The Liver

Detoxification

The liver is the most important organ in detoxification, as it is the body's premier cleansing organ. All the blood in the body passes through the liver, which removes toxins, impurities, and debris from the bloodstream.Normal Liver

The liver stores fat-soluble substances; these can include chemicals, which can be stored in the liver for years. Using enzymes, the liver transforms these chemicals into water-soluble substances that can be excreted though the kidneys or the gastrointestinal tract.

Hormones are metabolized by the liver. Estrogen produced by the body and from hormone replacement therapies is broken down. If estrogen is not adequately processed, excess estrogen can result in endometriosis; high blood pressure; PMS; and breast, uterine, and vaginal cancer.

The liver also manufactures bile to digest fats; chemically changes many foods into vitamins and enzymes; converts carbohydrates and proteins into glucose for brain fuel and glycogen for muscular energy; and stores nutrients to be secreted as needed by the body to build and maintain cells.

If the liver cannot perform these jobs well, you may exhibit a number of symptoms. These include gas; constipation; a feeling of fullness; loss of appetite; nausea after fatty meals; an oily taste in the mouth; revulsion to fatty foods; frequent headaches not related to stress; weak ligaments, tendons, and muscles; skin problems; and emotional excesses.

What Can Affect the Liver?

Briefly put, living. What you eat, where you live, and what you do all can affect the liver's performance. If you consume a lot of processed foods, the additives can eventually affect the liver. If you live in an area that is highly polluted, exposure to chemicals in the air and water affects the liver. All of this can hurt the liver's performance.

An impaired liver does not process food or detoxify substances as rapidly or as completely as a healthy liver. If the liver is not producing enough bile, it cannot adequately digest fats. If the liver is detoxifying more slowly than it should, it can result in more toxic substances circulating in the body.

If toxins continue to accumulate, the liver may not be able to work fast enough to clean the blood. It is like being on a treadmill that is going a little too fast: try as you might, you cannot go forward, but instead are swept back into greater toxicity. Instead of being converted into something useful or being eliminated, toxins remain unchanged. They are eventually stored in fatty body tissue and in the cells of the brain and central nervous system. The stored toxins may be slowly released to recirculate in the blood, contributing to many chronic illnesses.

What Do We Do About a Toxic Liver?

Whatever you do, you should do the best you can to take care of your liver. You'll feel better for it.


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