The liver plays an essential role in protecting you.
Every day, your body is exposed to harmful chemicals. Your liver, kidneys, large intestine, lymphatic system, and sweat glands work together to reduce the buildup of these chemicals.
Of these organ systems, the liver plays one of the most significant roles. The liver performs hundreds of functions and is needed to process nutrients and hormones, and remove waste products created as the result of normal body functions. This process is called detoxification, or detox.
There are three phases of detoxification:
Phase I: The first phase of detoxification occurs mainly in the liver and helps to transform dangerous, fat-soluble molecules into less harmful intermediates products that will be easier to excrete.
Phase II: The conjugation process – the addition of a chemical group – to a by-product of phase I, making it water-soluble and, therefore, less harmful.
Phase III: The now water-soluble molecules are now moved out of your liver cells and then excreted through the kidneys and intestines through urine and bile.
Each phase is essential, and they all work together to assist the body in eliminating harmful elements.
Signs of poor detoxification function
Signs of poor detoxification are broad, including but not limited to: difficulty digesting fats, bad breath, acne, premenstrual cramping, hypoglycemia, environmental allergies, skin rashes, difficulty losing weight.
Supporting your liver
Your liver handles a lot of toxins. You need to detox these harmful compounds. And you need to keep them moving out of your liver and the rest of your body regularly to minimize their harmful effects.
If toxins pile up, it could lead to liver damage, as well as disease in other parts of your body. For example, toxins may contribute to obesity, cancer, and dementia. And they could be a factor in complex chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia.
You can do several things to help your liver with the three phases of detoxification.
TUDCA: This consists of water-soluble bile acids and is also known as tauroursodeoxycholic acid. Studies suggest TUDCA promotes bile secretion, which is essential to get rid of toxins. And when TUDCA is combined with NAC, carbon-based binders, and melatonin, it also helps support Phase 1 and Phase 2 detox.
Fiber: Some types of fiber you consume in foods may also help bind bile in your gut; fiber is another way to encourage toxin excretion in your stools.
Intestinal-moving herbs: Herbs such as aloe vera and ginger gently stimulate your gut to help prevent constipation. Ideally, you should move your bowels two or three times a day during your detox journey. That supports toxin elimination.
Good hydration: You need to consume enough water to support eliminating toxins through your urine and stools. Good hydration helps your kidneys work better. Being well-hydrated also helps reduce your risk of constipation.
If your liver detox is lagging or your drainage is backed up, you may feel unwell. Plus, you’ll be at an increased risk of chronic illness.
So, support liver detox with good nutrition and antioxidant-rich herbs.
Best foods for the liver
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring are good omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and might help reduce fatty liver disease.
Be sure to choose fish that is low in mercury to avoid further liver damage. If you don’t like fish, taking fish oil for fatty liver offers some of the same benefits.
Beets are rich in antioxidants, have anti-cancer properties, and help reduce liver enzymes and inflammation. Beet stalks and leaves also have similar health benefits.
Cruciferous Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, mustard, collard greens, bok choy, watercress, horseradish, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts support the liver’s ability to detoxify. These veggies have quercetin, which has been shown to have positive effects on the liver.
Be kind to your liver.