Have you thought about your liver lately?
It’s truly an unsung hero when it comes to your health! It plays a role in nearly every vital function in your body. Yet for most of us, it’s incredibly overworked and receives very little TLC.
That’s why a safe and supportive liver detox is one of the most effective ways to improve your health.
Let’s examine why your liver deserves more glory and eight ways bolstering it can boost your well-being.
Love Your Liver, it’s Critical for Overall Health
Your liver is your largest internal organ and its number one job is to filter and flush out toxins. It uses a highly effective two-step process to do this that relies on several key amino acids, antioxidants, and nutrients.
However, your liver is a master multitasker and is also involved in over 500 other biological processes. These include storing nutrients, fighting infections, producing hormones, managing energy levels, balancing your blood sugar, and so much more.
When your liver is compromised, it affects virtually every other organ and system in your body!
Why Your Liver Needs Extra TLC
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by toxins in our modern environment, far more than our bodies were designed to handle. There are heavy metals in our air and water, xenoestrogens in our personal care products, herbicides and pesticides on our food, plastics virtually everywhere you look – the list goes on and on.
Our unprecedented exposure to toxins means our livers are working overtime to keep us safe.
Over time, this extra strain decreases liver function. Toxins build up and circulate through your bloodstream or get stored in fat cells. The numerous other processes the liver is involved in also suffer, leading to widespread dysfunction.
A Functional Medicine Approach to Liver Detox
In functional medicine, our goal is to restore your body’s natural optimal function. Your liver already has a wonderful system for eliminating toxins, we simply need to support it.
We do this by easing your toxic burden (fewer toxins in) and providing the nutrients your liver utilizes for the detoxification process (help flushing them out).
Note that this does NOT involve removing much-needed nutrients, as often happens with a juice cleanse or fad detox. Quite the opposite, we are increasing them.
- Eliminating toxic and inflammatory foods (sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy)
- Consuming plenty of antioxidants (vitamins C and E, selenium, green tea extract, etc.)
- Increasing glutathione and glutathione precursors and co-factors
- Peeing, pooping, and sweating regularly
- Replacing toxic personal care products
For a step-by-step detox with liver-supporting supplements, protein shakes, meal plans, check out the RootFix Paleo Detox kit.
8 Ways a Liver Detox Can Improve Your Health
Here’s what happens when your liver gets the rest and support it needs to function in tip top shape.
1. Increased Energy and Weight Loss
Your liver balances energy metabolism by converting glycogen (stored fat) into glucose (energy). In order to burn fat for fuel instead of storing it, your liver needs to function optimally. This is also key for maintaining energy throughout the day.
2. Improved Thyroid Function
Most of your thyroid hormones are converted from their inactive state (T4) to their active state (T3) in your liver. Poor liver function decreases this conversion and leads to excess estrogen, which increases thyroid-binding proteins and prevents thyroid hormones from getting into your cells.
3. Hormone Balance
Your liver is responsible for metabolizing estrogen and packaging it up to exit your body after you’ve used it. When this is impaired, estrogen dominance can occur, causing symptoms such as PMS, weight gain, and anxiety.
4. Relief from Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases develop when your immune system becomes overburdened by threats (including toxins!) and begins to misfire. Reducing toxin exposures and improving detoxification efficiency reduce the stress on your immune system and help stop its attack on your body.
5. Reduced Chemical Sensitivities
If you get a headache walking down the perfume aisle or react strongly to products like laundry detergent, these are examples of chemical sensitivities. They are often caused by an overburdened liver and can significantly improve or resolve by supporting detoxification.
6. Improved Cholesterol
An important liver function is to create and clear cholesterol from your body. Remember, cholesterol is necessary and beneficial, we just need the right type and balance. Improving liver health can help promote optimal cholesterol levels.
7. Clearer Skin
Skin issues are typically a manifestation of problems below the surface. When your liver is congested with toxins, it will eliminate them however it can, and that includes pushing them through your pores.
8. Reduced Brain Fog
Struggling to remember things or concentrate for long periods of time? When your liver is overworked, toxins accumulate in your bloodstream and make their way to your brain. This can cause brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and poor memory. Fortunately, these effects are temporary and resolve once toxins are appropriately filtered by your liver.
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.
Want to work with Dr. Osgood and the GrassRoots team? Become a patient in our West Lebanon, New Hampshire Functional Medicine clinic, our Burlington, Vermont Functional Medicine clinic, or our Austin, Texas Functional Medicine clinic!