Your liver is the main organ of detoxification in your body. Your liver sorts all the waste and toxic chemicals that get into your system and filters them out. By chemically decomposing toxins, your liver turns these wastes into a liquid that is eliminated through your sweat, urine or stools.
Many factors can slow the liver’s ability to function at its best. If you eat a diet containing fats and chemical preservatives, makes the liver work harder. When you consume too much alcohol, you are exposed to a lot of environmental toxins, such as pesticides, or have a major hormone imbalance, your liver may not be able to keep up. Other factors like as aging and exposure to heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, can all slow the liver’s detoxification process.
Additional toxins that your liver might not process are stored in fat cells and tissues in an attempt to safely remove them from your bloodstream where they could cause serious serious damage. When highly toxic substances, especially heavy metals, remain in the liver and other tissues, it can lead to unpleasant symptoms and eventually disease. For example, heavy metals that accumulate in fat and tissue can lead to dysfunction in the brain.
When the liver becomes sluggish
The symptoms that show up can be difficult to relate directly to liver problems. For example, premenstrual discomfort can come from too much of the circulating estrogen hormone in the blood, which occurs when your liver is not breaking down the excess.
The liver has two ways for detoxification:
Toxins, which are a toxic substance that can cause cell damage, are first taken on by Phase 1 of liver detoxification, and this phase involves the use of enzymes to transform these lipid-soluble toxins into less harmful substances that Phase 2 can now handle.
Phase 2 of liver detoxification involves pairing these battered up toxins with other molecules which increase their water-solubility so that they can be safely removed from the body by the means of elimination.
When the liver becomes sluggish, the toxins are no longer able to leave the body and are instead stored in adipose tissue (since they are lipid-soluble) and they will hang out there until liver function improves and cannot be safely eliminated. This can be an important factor in why you aren’t shedding extra weight even with a healthy diet and exercise. There are various symptoms of a depleted liver, regardless of the degree of symptoms, and by taking holistic approaches and preventative steps, you have the ability to improve liver function and improve quality of life (because you deserve to feel good).
If your liver is overloaded and stressed, symptoms may show up as:
- Chronic fatigue or lethargy
- Negative Emotions
- Difficulty in concentrating (brain fog), reoccurring headaches, irritability
- Dull Headaches Improved with Rest or Headaches/Migraines Behind Eyes
- Chronic Joint or Muscle Pain
- Excessive Perspiration
- Problems with digestion including poor absorption of nutrients, bloating, and constipation
- Difficulty with blood sugar
- Rashes and other skin problems, including brownish spots appearing on the skin, often called “liver spots”
- Gas, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, Constipation, Diarrhea
- Hormones being off-balance including premenstrual complaints that are worse than usual
- Anxiety and Depression
- Chemical Sensitivities
- Wakefulness at night between 2 – 4 am
- Unexplained Weight Gain
- Difficulty losing weight, despite dieting
- Dark circles under the eyes and low energy
Because the liver is responsible for filtering the cholesterol out of your blood, ensuring your liver is clean decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The liver eliminates toxins, poisons, and waste from your blood. When the liver becomes congested with toxins, they have nowhere else to go but back into the bloodstream where they can affect cell growth, including cancer cells.
It’s amazing that your liver is the only internal organ that is naturally capable of regenerating its own damaged tissue. Although this testifies to the healing power of the human body, there are limitations to the abuse that your liver can handle. There are some things you can do to assist your liver when it is stressed.
Below you have a list that we recommend for a complete liver cleanse, including herbs, food, and next steps.
Herbs Specific for the Liver
One of the key products in any liver cleansing program is a combination of specially selected herbs that stimulates your body to heal damaged liver cells, strengthens the liver’s ability to provide vital functions and promotes leaching of waste from the liver and gall bladder.
Milk Thistle seed, dandelion root, burdock root, gentian root, parsley root are some of the traditional herbs that have been proven to enhance liver function. Various properties are extracted from herbs, depending on whether they are concentrated in alcohol or in water infusions. We recommend using in formulas that are alcohol-extracted and made into a hot herbal tea for a full range of benefits.
Our liver cleansing concentrate comes in the form of a liquid tincture and is drunk throughout the day while cleansing your liver to target areas that need support for healthier liver work. We recommend putting the concentrate in the liver cleanse tea to get the full effect from the herbs. The herbs in this tea stimulate, purify and protect the liver and gallbladder while making an unfriendly environment for any parasites that might be living in those systems. In addition, this tea smells great and tastes great, and can be used as a wonderful substitute for coffee or black tea!
Best foods for the liver
There are certain foods with a well-earned reputation for supporting and cleansing the liver. Adding any of the following to your daily diet will provide additional nutritional support for this cleansing program.
Fresh lemon juice is the best food to help your liver make more enzymes. Fresh juice has a chemical structure very similar to many of the body’s own digestive enzymes, so it is great at providing raw materials for the production of liver enzymes. As an antioxidant, lemon juice can act and stabilize free radicals that are released into the bloodstream during digestion. Antiseptic, it also helps to neutralize harmful bacteria.
Beets and beet tops are excellent for toning and rebuilding the liver. Beets are the richest food source of betaine a natural liver detoxifier and bile thinner. They also increase the liver’s efficiency in processing fats. Beets are good sources of easily assimilable iron, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Shredded raw beets combined with a little lemon juice daily make a fantastic liver support dish. Beets can be boiled, roasted, grated raw or steamed in the salad, or juiced with other vegetables.
Turmeric is a strong antioxidant spice that protects the liver and aids in liver regeneration. Use it in sauces, stir fry, on vegetables and in stews and soups.
Garlic activates liver enzymes responsible for absorbing nutrients and cleansing waste and toxins in liver tissue. Selenium and allicin in garlic are vital for the liver to function properly. Garlic also contains the amino acid methionine that aids the liver by cleansing pollutants through the urine.
Leafy green vegetables such as burdock, kale and collards, and broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals that the liver needs to produce enzymes for the detoxification process.
Avocado supply the liver with antioxidant glutathione, which it uses in detoxification and for the repair of its own liver tissue
Artichoke stimulates bile and contains antioxidants that help protect the liver.
Apples Gallstones can form from too much cholesterol in your bile, causing it to solidify. Pectin in apples contains a highly soluble fiber which binds with fat and cholesterol. Pectin also helps to bind heavy metals, thus lightening the load on the liver for their detoxification.