With today’s fast paced society & processed foods I see more & more clients with a sluggish liver & liver disease. The liver is one of the vital organs in the human body, responsible for various functions. The liver is a crucial part of the digestive system & is located on the right side of the upper abdomen. The primary function of the liver is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body.
The liver carries out many functions:
- Absorbing & metabolising bilirubin: The breakdown of haemoglobin forms bilirubin. The liver or bone marrow stores iron released from haemoglobin, which makes the next generation of blood cells.
- Supporting blood clots: Vitamin K is necessary to create coagulants that help clot the blood. Bile is essential for vitamin K absorption & forms in the liver. The liver must produce enough bile to make clotting factors.
- Fat metabolisation: Bile breaks down fats and makes them easier to digest.
- Metabolising carbohydrates: The liver stores carbohydrates. The body can break down stored carbohydrates in the liver, known as glycogen, into glucose. Glucose, or sugar, is released into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels and for a quick burst of energy.
- Vitamin & mineral storage: The liver stores fat- soluble vitamins, known as vitamins A, D, E, K, & B12. It keeps significant amounts of these vitamins stored. The liver stores iron from haemoglobin in the form of ferritin, ready to make new red blood cells. The liver also stores & releases copper.
- Helps metabolize proteins: Bile helps break down proteins for digestion.
- Filters the blood: The liver filters & removes compounds from the body, including hormones, such as estrogen, aldosterone & compounds from outside the body, including alcohol & other drugs.
- Immunological function: The liver is part of the mononuclear phagocyte system. Cells involved in immune activity, Kupffer cells, are found in high numbers in the liver. These cells destroy disease-causing viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms that might enter the liver through the gut.
- Production of albumin: Albumin is the most common protein in blood serum. It transports fatty acids & steroid hormones to help support the correct pressure & prevent the leaking of blood vessels.
- Synthesis of angiotensinogen: This hormone raises blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels when alerted by production of an enzyme called renin in the kidneys.
The liver plays a crucial role in many other organs’ health & when it is not functioning correctly, it can lead to a range of health issues.
Health issues associated with liver dysfunction:
- Cirrhosis – A condition in which there is long-term damage to the liver. Scar tissue forms in the liver, which can eventually lead to liver failure.
- Hepatitis – An inflammation of the liver caused by different viruses such as hepatitis A, B, and C. It can lead to liver damage, liver failure & even liver cancer.
- Fatty liver disease. – A condition in which excess fat builds up in the liver, leading to liver inflammation, which can eventually cause liver damage
Improving liver function:
- Eat a healthy diet- A healthy diet is crucial for overall health & it also plays a significant role in maintaining liver health. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins & healthy fats can help reduce the risk of liver disease. It is also essential to limit processed foods and foods high in sugar & saturated fat, as they can increase the risk of liver damage. https://www.nutritionalhealthenterprises.com/health-benefits-of-a-mediterranean-diet/
- Maintain a healthy weight- Obesity is a significant risk factor for liver disease & can increase the risk of liver damage. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise & a healthy diet is crucial for ensuring optimal liver function.
- Reduce alcohol consumption- Alcohol can cause liver damage & can lead to liver disease over time. Reducing alcohol consumption or quitting altogether can help improve liver function & reduce the risk of liver damage.
- Stay hydrated- Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health & it can also help improve liver function. Staying hydrated can help flush out toxins from the liver & prevent dehydration, which can cause liver damage. https://www.nutritionalhealthenterprises.com/why-we-need-to-drink-water/
- On rising drink 2 cups warm filtered water with 1/2 lemon squeezed in each – Kickstarts liver, gallbladder & digestion
- Get regular exercise- Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health & can also help improve liver function. Exercise can help reduce the risk of liver disease & improve the liver’s ability to metabolize nutrients
A sluggish liver can be a warning sign of liver dysfunction.
Common signs of a Sluggish liver:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Poor digestion – Such as constipation, diarrhea & bloating
- Skin problems such as acne, eczema & psoriasis
- Fatigued liver can also affect our mood & mental health
The liver is responsible for regulating hormones in the body & when it is not functioning correctly, it can lead to imbalances in hormones such as estrogen & testosterone. These imbalances can lead to mood swings, anxiety & depression.
Herbs & vegetables beneficial to a sluggish liver:
- Milk thistle- Is a herb known for its liver-protective properties. It contains silymarin, a compound that helps protect liver cells from damage & promotes liver regeneration.
- Turmeric- Has been shown to have anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties. It can help protect liver cells from damage. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548561/
- Dandelion root – Has long been used as a natural remedy for liver problems. It can help stimulate bile production.
- Green tea – Is rich in antioxidants & has been shown to have liver-protective properties. It can help reduce liver inflammation.
- Artichoke – Known for its liver-protective properties. It can help stimulate bile production.
- Beetroot juice – Contains antioxidants and compounds that can help improve liver function. It can also help detoxify the liver & improve bile flow.
- Garlic – Has anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties & can help improve liver function. It can also help reduce liver inflammation & prevent liver damage.
Supplements to improve a sluggish liver:
- NAC https://www.nutritionalhealthenterprises.com/n-acetylcysteine-nac/
- Vitamin C
It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any natural treatments for a sluggish liver. Natural remedies may interact with medications or supplements & in some cases, may not be suitable for certain individuals.
In addition to natural treatments for a liver, following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol consumption, staying hydrated & getting regular exercise are all essential for improving liver function & promoting overall health.
By taking care of our liver, we can ensure that it continues to function optimally and help us maintain good health.
All content & media on the Natural Therapy Clinic is created & published online for informational purposes only.