Why is it that some people handle their “booze” well, while others can’t? Why does alcohol make you feel awesome while drinking it and then regretful and remorseful afterwards? How you feel is related to how well this “organ” functions. Do you want to know how to avoid a hangover?
Does your body need a service?
Do you enjoy a tasty glass of wine or a single shot of your favourite malt? If you do, you know that drinking too much can leave you feeling very sorry for yourself in the morning.
But it doesn’t stop with alcohol, food can also cause problems. Eating too much or eating late at night can make you feel tired and lethargic the next day. Eating like this can even cause pain, particularly pain behind the right shoulder blade.
All these symptoms may be a sign that your liver is struggling.
What does the liver do?
The liver has over 500 different functions in the body. The most relevant are:
- Creates energy from proteins and fats
- Stores energy for emergencies, so that you are always prepared
- Helps convert fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins so that the body can use them
- Aids in the transportation of nutrients and helps produce building blocks for the cells
- Regulates protein levels in the body
- Stores Iron, vitamins A, D and B12
- Acts as the first line of defence for toxic materials that enter the body
Liver check up 101
The liver also has super powers; it can lose almost three-quarters of its cells and still regenerate itself.
This amazing ability is dependent on the energy and nutrients available. If the liver is overworked this super power is dimished.
How do you know if your liver is working well? Click here to find out.
How did your liver score?
According to Dr Murray, in his book “Total Body Tune-up”, the symptoms addressed in this questionnaire are the result of a build-up of poisons or the failure of the liver to do its job.
For example, one function of the liver is to metabolise haemoglobin, the red pigment left over when red blood cells die. The pigment changes into a water soluble form and is then excreted in the bile.
If the liver is unable to keep up, the bilirubin build ups in the skin and other organs, such as the whites of the eyes (called jaundice).
Dark coloured or strong smelling urine can also signal that the filtration system is not working efficiently.
How does the liver work its magic?
So how does the liver remove these harmful substances, heavy metals and toxic chemicals? Let’s divide the process into to two main steps.
The liver uses over one hundred different enzymes to process toxins.
Different enzymes work on different toxins. Enzyme levels and activity vary from person to person. These differences are why some people get lung cancer from smoking while others don’t.
In the first phase there are three methods.
- Enzymes break apart the toxic molecules into harmless parts. Caffeine, for example, is broken down like this.
- Changing the molecules so that water can dissolve and extract them through the kidneys or the toxins can be attached to the bile in the liver and excreted in the feces.
- Transform the molecules into another form so other enzymes can break them down.
Signs your first phase isn’t working well.
- You can’t drink more than one or two drinks without getting very drunk
- Binge drinking – where you just can’t stop yourself
- One cup of coffee (a small dose of caffeine) keeps you up at night (an indication of an underactive phase 1)
- Coffee, no matter how much you drink, doesn’t affect you in the slightest (overactive phase 1)
- Liver disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Any illness or allergy from exposure to perfumes and environmental chemicals
Once these chemicals have been changed in phase 1, the body uses seven different methods in phase 2 to escort the toxins out of the body.
In this step, various compounds act like a police officer, handcuffing and escorting a criminal away from the crime scene.
Through the neutralisation of the toxins in this manner, they can no longer do any harm and will safely float around until their removal.
Three examples of these substances are:
- Glutathione which helps with heavy metal removal
- Glucuronidation which helps remove commonly prescribed medication
- Acetylation helps remove some antibiotics from the body
Signs your second phase isn’t working well
- React badly to sulphite food additives
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Asthma reactions after eating at restaurants
- Chemical sensitivity
- Strong odour from urine after eating asparagus
- Garlic makes you sick
- Gilbert’s syndrome
- Liver disease
- Prostate cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Toxaemia of pregnancy
- Yellow discoloration of eyes and skin not due to hepatitis
The timing of these two phases is paramount for healthy detoxification.
If phase 1 happens too quickly or too slowly, it will affect phase 2, causing problems in the process.
Useful supplements to help your liver
Getting the right building blocks to help support the production of these enzymes and making sure you get enough rest can assist the liver.
One of the most important proteins when it comes to cancer and ageing is Glutathione.
Its combination of detoxification and free radical protection make it a powerhouse, but the greater your exposure to toxins the more your body needs to produce.
People who suffer from inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and chronic diseases like diabetes, aids or cancer need more glutathione to prevent the cells from dying at a faster rate than healthier people.
Supplementing Glutathione with a supplement called TMG (Trimethylglycine) is an option. A woman can take up to 1000 mg per day, while men can take up tp 3000 mg.
Foods your liver loves (say that ten times fast)
While supplements may be necessary for some, eating a whole and natural food diet is just as important.
- Vegetables, fish and meat all help increase Glutathione.
- Asparagus, avocado, walnuts, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are especially helpful.
- Eating protein-rich foods, food rich in folic acids like green leafy vegetables and food that contain sufficient levels of B6 (grains and legumes) and B12 (animals products) all help liver detoxification.
Get plenty of sulphur from foods such as:
- Egg yolks
- Limonene rich food such as citrus (except grapefruit)
While your body has the amazing ability to regenerate you need to keep both phases 1 and 2 working properly. By following simple dietary steps, you can help your liver work at optimum efficiency.