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Our Liver, the Gatekeeper

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

The liver can be the root cause of many health conditions and diseases. It's the largest internal organ and the primary gatekeeper in our bodies. It acts like a filter to remove toxins, assists with digestion and regulates hormones and blood sugar. It actually performs over 500 functions in the body. Fascinating!


Toxins come into our bodies from our environment, from our food, water and air or are made in our body in the form of excess hormones, neurotransmitters and other metabolic waste. It's our liver that breaks down and metabolizers these toxins.


The liver maintains hormone balance. Too much of a hormone, like estrogen (or estrogen dominance) can be due to poor liver detoxification. We have excess estrogen coming in from the outside from plastics, bisphenol A (or BPA) found on receipts, in the lining of canned foods, and can be found in many of our meats and dairy products from added chemicals and growth hormones given to the animals we eat. All of which can impair the detox pathways. Oh no!


The liver has 3 main roles in the body. It filters blood, detoxifies waste and aids in digestion by secreting bile. This is important because it can get clogged and cause problems. You probably wouldn't think the liver plays a role in weight loss, right? But it does!


Regarding digestion, the liver produces enzymes and hormones required for metabolism. These enzymes break down the food then are absorbed into your bloodstream to feed your cells. When you eat your body receives a lot of fuel. A healthy liver stores excess energy in the form of glycogen and triglycerides. If the liver gets too overloaded with too many triglycerides there's no room for glycogen and you need glycogen to effectively burn triglycerides. Too many triglycerides will clog the liver. [1]


If the liver is clogged, then get's more fuel from another meal - it will get stored as fat. Bottom line, when the liver is too overloaded to be able to store fuel it creates a slow metabolism, increases body fat and, can cause disease. [1]


Bile is also produced in the liver cells and is one of the most important functions of this organ. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and when we eat it passes through the bile duct. It contains bile salts which emulsify fats and break them down into fatty acids to be absorbed into the gut. Bile salts help reduce inflammation of the bile ducts and helps to relieve gas and bloating which helps with gallbladder function. Bile is also the carrier to remove many toxic compounds and cholesterol out of the body. [3] Low bile salts can impair fat utilization, cause acid indigestion and a build up of toxins. [1]


One of my favorite things to keep the liver functioning properly is to drink Dandy Blend dandelion- tea. Dandelion is a natural treatment to help optimize your liver health and has been frequently used to prevent or treat different liver diseases. [2] Dandy Blend contains chicoric acid, which is found in chicory. It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and analgesic properties.



Some of the benefits of dandelion are as follows:

  • Helps with bile production

  • Helps your body regulate blood sugar

  • It contains vitamin B6 which can help stabilize your hormones

  • Keeps your bones healthy as it contains vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and vitamins A and C (which will help to remove toxins as its an antioxidant!)

  • It will help clean out your colon

  • Its a natural diuretic

  • It helps to reduce bad cholesterol in your blood

  • It lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood which will clear out blockages in your veins that may otherwise result in an increase in blood pressure.















References:

  1. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/metabolic.html

  2. Pfingstgraf IO, Taulescu M, Pop RM, Orăsan R, Vlase L, Uifalean A, Todea D, Alexescu T, Toma C, Pârvu AE. Protective Effects of Taraxacum officinale L. (Dandelion) Root Extract in Experimental Acute on Chronic Liver Failure. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 24;10(4):504. doi: 10.3390/antiox10040504. PMID: 33804908; PMCID: PMC8063808.

  3. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/bile.html









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