such as Dandelion Root, St Mary’s Thistle, Globe Artichoke, Rosemary & Schisandra are protective and supportive of the liver. They help to protect the liver cells from toxic exposure and some may promote regeneration of diseased liver cells and can enhance insulin sensitivity.**

    I can prescribe you a Liver Support formula tailored to your needs; book a naturopathic consult.

Book in with me for a FREE Discovery Call to see if you need support for you liver and feel energised and on top of the world again.

References

*Dr Alan Christianson, The Metabolic Reset Diet 2019
** Dr Marisa Marciano & Dr Nikita A. Vizniak, Botanical Medicine 2018

Written by Naturopath and Gut Health Specialist - Jane McClurg

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