Thursday, February 7, 2013

Love your liver

The liver is your largest internal organ and is a vital one with many functions including changing food into energy and cleaning alcohol and other poisons from the blood. Your liver also makes bile, a yellowish-green liquid that helps with digestion and produces 80% of the cholesterol in your body. As such it is necessary for survival and there is currently no way to compensate for absence of liver function. Your liver has so many vital functions if your body was a car then you could consider your liver to be the engine.

It may be a sign that your Liver needs support if you experience any of the following:

  • Allergies - sinusitis, hay fever, asthma, dermatitis, hives, etc.
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Cellulite
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Coated tongue
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Haemmorhoids
  • Hayfever
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowel
  • Itchy skin
  • Psoriasis
  • Reflux
  • Skin rashes & inflammations
  • Sneezing
  • Sugar cravings
  • Excessive sweating

There are over 100 liver diseases but your liver has a remarkable ability to repair itself and create new healthy liver tissue. Damage from liver diseases such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, fatty liver disease, and alcohol-related liver disease can be repaired, but when the onslaught of poisons is too prolonged and too great, the liver will succumb. Liver disease is currently one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S.

Maintaining a healthy liver can be broadly broken down into two steps. Firstly there are things to avoid or carefully manage such as poisons that can affect the liver and secondly there are lifestyle and diet related measures which give your liver everything it needs to perform.

How to avoid damaging your liver

According to the American Liver Foundation there are 5 categories of substances to be careful of regarding liver health and function.


Alcohol is a poison, it can damage or destroy liver cells. Consuming too much alcohol can cause the liver to swell and lead to cirrhosis which is scarring of the liver tissue and cause poor liver function. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink is the best way to avoid this.


Medications can have harmful side effects related to the liver, particularly when taken incorrectly in terms of dosage or mixing or taking the wrong type. As there are so many types of medication and medication interactions, learning more about any medicines you take and how they affect your liver is your best defence. Also mixing alcohol and medicines can harm your liver even if they are not taken at the same time.


Chemicals from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, paints, and additives in cigarettes must all be removed from your bloodstream by the Liver . It is best to limit your direct contact with these substances as they can injure liver cells.

Chemicals can enter your bloodstream via your skin and your lungs so it pays to wear protective clothing and a mask when you are exposed to them.

Viruses and Pathogens (Personal Hygiene )

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can be spread when someone does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom and then touches something that you eat.

Excess Fats

Fatty liver disease can be caused through obesity, so here is yet another reason to limit your intake of sugars, empty calories and high GI foods.

Measure your stomach! Run a tape measure around your fully relaxed stomach. If this measurement is not less than 50% of your height it can indicate you are overweight. You can also use a Body Mass Index calculator like the one found on the Weight Watchers website, a BMI over 25 is considered to indicate being overweight and over 30 is generally considered very overweight.

Eat Healthy foods to support your liver

As mentioned earlier your liver has a remarkable ability to repair itself, but there are some lifestyle choices and nutrients which can support your liver and help it to repair damage caused by chemicals, alcohol, medication, viruses and excess fats.

As is often our message the best way to support an organ’s ability to repair itself is to create a healthy environment for it with regular exercise and a healthy diet which includes all the food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, milk, and oils in balance.

There are some foods which are recognised as particularly useful in supporting the liver and promoting detoxification in your liver.

Garlic is a wonderful food with many health benefits and the sulphur compound called allicin which is produced when garlic is chopped, or chewed is the part which is particularly useful for your liver to help in detoxification. Articles like this one from Disabled World are worth reading to learn more about the many benefits of garlic.

Beets are used to help blood purification and clean up heavy metals

Cruciferous Vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage also help in detoxification of the liver and contain chemicals which can help neutralise some toxins.

Lemons when freshly squeezed in the morning can help cleanse the liver and promote bile production.

Bitter greens like rocket, chicory and endive all help the liver to promote bile production.

Fruits high in antioxidants such as prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples and pears can help fight free radicals. Free radicals can build up as your liver goes through the normal process of detoxification and antioxidants are useful to help defend the liver and help clean up these harmful free radicals.

Supplementing your diet with Healthy herbs that support your liver

You can further optimise your diet with dietary supplements which offer more concentrated food sourced compounds that have been specifically selected for their liver supporting properties.

Milk Thistle Seed: Contains some of the most potent liver protecting substances known. Prevents free radical damage by acting as an antioxidant, protecting the liver. Also stimulates the production of new liver cells and prevents formation of damaging leukotrienes. Protects the kidneys. Good for all liver disorders, such as jaundice and hepatitis. Also beneficial for psoriasis.

Dandelion Root: Has a significant cleansing effect on the liver by stimulating the production of bile, which ultimately results in increased transport of a variety of potentially noxious compounds to the stool. This makes it useful for people with sluggish liver function due to alcohol abuse or poor diet. Good for cirrhosis of the liver, fluid retention, hepatitis, jaundice and rheumatism. Cleanses the liver and bloodstream and increases the production of bile. Improves functioning of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen and stomach. Used as a diuretic and digestive aid.

Mandrake Root: Is a strong glandular stimulant. It is used for treatment of chronic liver diseases, skin problems, bile flow, digestion and eliminating obstructions. Is often combined with supporting herbs to regulate liver and bowels, for uterine disorders and intermittent fevers.

Blessed Thistle: Heals the liver. Increases appetite and stomach secretions. Alleviates
inflammation, improves circulation and purifies the blood. Stimulates bile production in the liver.

Uva Ursi Leaf: Acts as a diuretic and helps disorders of the liver, spleen, pancreas, and small intestine.

You will find all of the above and 14 other herbs that were personally selected and synergistically blended by the herbal genius Jim Strauss, in his Liver capsules.


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