Consider your liver. You can’t live without it. While it normally weighs only three to four pounds it is a very complex organ.
What Does it Do?
It has a double circulation system. That means it receives blood from both the veins and the arteries. The main artery carries in plenty of oxygen from the lungs and the main vein comes directly from the small intestine full of nutrients. The liver performs over 500 functions. It serves as a digestive aid, it detoxifies food impurities, and it inspects nutrients before allowing them into the bloodstream. Further, it has the ability to be its own metabolic chemical plant to make new compounds you must have to live.
The liver also manufactures cholesterol. About two-thirds of the cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured by the liver; the other third comes from our diet. And while we must have some cholesterol for our bodies to function, the liver will usually produce enough and we compound problems if we add too much by allowing ourselves a high-fat diet.
The liver also stores glucose fuel in the form of glycogen. The body has a feedback system that between meals tells the liver to release more sugar to maintain the body’s energy level. The liver then converts either fat or glycogen into the simple sugar glucose.
Herbs for a Healthy Liver
There are a number of herbs that help to ensure a healthy liver. Alfalfa is an excellent source of vitamin K and a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to bleeding. The silymarin in milk thistle has been shown in scientific studies to repair and rejuvenate the liver. Fermented red rice extract is beneficial for those with high cholesterol as it inhibits the liver’s production of cholesterol. Other herbs that can be beneficial include barberry, black radish, burdock, dandelion, fennel, horsetail, Irish moss, red clover, rose hips, suma, thyme, and wild Oregon grape.
Vitamins for a Healthy Liver
Choline and inositol are B-vitamins that prevent scarring and help prevent cirrhosis and high cholesterol. And liver-healthy foods include red beets, almonds, bananas, blackstrap molasses, prunes, raisins, wheat and rice bran, kelp, beans, and seeds. Poor food choices include processed foods, junk food, refined white flour and white sugar foods. Keep the colon clean, regularly use an herbal detoxifying blend if you work in an environment that contains known toxins, and limit alcohol intake.
What Can Harm Your Liver?
Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease with which we’re all familiar. We associate it with heavy drinkers (and this is one real cause). It is a degenerative inflammatory disease that results in hardening and scarring of liver cells. What many of us don’t consider is that malnutrition and chronic inflammation can also lead to liver malfunction. All of its processes require vitamins, minerals, proteins (preferably from vegetable sources), amino acids and enzymes.
Overeating is probably the most common cause of liver malfunction. It creates excess work for the liver, resulting in liver fatigue. Since the liver must detoxify all of the various chemicals present in our food supply today, it is easily overworked and may not be able to keep up, leaving harmful substances in the body.
Stress is also a major contributor to a fatigued liver. Deliver your liver from stress by ensuring it has the proper nutrients and is sparred undue excesses of known toxins.
You only get one. Keep it healthy. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.
– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org