How To Increase Liver Health – This Is Your Health

By Dr Ernst
October 8, 2022

 The liver can play a role in inflammation, leaky gut, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities and autoimmunity. Tending to liver function and liver detoxification is a vital part of functional medicine protocols to address chronic health issues.

   Liver detoxification involves making fat-soluble compounds water-soluble so they can be eliminated in urine, feces or sweat. The liver has two different detoxification pathways that make fat-soluble compounds water-soluble for elimination: Phase I and Phase II.

   The Phase I pathway changes the structure of the compound for the sole purpose of having molecules attached to it in the Phase II pathway to prepare it for elimination. Once molecules are added to the compound in Phase II, it is heavy and stable enough to be eliminated from the body safely. This is where the body uses complex transport mechanisms to eliminate the toxins from the body. All of these processes are dependent on the genes that control them working well and having the right nutrients in the right place at the right time. True detox is ensuring this complex process is able to happen efficiently.

   Medications can affect people differently. Just because you have a genetic predisposition does not necessarily mean that gene will express itself, but factors such as diet or lifestyle can trigger these genes. The detoxification pathways have also been shown to gradually lose integrity as we age. When a person’s liver Phase II pathway is hindered, two different possibilities exist. One is that an already inflammatory compound, such as an environmental toxin, is made more inflammatory in Phase I. The second possibility is that compounds that normally wouldn’t react with the immune system are metabolized into immune reactive compounds.

   It has become increasingly evident that peripheral organ-centered inflammatory diseases, including chronic inflammatory liver diseases, are associated with changes in the central nervous system and our behavior. These behavioral changes include: Fatigue, cognitive dysfunction or decline, general mood disorders and sleep disturbance. The problem is systemic inflammation, which is when the body is producing pro-inflammatory chemicals that infiltrate and impact other parts of your body.

   There are multiple causes of systemic inflammation including: Toxic load (chemicals in our environment), pathogenic load (bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections), dietary proteins (food sensitivities and allergies) and emotional/physical trauma (adverse childhood events, PTSD, etc.). One of the primary links between the liver and your brain is LPS or Lipopolysaccharides. LPS is primarily produced from bad bacteria in your body and to a lesser extent from various foods and chemicals we ingest or are exposed to.

   When a person’s liver Phase II pathway is hindered, three different possibilities exist. One is that an already inflammatory compound, such as an environmental toxin, is made more inflammatory in Phase I. The second possibility is that compounds that normally wouldn’t react with the immune system are metabolized into immune reactive compounds. The third possibility is “re-toxing” because of dysfunctions in your skin, digestive system and kidneys.

   The signs and symptoms of liver dysfunction are varied and may include the following: GI symptoms (constipation, nausea, bloating, flatulence); intolerance to fat, alcohol and caffeine; fatigue and lethargy; headaches/migraines; allergies and chemical sensitivities; PMS and other hormonal imbalances; blood sugar swings; halitosis and body odor; cloudy urine; visual disturbances; fluid retention; sinus congestion; skin disorders; and coating on tongue/swollen tongue.

   Benefits of a healthy liver include the following: Increased energy and weight loss; improved thyroid function; hormone balance; relief from autoimmune disease; reduced chemical sensitivities; improved cholesterol; clearer skin; and reduced brain fog.

   There are a number of steps you can take to minimize liver damage both short-term and long-term as well as introduce agents that aid in liver support/function. Here are a few dietary and environmental changes recommended in order to support your liver.

   Diet: Avoid high-calorie meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and sugars. Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish. Eat meat, but limit red meat and eat good fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and fish. Cruciferous vegetables, berries, soy, garlic and spices like turmeric.

   Dietary Intake: While certain foods support the body’s natural detoxification pathways, food-based toxicant exposures may contribute to poor health. Metallic compounds in seafood, pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables as well as some fried foods, and hormones found in many dairy products are examples. Limiting or eliminating certain foods to reduce the total intake of toxicants while consuming more fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients may support the liver and promote efficient biotransformation and elimination.

   Botanical Compounds: The following can be used to support the liver’s detoxification pathways for Phase I and Phase II. They include milk thistle seed extract, dandelion root extract, gotu kola extract, panax ginseng, L-glutathione, glycine, N-acetylcysteine and DL-methionine. Phase II support includes choline, trimethylglycine, MSM, beetroot and betaine HCI.

   Supplements and Nutrients: The following support liver detoxification: antioxidants; vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, bioflavonoids, zinc, selenium, n-acetyl cysteine, CoQ10 and curcumin; lipotropic factors; choline; methionine; carnitine; amino acids and B6, folate, B12.

   The following are some some good tips to help your liver be healthy: Stay hydrated (add juice of lemon to a glass of warm water first thing in the morning); eat high fiber foods (vegetables, chia seeds, flax seeds, psyllium, fruit); maintain healthy weight; exercise regularly; avoid toxins (limit direct contact from cheaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals and additives); use alcohol responsibly (talk to your doctor about what amount is right for you); avoid the use of illicit drugs; avoid contaminated needles; get medical care if you’re exposed to blood; don’t share personal hygiene items (razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers); practice safe sex; wash your hands; follow directions on all medications; and get vaccinated.

Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook