It Could Be Your Liver
After getting a million messages on my Instagram on poor digestion, bloating, trouble digesting fats, acne and lack of energy I knew I had to discuss the liver sooner or later. It is sooner because my very beautiful friend Bec (aka. Wonderful mother to fairy, plant based baby Zig, aka. @themindfullivingmama) and I began talking about digestion, as we do, since we have both suffered so much from it and we came to the conclusion that many of our symptoms and troubles could indeed be related to a sluggish liver. We immediately agreed to take extra care of our livers and then, of course, we thought of all of you!
Here’s the thing, the liver might just be the most intricate and important organ in the body that performs over 500 vital functions! Meaning if the liver is out of whack you best believe many other things will be out of whack. Still, even with its long list of jobs I don’t think we take care of it enough or realize its importance. I think the liver craze was an 80’s trend that unfortunately died and now we have moved on to gut health and hormonal balance without understanding that it’s ALL LINKED. If your liver isn’t feeling the love it can affect your weight, your hormones and yes, your digestion! And the last two affect your skin! So I say lets get learning!
THE PHASES OF DETOXIFICATION
Your liver detoxes your body and does this through three phases but it’s easier to explain in two phases.
We’ll get a bit sciency for a quick second so that we can really understand the process and how we can support our liver through it.
In essence what the liver is trying to do is convert fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble waste that can be excreted via sweat, urine and bowel movements.
The liver breaks down toxins into smaller components using nutrients such as B vitamins (gluthathione and folic acid), vitamin C, Vitamin E, antioixdants and carotenoids that come from the yummy food you eat. These smaller components are now more toxic that what they were before they were broken down and they are called free radicals. These free radicals need to be taken out of the body as soon as possible so it’s important that phase 2 kicks in.
The free radicals will combine with selenium, sulfur and amino acids in the liver to become water-soluble and harmless.
Ideally, once your liver transforms these toxins from fat to water-soluble it will enter the gall baldder, mix with bile and then leave the body via the large intestine where it binds to fibre and exits through a bowel movement.
Uhmm... I don’t have a morning bowel movement
So if you don’t have a bowel movement after drinking a large glass of warm lemon water or if you NEED a cup of coffee to get things moving then I’m sorry to inform you that you are constipated.
You see, your liver foes into self-cleaning mode from 3pm to 3am, so your first bowel movement should happen soon after waking up because the liver has been working tirelessly for 12 hours to get rid of yesterdays waste.
WOW DIET IS REALLY IMPORTANT!
Yes, it always is. Learning about the phases of liver detoxification will quickly reveal how critical it is to have the right nutrition and to eat enough of those vitamins and minerals to support your liver so that it can work at it’s best because if you’re lacking the nutrients required for phase 2 then you risk exposing yourself to a greater amount of toxins that your liver helped create in phase 1.
WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH MY BLOATING?
Out of the many functions that the liver performs, one of them is producing bile which helps the digestion through the breakdown of fats. A sluggish, less effective liver can cause many digestive problems if it doesn’t produce enough bile. This might mean you get bloated easily, you suffer from constipation or you have an inability to digest fatty foods.
WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH MY HORMONAL ACNE?
Well, even though the liver doesn’t produce any hormones, it does in fact have an intimate relationship with them. The liver is in charge of breaking down and metabolizing any hormones that are no longer needed in the body. If you have a sluggish liver it wont be able to get rid of the hormonal waste efficiently and therefore these hormones will accumulate in the body and cause a hormonal imbalance! Hey PMS! Hey chin breakout! Hey! Hey! Hey!
The liver is in charge of breaking down steroid hormones which include aldosterone, the sex hormones and cortisone.
So, if aldosterone isn’t broken down efficiently it can lead to fluid retention and raise blood pressure.
If, estrogen, a sex hormone, isn’t broken down it can lead to heavy painful menstrual bleeding and weight gain.
If testosterone isn’t broken down, it can lead to weight gain in the abdomen, excessive facial and body hair, acne and greasy skin.
WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH MY WEIGHT?
In conjunction with the gallbladder, the liver works endlessly to help us excrete fatty substances including stored body fat.
If your liver can’t complete the phases of detoxification successfully the toxins get absorbed back into the bloodstream to recirculate and eventually to be stored in fat tissue. This makes it very hard to lose weight because your body knows that the fat tissue if toxic and that it can pollute the body and put it in danger. So, your fat keeps a hol of your toxins and your body keeps a hold on the fat.
The liver also guides other areas of metabolism, including cholesterol and estrogen which are very important for fat burn.
This means that when you go on a restrictive diet to lose those stubborn last pounds you could be potentially ignoring the root cause and therefore depriving your liver of essential nutrients that it needs to be able to detoxify properly and prevent yourself from losing that fat.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY LIVER IS UNHAPPY?
· Liver roll: an increased roll of fat high up under the bra of women, under the pectorals of men
· Bloating easily
· Trouble digesting fatty foods
· Inability to lose weight or unexplained weight gain
· Passing clots during menstruation
· Blotchy skin
· Episodes or feelings of intense anger
· Very short fuse or temper
· Overheating easily
· Floaters in your vision
· Elevated cholesterol
· Brain fog
· Intense sweet cravings
· Chronic bad breath
Of course if you are experiencing any or many of these and they prevent you from having a happy life PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE reach out for professional help.
MORE SEVERE SIGNS, A.K.A GO GET YOURSELF CHECKED UP ASAP
· Yellow skin, yellow eyes (jaundice)
· Persistent nausea
· Pale stool
· Dark, pungent urine
WE HAVE DECIDED TO TAKE EXTRA CARE OF OUR LIVERS THIS WEEK AND FOREVER (BUT WE'LL SHARE THIS WEEK WITH YOU)
Bec and I want to show our livers some much needed love and appreciation for all that it does, and also because yep, we have some of these symptoms (nothing life threatening, but yes slightly annoying).
We believe taking good care of our livers and giving it the nourishment it deserves might lead to greater overall health.
DAILY HABITS WE’RE COMMITTING TO
1. Meditation to ease stress
2. Moving in a way that supports us and gets us sweating
3. Working through our emotions (journaling, talking with a friend, talking with a professional)
4. Staying away from any liver loaders
5. Filling our plates with nourishing, liver-loving foods
6. Drinking herbal teas and tonics for that extra sign that you care
7. Sharing every bit of it with you!
WANT TO SEE WHAT WE GET UP TO NEXT WEEK?
We will be posting daily recipes and tips on our facebook support group here
This is about supporting ourselves and understanding the importance and impact that the addition of some simple actions and good, nutrient dense food can have on our lives. You can of course go do a three-day green juice cleanse, but in the end it’s consistency that matters most. It’s consistency that gets results. We want to be able to help our livers detox every single day of the year, and when we slip up or when we are simply enjoying some of life's greatest pleasures (that might not be your livers greatest pleasure) we can pick ourselves up and implement what we know and move forward!
Lets have a happy liver week!
And maybe even month!
And who knows, maybe it will be the happiest year our livers have experienced!
Love you lots,