When thinking about the role of the liver, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is damage control after a night of celebratory beverages. While processing alcohol and clearing the body of toxins are major roles, our liver is responsible for so much more. In fact, this powerhouse organ works tirelessly to regulate energy levels, stabilise blood sugars, and detoxify the blood. When the liver is under stress, we will see the body clear toxins in other ways, ie. increased fat storage and/or skin breakouts.
This being said, supporting the liver is one of the most important ways to take care of our bodies, improve energy levels and support overall health. The increased need to support the liver is not necessarily because we’re consciously putting more toxins into our bodies, but because we are inevitably exposed to so many more in our environment these days. Everything from food additives and sweeteners, to cleaning products and environmental pollutants can contain substances which can load the liver. The cumulative effect of these products from your average day can give the liver quite a hefty workload!
The effects of an overworked liver include feeling sluggish, holding on to weight, poor sleep, irritable, poor skin, and the list goes on. The liver is central to our digestion and overall health – when the liver suffers, many other body systems suffer! But don’t worry – the liver is unique in that it’s able to regenerate itself when given the opportunity. Here are our top tips to get your liver back to full strength:
- Clean up your diet. Increase your intake of nutrient-rich wholefoods, in particular colourful vegetables as this will help nourish and support the liver. Reduce processed sugars and grains as much as possible as these increase the liver load.
- Support liver detox pathways by getting adequate protein. Oxidative stress is a natural by-product of detoxification. In order to counteract oxidative stress, the body must have adequate antioxidants. One of the body’s strongest antioxidants is glutathione – which is made from amino acids: glutamine, glycine and cysteine. In order to support the production of this antioxidant, we must have adequate protein to supply these amino acids.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These substances place higher stress on the liver, leaving less resources available to detox other things. It’s a good idea to have a little break from these every now and then to give the liver a chance to rest and restore.
- Consider a herbal supplement such as milk thistle and dandelion. These herbs may help improve liver function by supporting antioxidant levels, detoxification pathways, and/or liver cell regeneration.
- Ensure you’re getting enough minerals. Micronutrients such as minerals are very important to support biochemical reactions in the body, many of which are carried out in the liver. Selenium in particular, is required to produce glutathione. A good quality multivitamin or mineral supplement is a great way to support efficient liver detoxification and overall health.
- Limit exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible. Switch to natural beauty and cleaning products so that you’re not exposing yourself to chemicals which place an added stress on our liver.
Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for educational purposes only. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat any health concerns you may have. This information is not intended to replace the advice given to you by a qualified health professional. Get in contact with a Tonic Health consultant or a relevant health professional if you need guidance on your individual health journey.