By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health
specialist, Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.
Picture your liver as a gigantic chemical factory. When it’s working optimally, it can cleanse about 99% of all bacteria and toxins that pass through the liver via blood. The liver is the second largest organ and the largest gland in the body. The liver is the organ responsible for handling the most tasks too.
The blood supply comes via the portal venous system, which transports the nutrients we have absorbed from our intestines. Via this connection, the liver can absorb the material that has been absorbed in the gut.
The liver has a myriad of functions, and I’m sure that all of the functions have yet to be discovered.
When the liver is damaged, its ability for detoxification is decreased. In cases of damaged liver, some of the most common symptoms are itchy skin, eczema, along with a feeling of itching under the skin. It is my experience that elderly people who come and complain about unbearable itching, can often be helped miraculously by supporting the liver.
Another symptom is allergy, that can be characterised by an intolerance to various foods.
Raw diet is often badly tolerated. If you suffer from a right-sided headache, this could possibly be due to a bad liver function.
Other symptoms of a damaged liver can be: blood sugar problems, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence.
Jaundice with yellow skin colour and yellow in the whites of the eyes as well as very dark urine is also due to a poor functioning liver.
Some of the livers most vital functions are:
- To produce bile, which goes from the liver cells through small canals to a large duct, known as the bile duct. The bile runs from the bile duct to the gallbladder, where it is stored until there is a need for the bile. When you have eaten, the gallbladder contracts and expels just the right amount of bile needed into the small intestine, where it takes part in the digestion of fat.
- It helps to regulate the blood sugar balance. It maintains the concentration of glucose and many other substances, as well as functioning as a sugar deposit.
- Detoxifies the toxins that are absorbed in the intestines, e.g. medicine, alcohol and other toxins.
- The liver breaks down hormones and depleted red blood cells, so that they don’t circulate more than they should in the blood.
- The liver also converts a large portion of the waste products excreted in the kidneys.
- Vitamin D activates the liver just as it does the kidneys.
- It is a deposit organ for vitamin A, iron, a few of the B-vitamins, fat and blood. If an acute need for blood occurs, the liver can deliver blood.
Try to eat organic food whenever possible. Good food habits ease digestion and thus aiding the liver’s work too.
The function of the liver is stimulated by eating bitter foods, e.g. endive, arugula, red radicchio, grapefruit, artichokes, radishes, beetroot, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, horseradish, ginger and dandelion. Eat sour things as well, but in smaller amounts. If your liver is weak, then perhaps you should avoid fermented foods for awhile, even though these are one of the current trends.
Avoid too much fatty foods and eat fried foods sparingly.
Be careful with sugar, cigarettes, meat, cheese, refined foods, milk and alcohol. Alcohol is poison for the liver, especially if we drink more than 1-2 units per day. If you are aware of your liver being sensitive, then choose lighter meats. Also, be careful with coffee and tea. There are delicious coffee alternatives available, e.g. from dandelion root or chicory/corn coffee. Drink plenty of water and tea from liver-friendly herbs. Tea from milk thistle is recommended, it doesn’t taste too good so blend it with other herbs. It can also be acquired in liquid or capsule form. Milk thistle can do miracles and is fantastic in regenerating the liver. It’s calculated that it has been used as a liver detoxification agent for more than 2000 years. It rebuilds liver tissue. It is best to take milk thistle before going to sleep.
Dandelion is another potent herb, that aids the liver in producing more bile. It’s especially suitable in cases of jaundice.
Liquorice root has liver-protecting properties, and is especially good is taken along with milk thistle. Curcuma (turmeric) is also good for the liver.
Reduce your intake of saturated fats, instead eat plenty of fatty fish and seeds.
Instead of getting your protein from meat, you could get it through, e.g. beans, chia seeds, quinoa, lentils, seeds and nuts.
It’s wise to ensure that your food is rich in various corn products, potatoes and all forms of vegetables such as beetroot, celery, broccoli, kale and green herbs.
