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Liver Health: Is Detox Really Possible?

Read in 11 mins
May 2, 2022
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Sahil GuptaGenesis Fitness Coach
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Despite people’s pervasive interest in ridding the body of toxins, many of us generally don’t do much for our liver in terms of everyday care. That’s a serious mistake, given everything that our liver does for us.On a daily basis, the two lobes of the shiny, smooth, saddle-shaped organ—which are separated by a band of connective tissue that anchors the liver to the abdominal cavity—perform an astonishing array of functions as part of its 24/7 job description.

ROLE AND FUNCTION OF THE LIVER

For starters, the liver serves as a highly complex chemical plant, inspection station, garbage disposal,and filtration system, all rolled into one. The liver filters out 1.4 litres of blood per minute. It converts ammonia, a toxic waste product that’s formed from processing dietary protein and nitrogen-containing compounds in the body, into urea so it can be excreted by the kidneys. The liver metabolizes drugs and alcohol and gets rid of the by-products that result from the breakdown of these substances. It removes bad bacteria and debris from the bloodstream, and it breaks down worn out or damaged blood cells.

DETOX FADS

It’s ironic: Some people go to great lengths to “detoxify” their body with cleanses, juice fasts, supercharged smoothies, raw food diets, special teas, and other unproven interventions. They swallow various herbs and supplements in an effort to purify their body from the inside out. They try to sweat out toxins in saunas, steam rooms, sweat lodges, and the like. When they do this, they feel that they’re being proactive about removing impurities from their body. Well, here’s a newsflash: These measures are of dubious benefit because the liver detoxifies the body naturally and automatically, just as a self-cleaning oven does. The key is to keep it in good working order.

THE FUNCTIONING AND LIVER HEALTH

Essentially, your liver—along with your lungs, your gastrointestinal tract, and your kidneys—is detoxifying your body every minute of every day, whether you’re awake or you’re asleep. No one is immune to the presence of internal (a.k.a. endogenous) toxins, such as metabolic waste products that are generated inside your body, or external (a.k.a. exogenous) toxins, such as pollutants, contaminants,pesticides, food additives, drugs, and alcohol. But having a strong, healthy liver, one that is well cared for and functions the way it should, makes the inherent detoxification process run smoothly and efficiently. If the liver health heads south, however, its ability to detoxify your body heads south,too, and no cleanse or juice fast or detox diet can make up for what you’ve lost with that failing organ.

When it comes to organ function, there’s often a synergy that’s a bit like a well-choreographed dance: if one organ isn’t working properly, it can throw the others out of step, too, causing the whole enterprise to function inefficiently. This is true of the liver. For example, the liver works with the kidneys to regulate blood pressure, and it also operates in conjunction with the pancreas and gallbladder to properly digest food; if the liver becomes the weak link in this chain, the whole digestive process suffers.That’s just one example of the potential domino effect that liver dysfunction can have.

Here’s a head-to-toe look at how the state of your liver can support or undermine the functionality of other major organs:

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IMPACT OF LIVER HEALTH ON OTHER ORGANS

YOUR BRAIN

When it comes to normal brain function, the liver may in fact be the most important organ due to its ability to remove toxins from the blood. When this doesn’t happen, the brain can suffer the consequences. For example, when the liver is damaged and can’t remove or neutralize toxins (such as ammonia) from the blood, the toxins can build up in the bloodstream and travel to the brain where they damage the nervous system. This can lead to hepatic encephalopathy, a loss of brain function; the symptoms can be as simple as mild confusion, mental fogginess, or changes in thinking abilities, or as severe as mental unresponsiveness, slurred speech and movement, loss of consciousness, and possibly even coma.

YOUR EYES

Few people think of the liver when an eye problem occurs, but in some cases, that may be the first place you should look. Several eye conditions can result from the liver’s inability to do its job. A condition called scleral icterus, which involves a yellowing of the white part of the eye, can develop if the liver becomes unable to process bilirubin (an orange yellow pigment that is formed in the liver by the breakdown of Haemoglobin and is excreted in bile). Yellowing of the eyes can also be a sign of jaundice,which occurs due to a build-up of bilirubin—and is sometimes one of the first major signs that things are not going well for your liver. Moreover, the liver helps with the metabolism and storage of vitamin A,which is critical for good vision and eye health.

