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The Liver - the Body's Hardworking Janitor

Simple tips for taking care of this vital hard working organ.

When one considers all of the incredible functions the liver performs in the body, one begins to understand why taking good care of this important organ can have a positive effect on overall health and vitality.  A healthy liver clears much of the bacteria and toxins from the body.  It plays a vital role in digestion and fat regulation, hormonal balance, detoxification and circulation.  Below is a breakdown of some of its many duties.

(AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE BUSY!)

  • Metabolizes protein, fats and carbohydrates, thus providing nutrients and energy
  • Creates bile, which breaks down fats
  • Stores fuel for the body in the form of glycogen, which readily converts to glucose (quick energy)
  • Metabolizes drugs and breaks down alcohol
  • Stores vitamins, minerals and sugar
  • Filters the blood and helps remove harmful chemicals and bacteria
  • Regulates the body's ability to clot
  • Helps assimilate and store fat-soluble vitamins such as A,E,D, and K (it can store enough vitamin A to supply an adult's needs for up to 4 years and enough vitamin D and B12 to last for 4 months!): stores copper and iron
  • Stores extra blood, which can be quickly released when needed
  • Helps maintain electrolyte and water levels
  • Creates immune substances, such as gamma globulin
  • Regulates levels of sexual hormones; manufactures estrogen and testosterone

7 KEYS TO OPTIMUM LIVER HEALTH

1. Eat a whole, natural diet consisting of a variety of high-quality fresh food.  Lower your fat intake and eat less refined cooked oils and fats.

2. Reset the digestive system whenever possible.  Don't eat too late at night or too early in the morning.  Don't eat when not hungry, and never overeat.

3. Liver flushes and drinking lemon water keep the liver moisturized and free flowing.

4. Keep the eliminative channels open and free.  Exercise to eliminate toxins via the lungs and skin, and try to keep your bowels moving regularly.

5. Massage the liver area (right upper quadrant of the abdomen) at least once a day to help remove congestion.

6. Try to release emotions (such as worry and anger) in a constructive way.  These emotions cause the release of hormones such as cortisol that affect multiple processes in the body.  It is thought that these emotions can get "stuck" in the liver and prevent it from doing its best job.

7. Antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, zinc, and selenium protect against toxins.

8. Avoid or, at the very least, reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated beverages. 

9. If you do drink, and wake up with a hangover, do NOT reach for a bottle of tylenol or like medication.  Acetominophen and alcohol have been reported to shut down the liver...as in, permanently...as in, requiring a liver transplant.  It has happened with as little as one beer and one tylenol.  The combination of alcohol and certain medications places an enormous amount of stress on the liver as it attempts to clear the blood of toxins.  Instead of medication, drink plenty of water, take Vitamin B Complex, and have a nice soothing bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup to restore your fluids, depleted B vitamins and electrolytes.

10. Stop smoking - or better yet - never start.  You must know by now with all the warnings on the labels that the lungs are not the only thing affected by smoking.  With all of the toxins and carcinogenic chemicals in cigarettes, cigars, and chew, the liver has to do a fairly large task of clearing the blood.  Over time, cigarettes can damage your liver, too.  But your lungs or heart may just stop working for you before your liver ever gets the chance to tell you to stop smoking.

Remember to be smart when it comes to your health!  And don't forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about how you can improve your physical condition and outlook for longevity, talk to us.

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