The best fruits are blueberries, other berries and grapefruit.
Make it a habit to sprinkle lecithin on your breakfast, for example, with yoghurt, in smoothies or in fruit or vegetable salads. Lecithin is beneficial to the liver. It increases the healing process in the liver. It’s considered to be one of the most important agents for protecting a damaged liver. Choline is especially beneficial for the liver.
In cases of liver damage, it can be a good idea to only drink juice and soup once a week. This gives you the opportunity to focus on consuming liver-friendly herbs and vegetables.
If you smoke, stop or at least minimise it as much as you can.
Avoid heavily trafficked areas as much as possible. There are a lot of toxins in such places, and they can be harmful to your liver.
We often have a misperception that pollution is something found only outside, however, there are many harmful products inside our homes too. Take a look at the cleaning and washing articles you use. Opt for ones that are environmentally friendly. Be careful with your body care products. If they are filled with harmful toxins, then change them. Look around your home and choose natural products the next time you need to buy household items.
According to the Chinese organ clock, our liver works especially between 1 – 3 am. If your liver is weakened, then you may tend to wake up during these hours. If so, then you should think about being kind to your liver for a while.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. It’s a good and cheap way of keeping yourself healthy. The liver can detoxify more easily when we lie down and are relaxed.
The late Dr. A. Vogel, wrote in his book “The Liver”, a wonderful phrase that says: “If you do not have time to eat properly, you must take the time to be sick”. With liver problems as well as with any other health problems, prevention is more important than to cure.
Another wise piece of advice from the same A. Vogel, is: “Fill your tank with more oxygen than gasoline”, meaning that you must exercise outside in the fresh air every day.
Louise Hay opinion on liver problems. That it is often people who complain too much. Judging others and thereby fooling themselves. The feeling of misery. As a new thought pattern, she proposes to change the thought pattern to:
”I choose to live with an open mind. I search for love and find it everywhere”.
As always ensure you’re taking an easily absorbable multivitamin/mineral product. If you have an alcohol problem, as a result you may then have a vitamin/mineral deficiency, due to the condition often being linked to bad eating habits.
Take a good quality vitamin B complex, that contains all the vitamin B’s as well as choline. Each and every vitamin B has vital functions in our body, and they all work together. Therefore you should make sure that your product contains all of these.
Add 1 gram of vitamin C daily. Vitamin C protects the liver and “cleanses” the fat from it.
Vitamin E has been shown to be good together with vitamin C, and enhances liver functions in people suffering from a bad liver.
Take a daily supplement of omega-3 oils, either from good fish oils, linseed oil or other omega-3 rich sources.
Take at least 300 mg of Magnesium daily. If you have back pain, or trouble sleeping then you can double the dose.
Milk thistle is known as the best liver cleansing agent, and is available in capsule form
or as tincture. You can obtain it by itself or with other liver stimulating agents such as artichoke. Milk thistle contains silymarin, which mediates cell regeneration in the liver, and repairs damage from alcohol. Milk thistle can both heal and protect the liver. It aids in all weaknesses in the liver, such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases.
Alpha lipoic acid can work well with milk thistle. It’s a very potent antioxidant that protects the liver while strengthening the livers ability to detoxify the body.
Schizandra is a good supplement to combine with milk thistle. It has beneficial effect on liver health.
MSM, a sulfur, is also a good liver supplement.
The amino acids cysteine and methionine can be combined with MSM.
Dandelion, which we know is effective for good liver function is available as drops or in capsules.
Some studies on rats have shown that ginseng can have a protective effect on liver cancer. However, as far as I know, it’s only been tested on animals.
Selenium is a trace mineral that has strong antioxidant properties and can contribute in protecting the liver. Selenium is considered to help with fatty liver.
Fibre supplements can help with the reduction of fat in the liver.
Q10 is an important antioxidant that has a protective effect on a damaged liver. Q10 protects the mitochondria in the cells, in this way it helps the cellular energy.