YOUR THYROID GLAND

This tiny, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck is like command central for the metabolism,growth, and development of the human body, as well as the regulation of critical body functions.Research has found that people who have CIRRHOSIS of the liver have a greater incidence of an enlarged thyroid and that people with HEPATITIS are more likely to have abnormal results on thyroid function tests. Other thyroid disorders can go hand in hand with chronic liver diseases, as well; for example, hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is common in people who have autoimmune liver disease (which is why those who have autoimmune liver disease should get their thyroid function checked periodically).

YOUR HEART

Because the liver plays a major role in the storage and metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides(blood fats), it helps keep the veins and arteries that flow into and out of the heart healthy. If it weren’t for the liver’s ability to break down medications, alcohol, and caffeine, your heart rhythm could become irregular. In addition, research has found that people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are more likely to have heart disease, too, probably due to the fact that a dysfunctional liver increases the risk of metabolic syndrome (see box above).

YOUR BLOOD

Your blood relies on the liver to store fat-soluble vitamin K, which is needed for proper blood clotting; plus,the liver makes key proteins that are necessary for normal blood clotting.

YOUR KIDNEYS

When it comes to removing toxins from the body and preparing them for excretion, the kidney and the liver really do need each other, so it’s not surprising that when the liver becomes diseased, the kidney suffers as well. People who have hepatitis C, for example, have an increased risk of developing a chronic kidney condition called glomerulopathy, which affects the parts of the kidneys where waste products are filtered from the blood, thus compromising the kidneys’ overall ability to function. Meanwhile, those with chronic liver disease are more likely to have decreased blood flow to and through the kidneys.

YOUR BONES

The liver also helps your body absorb important vitamins and minerals—including calcium, phosphorus,and vitamin D—to keep your bones healthy, strong, and happy.

As you have read now, LIVER has an impact on ALL THE VITAL ORGANS of the body and hence it becomes, even more important to take care of the LIVER HEALTH.With a hefty list of responsibilities, the liver plays a vital and indispensable role in your body’s ability to function.

LIVER CARE

Unfortunately, through their lifestyle habits, many people place enormous amounts of pressure on their liver without considering the possibility that this vital organ could get fed up and shut down.

KEEP YOUR WEIGHT IN CHECK: Be watchful of your weight and try to follow a healthy lifestyle.Obesity and overweight generally leads to a Fatty Liver and even fatty liver disease.

KEEP FITNESS LIFESTYLE A PRIORITY: Incline towards a fitness lifestyle and be watchful of what you eat.

KEEP HYDRATED: This goes without saying. Ample water throughout the day is essential and beneficial.

BE CAREFUL OF TOXINS: Be careful of contact with toxins-cleaning and products with aerosols, insecticides, etc.

ALCOHOL IN MODERATION: Drink responsibly. Over consumption of alcohol can ruin your liver health.

LIMIT THE USE OF PAINKILLERS AND STRONG DRUGS (IF NOT NECESSARY)-Don’t rush to take
a painkiller on the slightest of discomfort or pain. Try managing with alternate therapies, and solutions. Overuse of the medicines, and drugs may also lead to a negative impact on the liver.

OTC MEDICINES: Many people are habitual of self-doctoring and consumption of OTC drugs(Over the counter medicines), for small problems. And mostly people don’t even pay attention to the contraindications, and the precautions that have to be taken.

UNSAFE NEEDLES ARE TO BE AVOIDED: Contaminated needles, any needle that has skin penetrations and injectables, you need to be very careful of administering them, and never allow used or contaminated needles.

MAINTAIN EXCELLENT PERSONAL HYGIENE: Whether it is washing face, and washing hands, or personal hygiene, you must be very careful about such habits.

Sahil Gupta

Sahil Gupta is a fitness coach with the best fitness program in the country-GENESIS. A well qualified trainer and sports nutritionist, Sahil has had various certifications and specializations. With his in-depth knowledge and expertise, he has been guiding and helping many people to achieve their fitness goals. A few of his certifications are: *CPR/AED Certified* *Resistance training specialist ( RTS level 1 ) ( U.S.A )* *Hormone and performance specialist* *Posture correction specialist* *Human biomechanics specialist* *Sports injury specialist* *Level 3 Strength system coach* *Level 3 Performance nutrition specialist*


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