The Versatile Liver
How to Heal Liver Disease Naturally
The liver is truly an amazing organ. One of the things that make the liver so unique is its ability to regenerate liver tissue following a loss of liver mass - much like a gecko can regrow its tail. The liver is located on the right side of the body, strategically placed in close proximity to the digestive system. This location allows the liver to function as a biochemical defense against toxic chemicals entering the body through the digestive system, while also providing a filter for the vascular system.
The liver takes in toxins from the foods we eat and drink, from the air we breathe and from the chemicals we absorb through the skin. These toxins are then neutralized and the blood is filtered before it is sent on to the rest of the body. Without this ability to filter out toxins, we cannot survive.
We live in a period of time when we are virtually bombarded with toxins, more than ever before in human history. In addition to environmental toxins, we are also exposed to viruses and bacteria that act as toxins within the body. Moreover, toxic heavy metals within our bodies oxidize over time, creating an additional threat to our health and wellbeing. If we want to stay healthy, it is imperative that we learn how to help the liver detox.
The Versatile Liver – The Heart
The liver processes everything that enters the body, neutralizing anything harmful – pharmaceuticals, pesticides, heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, plastic, chlorine, fluoride, hair products and cosmetics. Whatever the liver cannot convert into something safer, it stores deep within itself, keeping our other organs safe from contamination. Over time, the toxins that enter the body accumulate and create a toxic liver, causing a long list of complications, such as weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Imagine a pool of water with a filter and a pump. The liver is like that filter, and the heart acts as the pump. When our liver gets clogged with toxins and fat, the heart needs to pump extra hard. Once the liver becomes overloaded, it starts to release dirty and thick blood into the body, putting an additional strain on the heart. A stagnant liver is the culprit behind high blood pressure and other vascular diseases. This situation is often diagnosed as a pre-fatty liver that can develop into a fatty liver. At this point the liver will often become scarred and damaged, further impairing proper liver functions. One of the reasons antioxidants are so important is that they can heal this damage deep within the liver and prevent further deterioration.
The Versatile Liver – The Liver-Pancreas-Adrenal Connection
Our bodies run on glucose. When discussing glucose or sugar, we’re not referring to table sugar, corn syrup or processed foods. The glucose we need comes from healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, fruits, and raw honey. The liver is the organ that is entrusted with storing these vital sugar reserves, to be used when we’ve gone too many hours without eating.
When we eat our blood-sugar levels rise and our pancreas secretes insulin which helps usher glucose out of the bloodstream and into our cells. When we skip meals or go for a few hours without eating, blood-sugar begins to drop. When this happens, our body uses the liver’s glucose storage to maintain a steady blood-sugar level. When the liver is burdened with toxins and fat, it cannot store and release the glucose as it should. When this happens, the adrenals take over by producing hormones to compensate for the lack in glucose. This situation is often a precursor to Diabetes and/or Adrenal Fatigue.
In addition to storing glucose, our liver works together with the pancreas to process the fat coming from the foods we eat. To do this the liver produces bile and the pancreas produces lipase which work together to break down and digest the fat. If we eat too much fatty food, this fat accumulates in the liver, which in turn inhibits the ability to create enough bile, placing a heavy demand on the pancreas.
The adrenals also work hard to help us digest fatty foods by producing adrenaline, which increases digestive strength and helps move fat through the gut. Adrenaline is an important yet very corrosive hormone, and the large amount of adrenaline needed to help digest the fat can harm the pancreas and reduce its ability to produce enough insulin, which leads to high blood-sugar levels. In addition to all this, high blood fat levels can prevent glucose from entering cells, creating insulin resistance.
When our body’s glucose reserves run low, as a replacement for the lack of healthy sugars, the body will begin to hoard fat. The less fruit we eat the more fat the body needs to keep us going. This is why those who watch their calorie intake closely often fail to lose weight. This also explains why diabetics, who cut down on fruits while continuing to eat dairy and other animal products high in fat, aren’t able to maintain good blood sugar levels.
It is important to understand that although table sugar, artificial sweeteners, and unhealthy carbohydrates are not good for us., the sugar in fruits and starchy vegetables are essential for good health. By eating more fruits and vegetables we support the liver, pancreas and adrenals, thus resolving weight loss issues, diabetes and adrenal fatigue.
The Versatile Liver – Minerals and Vitamins
Another important function of the liver is to store nutrients, vitamins and minerals, saving them for a rainy day. When we receive a diagnosis that we have a mineral or vitamin deficiency, it is an indication that our liver is having trouble storing these vital substances.
The Versatile Liver – Skin Health
The liver plays an important role in determining skin health. The more toxic the liver, the more likely we are to develop skin related issues, such as wrinkles and dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis. A liver which is overloaded with toxins and unfavorable material affects the skin by setting the stage for potential problems.
In order to improve the quality of our skin, our liver needs a steady supply of beta-carotene rich foods found in the colorful vegetables such as: leafy greens, spinach, mangos, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes, and berries. The liver takes in the carotene, labels it and slightly changes it so that it can make its way to the derma. When we eat a lot of these foods, our skin emulates a healthy glow. The cleaner the liver, the better we look.
