|karma level 22935|
An interesting and useful article:
Many times when something goes awry inside of us, we get little warning signs that tell us something isn’t right.
Pain is the one most people think of. Pain is not normal —it’s a sign that your body is dealing with a challenge and cranking out inflammation as a result…and it would be wise to figure out exactly what that challenge is.
Gas, bloating and heartburn are pretty strong indicators that something’s not right with your digestion.
If your lips swell up and you break out in hives after eating a certain food, chances are excellent you’re allergic to it.
But sometimes the signs our bodies give us are more vague or barely noticeable …so we might not think that anything is terribly wrong, when the truth is something is VERY wrong.
This is especially true when it comes to your liver .
Unlike your other bodily systems and organs, your liver doesn’t always sound an alarm to alert you when there’s a problem.
You see, your liver can continue to function when as much as 70% of its capacity is lost! So many times people don’t even know they have a liver problem until it’s practically getting ready to shut down!
Let’s take a closer look at all your liver does for you, how you can tell if there’s a problem with yours, and how you can help keep your precious organ of detox in tip-top shape for years to come.
Crunch the numbers
When it's working properly, your humble 4-pound liver:
- Manufactures 13,000 different chemicals
- Maintains 2,000 internal enzyme systems Filters 100 gallons of blood daily
- Produces 1 quart of bile each day
- Stores up to 5-7 years of Vitamin B12, four years of Vitamin A and four months of Vitamin D
And much more.
As a matter of fact, your liver is SO busy that a Dean at a prestigious medical school was once quoted as saying, "I'd rather run all of the operations at General Motors for a day than be my own liver ."
That says it all, wouldn’t you say?
An impressive resume
Your liver performs more than 500 unique bodily functions that are ALL essential to life and health.
Here are four of the most critical :
1- The liver manufactures bile for the digestion of fats
In addition to breaking down fats, bile helps your body absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and turns beta-carotene into vitamin A.
Bile also is the "exit vehicle" for certain toxins that your liver filters out of your system. The toxin-drenched bile gets absorbed by fiber in your intestines and is escorted "out the door" when you have a bowel movement.
Now, if your liver isn't working right and bile secretion is low, toxins end up staying in there too long and they accumulate. As a result, your liver can actually become constipated just like your colon!
2- The liver makes & breaks down cholesterol, estrogen and testosterone
Most people are misinformed as to where cholesterol comes from.
Although you do get some cholesterol from food (animal fat), the bulk of it is made by your liver .
If your liver is working properly, it closely watches your cholesterol level. As such, when you take cholesterol in with your diet, your liver temporarily slows down its own production of cholesterol until more is needed.
So truly, the health of your liver is a HUGE indicator of whether you'll have a cholesterol problem and an increased risk of heart disease.
You don't hear about any of that in the statin ads on TV and in magazines.
And as far as hormones go, poor liver function can lead to hormone imbalances in both men and women.
Conditions such as PMS, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and cancer of the breast, ovaries and uterus are associated with elevated estrogen, and that can be the result of the liver not breaking down and eliminating old, worn out estrogen down like it should.
3- The liver helps control regulation of blood sugar
Your liver works with the pancreas and adrenal glands to regulate your blood sugar.
If too much sugar quickly floods the liver from your intestines (like when you eat refined carbohydrates or drink soda ), your liver converts the sugar to triglycerides --some of which are stored as fat and others put into your blood to be reconverted to glucose in your cells.
This cycle is crucial because it's the primary way the sugar you eat can be controlled and slowly released into your blood.
If your liver isn't carrying out this cycle properly, you are a candidate for chronic overproduction of insulin, Type 2 diabetes, increased fat storage and elevated cholesterol (otherwise known as obesity and a major heart disease risk).
4- The liver filters the blood and removes toxins
This is arguably the most important one of all.
About 2 quarts of blood pass through your liver EVERY SINGLE MINUTE for detoxification.
And this process is FAR more complex than you may think--it's not simple like pouring juice through a sieve to filter out the pulp.
Your liver actually has two different levels of detox action --Phase I and Phase II--and depending on what gunk is sailing through your blood, it knows which of the phases to use.
Phase I detoxification is when the liver's enzymes act on the toxins to break them apart into two or more harmless pieces. (This is how your body metabolizes caffeine .)
Another Phase I process is where the enzymes change the toxin so it can be dissolved in water. Then the liver passes it on to the kidneys so it can be put into your urine (and flow out of you).
But there is another more dangerous side of Phase I detox called " bioactivation ."
This is when the end result of the enzyme action in Phase I is not a harmless or water-soluble substance but instead is much MORE toxic than the original toxins were! This is when Phase II comes into play.
Phase II detoxification is when certain chemicals or molecules in your body (including some amino acids) are "handcuffed" to the toxin and "escort" it out of you through your urine or feces.
This is how heavy metals like mercury, aluminum and lead are detoxed.
Now, as long as your liver stays healthy, it can efficiently handle 99% of the toxins you take in before they enter your circulation and harm your tissues.
These include toxins such as coffee, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, pesticides and food additives.
It also includes the toxins that you CREATE inside -- namely, poorly digested food molecules that have seeped out of your intestines.
On the other hand, if your liver is NOT healthy, toxins will begin accumulating in your cells, tissues and organs.
And at that point, it's not a matter of IF but WHEN you will develop a disease .
Is everything OK in there?
So now you're probably thinking, " Gee, I wonder if my liver is OK ."
Since liver problems don’t always give you obvious symptoms right away, some people have livers that are functioning at only 25-30% of capacity and they are deluded into thinking that they're healthy, when in reality they're a walking time bomb!
Here is a quiz you can take to help see if there may be something going on with your organ of detox:
Take a Liver Health Quiz now
Answer the questions below using the following rating system for how often you experience each symptom:
- 0 = Never
- 1 = Sometimes
- 2 = Often
- 3 = Always
How often do you experience each of the following?
1. Intolerance to greasy foods
2. Foul smelling stools
3. Constipation; hard stools
4. Bitter taste in your mouth
5. Grayish skin or yellow in the whites of your eyes
6. Bad breath not related to a dental problem
7. Excessive body odor
8. Fatigue, sleepiness or headache after eating
9. Dry skin or hair
10. Pain in the right side of your abdomen
11. Water retention
12. Pain in big toes or pain that radiates along the outside of your leg
13. Blood in stools
14. Elevated blood cholesterol (over 200)
15. Elevated triglycerides (over 115)
Your total score: ____________
- Score of 0 - 2: Liver problems are probably not a concern for you
- Score of 3 - 6: Liver problems may be a concern for you
- Score of 7 or more: Liver problems are very likely a concern for you
If you suspect liver problems, it's important to see a doctor and have the necessary tests done ASAP.
But it doesn't stop there!
Because it's also crucial to look at what may be causing liver problems to begin with and how to minimize or prevent damage to what can arguably be called the most vital organ in your body.
Here are some things to consider:
Our poor livers are abused day in and day out.
Environmental pollution, prescription drugs, chemical food additives, chlorinated water, household chemicals and pesticides all dump loads of stress on our livers.
But the biggest abuser of your liver is very likely: YOU.
Yes, many people have habits that demand more and more of their humble, hard-working livers and they don't give it any help.
So many people live on fast food, junk food , drink too much alcohol and overuse prescription and OTC drugs .
And in between their daily coffees, lattes, sodas and G2s, they might squeeze in a few sips of water if they’re lucky. Maybe not.
They smoke , use recreational drugs and eat WAY too many refined carbohydrates and trans-fats.
Am I talking about you?
If so, listen up.
As you can see, your liver isn't something you can be without .
No liver = No you.
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