Our liver is a major organ of the human body and is crucial for a wide range of functions, ranging from: bile production, energy storage, cholesterol production, protein synthesis and many more!
One key function that you may already be aware of is detoxification via the removal of toxins. We are exposed to toxins in our environment daily (think of pollution and even household chemical load), but additionally we need to process internal chemicals in the body such as stress hormones (i.e., cortisol). Many Western diets include high amounts of sugars, trans-fats, and processed foods. Unfortunately, these drastically increase inflammatory chemical production in the body, placing additional burdens on the liver detoxification pathways. Some people also have genetic polymorphisms impacting on their detoxification ability, meaning that we want to support hepatic enzyme processes as best we can. The phases of liver detoxification pathways are covered extensively in all courses offered at the Hippocratic Institute. Grasping a key understanding of how they work create transferable skills into clinical settings.
Symptoms such as: chronic fatigue, bloating, flatulence, constipation, anxiety, depression, sweating, allergies etc. Can be an indication that your liver is functioning sub-optimally and that additional support is needed. If we have impaired liver function, health cannot be optimised to its full advantage due to the vital functions the liver carries out.
What can we do nutritionally to support our liver?
A few simpler steps can include:
- Removing key inflammatory food triggers. Instead of processed food options, refined sugary sweets/drinks and hydrogenated oils/trans-fats opt for other options that are not going to trigger off an inflammation cascade. Food prep in advance, increase vegetable intake and filtered water intake (2L/d is considered optimum). For instance, fresh lemon water can support toxin removal and cruciferous vegetables and bitter foods (i.e., dandelion herbal teas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage) have been shown to support detoxication enzyme processes (which we know are key for liver function)!
- Another key factor is to make sure the elimination pathways are working properly (by that I mean regular bowel movements at least once daily), if these are compromised, this is an area to work on nutritionally. If we are not eliminating efficiently then we can for instance recycle spent hormones and recirculate toxins in the body, putting even more stress on the liver.
- Other lifestyle elements to consider would be reducing your alcohol intake, because the liver must break down and metabolise this substance. We want to reduce pressures on our liver, not add to them.
I could write so much more here about liver health and how vastly interlinked this organ can be with symptomology expression and health. There are some other targeted supplements and techniques that can be used to support liver health, these are very individualised.
I hope you have enjoyed a little snapshot into how phenomenal this organ is and how important it is to look after it!
NT Dip CNM, BA Hons, mBANT