The Versatile Liver –Cholesterol and Deep Vein Thrombosis
Most of the cholesterol in our body is produced by the liver and intestines. Cholesterol is vital to our health and well-being, however, the wrong type or too much cholesterol can cause health issues. The type of fat we eat will determine the type of cholesterol we have in our bodies. A diagnosis of high cholesterol is an indication that we have a sluggish liver, overburdened with toxins, fat and viral debris.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep within the body. This can be very scary for many, and rightfully so. Like high cholesterol, DVT is also caused by a sluggish or stagnant liver, and can be avoided with the right type of diet.
Another contributing factor to high cholesterol and DVT is chronic dehydration, which creates thick blood. Animal protein and products are high are high in fats, and is more dehydrating than other foods. When we have thick blood the oxygen circulating throughout the body is lowered, and our body cannot properly detox.
To help your liver bring down the level of cholesterol, and prevent clots from forming, it’s important to lower your intake of animal protein and fats. If you’re a vegan - lower your consumption of nuts, seeds and oils. Canola, soy and corn oil are all extremely hard on the body and should be avoided as much as possible.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will speed up the healing process, preventing high cholesterol and clots from forming. If you are willing, a period of time without any or very minimal fat, like in the 28-Day Healing Cleanse can be very helpful. This diet creates maximum change within a minimal amount of time.
If you are concerned about DVT, cardamom tea can also be very helpful. Cardamom contains several compounds that helps prevent blood clots from forming in the blood stream. To make cardamom tea, place 4 pods in 2 cups of water and simmer for 30 minutes. Cinnamon, ginger or cloves can be added for additional health benefits. You can sweeten the tea with raw honey if desired.
Supporting and Healing the Liver Naturally
No matter how damaged the liver is, it has an amazing ability to regenerate and heal. By following these recommendations, we can heal the liver.
- Take B12 that has both methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Adenosylcobalamin is the co-enzyme that supports the liver.
- Eat lots of oranges and other fruits high in vitamin C. Broccoli also is a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C stops and reverses scar tissue in the liver.
- Ingest fresh dandelion leaves and stems, which are a great wild food. The bitterness of these leaves and stems is what gently purges and massages the liver, awakening the immune system to help flush the poisons out, even if all we eat is one leaf.
- Take artichokes seriously; they should be considered medicine. Artichokes are filled with phytochemicals, amino acids, minerals and vitamins that nourish the liver, spleen, pancreas, brain, adrenal and thyroid. They are an ideal food for people with diabetes and other blood sugar imbalances.
- Include berries in your diet. All berries are rich in antioxidants that heals scarring while helping to restore the glucose reserves.
- Kale gently cleanses the liver while its anti-inflammatory compounds help destroy viruses. The bioavailable phytochemicals in kale help to stimulate cell growth and the production of healthy new tissue.
- Spinach is a great source of healthy protein, as well as a good provider of a wealth of nutrients and healing properties, making spinach an incredible food for gallbladder and liver health.
- Butternut squash is a great carbohydrate filled with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, phytochemicals, nutrients, antioxidants, and trace minerals.
- Asparagus contains phytochemical compounds such as chlorophyll and lutein that act as critical organ cleansers, scrubbing out the toxins found in the liver.
- Apples, particularly red apples, are a powerful anti-inflammatory food which plays a critical role in reducing the viral and bacterial load in the body.
- Grapes have ancient healing power and should not be feared as fruit containing too much sugar. The phytochemicals in grapes are able to dislodge debris that comes from eating processed food and by-products, which has accumulated in the lobules of the liver.
- Burdock root, dandelion root, nettle leaf, and raspberry leaf are all important healing teas and should be used daily for liver support.
- Alpha Lipolic Acid (ALA) is a great supplement to incorporate in your daily regime. This antioxidant helps the liver regenerate and restore itself.
The more we incorporate these foods, herbs and supplement on a regular basis, the quicker we will be on our way to repairing and healing liver disease as well as accompanying diseases. When seeking to support the liver, we also need to re-think our fat intake. Fats are an important part of our diet, and there are lots of good healthy fats that we should eat such as avocado, nuts and lean grass fed meat. However, if you think you have a liver condition, cut back on all fats, even healthy fats.
The spiritual side of the liver
Our liver resides on the right side of the body, placed within the solar plexus. Our cosmic self and ego reside within this area of the body. When our right side of the body is well balanced we experience expansion that leads to exploration and development, using the “masculine” qualities of: benevolence, generosity, an open heart and inspiration. When the right side of the body is not well balanced we will experience a lack of focus and self worth, pettiness, addictions and tyranny. We often find it hard to let go of negativity and judgment, which is just as toxic to the body as the physical toxins found in foods and the environment. Our beliefs and emotions are reflected in every single choice we make. When we have destructive beliefs or low self esteem, we subconsciously seek out foods and substances that reflect this state of mind.
As we learn to become more aware of our inner self and resolve the issues that create inner discord, we are able to make better choices - and this leads to a healthier lifestyle and healthier body. This is a process of awakening – awakening to essence and meaning, awakening to our cosmic self that exists beyond our limiting belief systems and perceptions. As we join hands with those who have already embarked upon this path of awakening, connecting with those who have resolved these issues within themselves, we can use their solutions to lighten our burden and assist us in making aquantum leap.
As we move forward on our path of healing and transformation, we generate not only more compassion for ourselves, but we also create a more compassionate and loving environment for all.
Let the light in,
Information in this article is based on Anthony William's work | Healing your Liver
For more information on liver regeneration | NCBI - The National Center for Biotechnology Information