How’s your liver? It’s probably one of the most important organs to your health, and it takes a pretty harsh beating in today’s world.
Positioned on the right side of your body and protected by your ribcage, your liver has multiple roles, from filtering waste products and toxins to metabolizing hormones, nutrients and medications. The liver is instrumental in fighting infections and protecting your other organs from toxicity. When there is an issue with your liver, it throws a wrench into multiple systems.
A sluggish liver can be the result of toxic overload, excessive alcohol abuse, a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle and even pharmaceuticals. Most medications are metabolized by an enzymatic pathway called the Cytochrome P450, which is in the liver. Overtaxing this pathway over time may lead to liver toxicity and failure.
Your body may provide you with signs that your liver isn’t working properly. These include:
If you notice extra fluid collecting in your ankles, legs and abdomen, this may be a sign that your liver isn’t working properly. Increased pressure may develop over time in the veins in your liver, which affects the production of albumin, an important protein that preserves the integrity of your vascular system. Without albumin, fluid leaks into tissues and results in edema. As liver damage progresses, fluid accumulation may intensify and bloat the entire body.
The shape and size of the liver may change. These changes may result in a larger organ that in turn increases the size of the abdomen. Advanced liver disease or cirrhosis can also lead to swelling within the abdominal cavity or ascites. This swelling is due to decreased proteins in the blood that cause fluid to leave the vessels and collect in the abdomen and other body cavities. It's also caused by increased pressure in the vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver.
Because of toxicity accumulating in the system, liver damage may result in skin issues. This may include acne, skin rashes or blotchiness that appears on the face, hands and feet. The liver helps metabolize hormones, so any liver issues have the ability to impact the skin due to these hormonal anomalies. Liver damage may also result in jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin as a result of bilirubin building up in the system. The whites of the eyes may look yellow, as well. Severe jaundice is usually indicative of advanced liver disease.
Changes in Urine and Feces
Liver damage may result in changes to the color of urine and feces as a result of the liver’s inability to metabolize bilirubin and effectively excrete it through the bowels. The body tries to find ways to re-navigate the bilirubin buildup in the system through other pathways, intuitively sending it to be excreted by the kidneys. Urine may appear much darker in color due to the buildup of bilirubin in the system, resulting in urine that is dark brown or tea colored. This is a clear sign of progressed liver failure and is considered a medical emergency. Stool may also change color. Since a healthy liver converts bilirubin to bile, which is excreted in stool, the color of feces will change if there is an issue with the liver. Stool may be lighter colored and pale. Someone with liver damage may also experience changes in bowel habits, either diarrhea or constipation.
Blood Circulation Issues
When the liver isn’t working properly, the body compensates for the damage by creating new blood vessels throughout the body to help bypass the liver, and this may result in further complications, such as systemic internal bleeding. This is more likely to occur if there is a blood clotting issue, which is common with liver damage since the liver produces clotting proteins. Reduced blood flow from liver disease may also lead to scarring in the blood vessels, resulting in additional pressure in the circulatory system. This increases the risk of the blood vessels rupturing and resulting in internal bleeding.
Brain Fog and Fatigue
A damaged liver will not be able to manage the burden of toxins presented upon the body, and as a result, toxicity accumulates and can affect the brain. This is called hepatic encephalopathy and is associated with brain fog, memory issues, confusion and extreme fatigue.
What Causes Liver Toxicity?
Liver damage may be the result of lifestyle choices, diet, pharmaceuticals, toxic overload, chronic illness, alcohol abuse and more. Even common and thought-to-be benign over the counter medications, such as Aspirin, ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, can cause damage to the liver. Frequently prescribed pharmaceuticals such as statins, antibiotics, antifungals and corticosteroids can accumulate and become toxic to the liver over time.
Testing for Liver Toxicity:
If you are concerned about the health or your liver or are taking multiple pharmaceuticals or have a history of alcohol abuse, you might want to get a simple blood test to check for increased liver enzymes, which will show if your liver is experiencing active damage. Detecting issues early can provide life-saving measures.
Natural Ways to Support Your Liver:
Eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower as well as leafy green vegetables and herbs (spinach, kale, dandelion leaf) can help naturally detoxify the liver. Dandelion, for example, is extremely bitter, and when you bite into the leaf, it releases a plant constituent known as taraxacin, which naturally stimulates bile secretion. This helps promote optimal digestion. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with glucoraphanin, which produces sulforaphane in the body, a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and is an internal bio weapon against pathogenic invaders, according to research.
Milk thistle extract (silymarin) can also provide liver support. In studies of participants with liver disease who were given milk thistle extract, liver damage and the resulting inflammation was significantly reduced.
Our Liposomal Liver Detox + contains milk thistle extract and other ingredients to support the liver during the detoxification process. It also contains co-factors important for optimal glutathione upregulation.
Fruit, such as grapes, also contain plant compounds that reduce inflammation, namely resveratrol. Resveratrol, as an antioxidant, has evidence of protective effects against ethanol-induced lipid peroxidation, toxicity by acetaminophen (APAP), and oxidative stress in animal models.
Research also demonstrates that green tea provides liver protection, helping with lipid metabolism, and thereby reducing the risk of fatty liver disease.
Our Nrf2 Boost opens detox pathways naturally and includes resveratrol and green tea extract as well as other ingredients to help promote optimal detoxification and antioxidant support.
Although all human cells are able to synthesize glutathione, the liver is where most glutathione in the body is located, emphasizing its importance in detoxification and reducing oxidative stress. Antioxidants are necessary for proper immune function, repairing cellular damage, warding off infections and assisting the body in detoxifying the effects of toxins, bacteria and other pathogens, radiation, pharmaceuticals and hence, reducing toxic load.
Our Glutathione GOLD contains Emothion, a patented form of s-acetyl glutathione, which is nearly as equivalent as IV glutathione. Being that s-acetyl glutathione surpasses stomach acid for greater absorption by the liver, this form has optimal bioavailability. Our Glutathione GOLD is available in three different strengthsm 100 mg, 200 mg and 300 mg.
What many people don’t know is that the liver is extremely malleable and is its own life force. It has the ability to regenerate if cut, burned or damaged by toxicity. In fact, provided at least 51% of the liver is intact, the organ can regenerate back to full size in about thirty days. It is the only organ with the ability to recreate itself. Pretty promising if you think about it!