The quick answer? Probably. Don’t get me wrong. The liver is an amazing organ and has the ability to continue doing all of its required 500+ jobs even when it isn’t perfectly healthy and strong. But, at the same time, we have ONE liver and those 500 processes are absolutely critical to live, so we all could use to give it a bit of love from time to time!
The liver has some super important jobs to do to keep us healthy, including maintaining blood sugar levels, breaking down fats to be used for metabolic activity, converting and eliminating hormones, and detoxifying the blood of harmful substances, viruses, and bacteria.
Let’s take a closer look at that last one…DETOXIFICATION.
First and foremost, why do we need the detoxification process anyways?
Because our cells need a clean house to thrive.
Let’s take this down to a cellular level. The point of detoxification is to remove the obstacles that are keeping your cells from doing their best work. Each cell in your body is designed to keep you well, as long as it has the right balance of nutrients and a clean environment. When these needs are not met, illness and disease set in. Eating an unbalanced, processed foods diet, along with unhealthy lifestyle habits, the excessive amount of environmental toxins, plus the overconsumption of alcohol and dangerous medications, and it can be too much for the liver to bear. The liver can no longer keep a clean house for the cells to maintain function. This leads to a mass of underperforming cells within your body.
In a normal detoxification cycle, the blood flows to the liver where toxins are taken out, broken down, neutralized, and reassembled so the body can eliminate them without harm. The liver also creates bile which is like a river that gathers all of these toxins and shuttles them away to be eliminated properly. So, we need a properly functioning liver and a healthy bile flow to make sure all toxins are escorted out of our body, as intended.
Where things go wrong? Because of the lifestyle, environmental contaminants, medications, and diets that most of us are exposed to in today’s world, the liver can easily become overburdened, sluggish, and slow at many of its duties, including this detoxification process. Our current 2015 lifestyle just gives it SO much to do that it gets overloaded.
What can happen if we continue to neglect our liver?
While a liver that is a tad sluggish may not seem like a big deal right now, it has the ability to turn into a much more serious health issue down the road. So, as with most other health protocols I recommend, a liver detox is a preventative measure. It is something we do with the knowledge that it will help us live healthier, happier, and possibly even longer. In the short term, an overworked liver can cause health annoyances such as digestive distress in the form of bloating, pain, gas, indigestion, diarrhea, and/or constipation, headaches, foggy thinking, skin breakouts, joint pain, weak muscles, and irritability.
But, as this situation continues, things can get much worse! Check out this list of conditions that could develop as a result of toxicity issues:
- Autoimmune disease
- Neurological disease
- Bowel disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Kidney disease
- Liver disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
How do you know if your liver is overburdened?
Still not convinced your liver needs some love? Take this test to find out!
Think about your day in the life:
- Is it common for you to feel unhappy?
- Do you have frequent mood swings?
- Do you have trouble focusing, thinking clearly, or forming thoughts?
- Are you overly tired, even after a good night’s sleep?
- Do you get exhausted by normal life activities?
Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions:
- Is your skin, dull, pale, gray or yellowish?
- Does your skin seem loose and flabby?
- Do you have regular breakouts, blemishes, or dark spots?
- Do you have dark circles under your eyes?
- Are there bags under your eyes?
- Are your eyes bloodshot?
Now, stick out your tongue and answer these questions of it:
- Is it swollen? (indicated by teeth indentations along the edges)
- Does it appear flat?
- Is it coated with yellow, gray, or white film?
Think about how you feel after a meal:
- Do you frequently suffer from heartburn and indigestion?
- Do you get bloated after eating?
- Do you have excessive gas with a strong odor?
- Are you intolerant to certain foods?
Let’s head into the bathroom now.
- Do you have fewer than one bowel movement per day?
- Are your stools loose and unformed?
- Do you have undigested food in your stool?
- Does your stool float or look greasy?
- Do they have a strong odor?
- Is your urine dark yellow, frothy, or have an offensive odor?
Now, think about your physical body:
- Do you wake up with joint pain?
- Do your joints hurt during or after exercise?
- Do you have a protruding belly?
- Are your nails ridged, split, weak, or spotted with white deposits?
If you answered yes to ANY of these, a Love Your Liver month may be just what you need to start feeling awesome again!
This post has some great ways to immediately start loving your liver. This is my current monthly challenge and it has motivated me to get more people involved and on the road to a healthy liver. In the next blog post, I will discuss why these action items work and other things you can do for optimal liver health. Stay tuned!