5 Ways to Support Your Liver
5 easy ways to support your liver and why it’s important!
Now more than ever, our bodies are overloaded with toxins in everyday life, from our environment to our food. When the buildup surpasses our ability to detoxify, we can experience a wide variety of health issues such as hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, gut health disturbances, joint pain, weight gain, and skin issues. Here's how supporting your liver can help!
The Barrel Effect
The barrel effect refers to the accumulation of toxicity that one person has endured throughout their life. Everyone has a toxic load limit unique to them. Our bodies have to metabolize everything we are exposed to, on our skin, in the air, in our water, in our food... Many factors can affect our toxic load: genetics (inherited sensitive triggers), our environment (free radicals, toxins), our emotional and mental well-being (stress on the immune system increases likelihood of symptoms) to name a few. All of this slowly fills our barrels and without helping our body detoxify, we over-burden its natural ability. When the barrel gets full (known as total load effect), that's when we get sick.
Some argue that detox isn’t necessary because we have organ systems for it. We do have natural detoxification processes in our bodies. But think of how fast our world has changed… Our evolution is still so behind all of the new chemicals, pesticides, and radiation that we’ve introduced into our world quite recently. We ingest tons of man-made fillers, shelf stabilizers, chemicals from the air, in our water, on our produce, off gassing from our carpets, furniture, and linens in our home, antibiotics and hormones from our meat and fish. The technology we use every day has developed exponentially in only a couple of decades, whereas it took our species thousands of years to evolve into what our bodies are today.
We wouldn’t survive without our detoxification processes however, even still, our bodies don’t have the capacity to detox all of the harmful toxins we come in contact with. It is so important to support these processes so they can keep up with eliminating all the unwanted elements our modern environment throws their way.
Our livers are storing and synthesizing, glucose regulating, glycogen converting, hormone balancing, metabolizing and detoxifying every day. The liver performs over 500 different functions. It stores any excess absorbed nutrients from the blood coming from the portal vein- sugars, amino acids, iron, vitamins and more. It synthesizes various proteins and enzymes necessary for cellular metabolism. It converts and stores any excess glucose from the blood when blood sugar is high, then converts and releases it back into the blood when blood sugar falls low. It breaks down hormones once they’ve fulfilled their functions. It filters the blood to remove large toxins. It synthesizes and secretes bile full of cholesterol and other fat-soluble toxins, then releases the processed toxins to be absorbed by fiber in the GI and excreted. It performs enzymatic neutralization of toxic chemicals in 3 different phases depending on the toxin, then converts fat soluble toxins into water soluble substances that can be excreted from our bodies via the urine or bile. This includes not just alcohol but every type of drug, pesticide, preservative, and almost everything we put in or on our body is filtered through it. Its important to support it, not just for long term disease prevention, but for clear skin, weight maintenance, youthful appearance, PMS, sex drive and feeling energized at any age.
Here are 5 Easy Ways to Support Your Liver:
Eat cruciferous veggies
Eating at least 2-3 cups a day is so important for sulforaphane that runs a lot of the liver pathways. This can include arugula, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, radishes, turnips, everything green!
The liver bundles up toxins into bile which is excreted in the stool. When constipation occurs, the stool sits in the GI tract, and the substances that the liver is trying to excrete gets reabsorbed back into the body. You can do this by increasing your fiber intake, drinking half your body weight (lbs) in oz of water every day, and taking magnesium citrate if prone to constipation.
Liver supporting herbal teas
Herbal teas have amazing detoxification herbs (dandelion, fennel, burdock, bupleurum, nettle leaf to name a few) that support the liver pathways and help release toxins. One of my favourites is Everyday Detox by Traditional Medicinals.
You can also get herbal support through supplementation, as well as blends that include milk thistle, NAC, artichoke, DIM, indole-3-carbinole, broccoli extract, with vitamins and minerals, such as Detox Pro by CanPrev, and Liver Health Tincture by Orange Naturals.
Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil boosts liver function and helps the body break down proteins that don’t belong there, such as scar tissue. It increases communication between cells and decreases inflammation, heals and repairs.
Organic castor oil
A sheet of organic, undyed fabric
A heating source (hot water bottle is perfect)
1. Take the flannel sheet, fold it to the size you want, and cover it with castor oil.
2. Oiled side down, lay it over the bottom of your ribcage.
3. Apply heat source over top of the flannel, and relax!
Written by Maddie Battle
Maddie Battle is a Holistic Nutritionist based in Vancouver, BC. Maddie is the owner of Natural Balance Wellness, her private practice where she specializes in women’s health and hormone balance. She can be found on Instagram @balancewithmaddie and www.naturalbalancenutrition.com
Find the best supplements for liver health and so much more at Vitarock. Shop with confidence, knowing all our wellness products have been pre-screened to be PURE, GREEN, SAFE, and FAIR. Founded by a fellow mom, Alicja is one of Canada’s most respected experts in natural product quality and safety.