What is Detoxification - Liver Focus
A Google search will see you scrolling through hundreds of 'detox' diets and protocols - many seem to promise quick fixes, dramatic weight loss, and eternal youth. There's also a large number of websites will tell you that detox diets don’t “work”, they are unnecessary and they may do more harm than good.
So just what is the TRUTH?
What actually is detoxification?
Maybe you have done or heard a friend say that "They are detoxing or following a detox diet" like it is something you have to actively do to yourself for it to occur.
Detoxification, is the body’s process of removing toxic substances.
Detoxification is not a food, or diet, or a pill - it is an ongoing, VITAL process that your body does (all on its own) in order to survive. It happens 24/7, 365 days of the year. Not just for a few days or weeks while a person “does a detox”.
The main detoxification organs are the liver and kidneys. The bowels and urinary tract are extensions of these organs as as the portals for waste to exit your body.
The skin (via sweat) and the lungs (via breathing/expelling CO2) are also considered detoxification organs.
All together, these organs are often referred to as detoxification pathways.
In basic terms: these are the pathways that toxins take to move through and exit your body.
The holistic approach to aiding the bodies already capable detoxification processes is to take a break or minimalize foods and beverages that are causing problems for your body; while adding foods, herbs and practices that will encourage these processes to function at optimum and enable healing to take place.
Detoxing your life of dangerous chemicals that are often in personal care products, perfumes, cleaning products and even toxic relationships is a very holistic way to remove harmful obstacles to your health.
Its not just what we put in, but also very much about what we don't!
In this article, I want to focus on the Liver's role in the detox process.
Your liver is one incredible organ. It is a master multi tasker - efficiently running over 500 different roles.
It is the ONLY organ that can regenerate itself! DId you know that more than half of your liver can be removed, and not only will it grow back to its original size, it will KEEP FUNCTIONING during the regenerative process. You are one master creation!!
Some of the major functions of the liver are:
Vitamin and mineral storage: The liver stores Vitamins A, D, E, K and B12. It keeps significant amounts of these vitamins stored; in some cases, years-worth of vitamins are held as a back-up.
Bile production: Bile helps the body break down and absorb fats, cholesterol, and some vitamins.
Don’t panic about the body absorbing cholesterol! Despite all the misconstrued information that “cholesterol is bad”, it is actually very important. Cholesterol is part of the makeup of our cells, our sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone), our steroid hormones which regulate inflammation, and is part of our immune response. We need good cholesterol!
Fat and carbohydrate metabolism: Bile breaks down fats to make them easier to digest and carbohydrates are processed to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Immune function: the liver contains high numbers of immune cells called Kupffer cells. These cells destroy any pathogens which enter the liver from the gut.
Detoxification: The liver constantly filters and removes compounds from the body. This includes toxins that our body produces as part of normal metabolism; pathogens like viruses and bacteria, cholesterol, hormones that our body excretes once it's used them eg. oestrogen, external toxins - alcohol, drugs, chemicals we encounter through food, breathing, personal care products and our environment.
Because the functions of your liver are so varied, it is easy to see how an sub-par liver could affect you in many different ways.
These are some of the signs that your liver needs extra support:
- Constipation - Diarrhoea after eating fatty foods - Fatigue, low energy - Feeling bloated or sluggish - Food intolerances/allergies - Headaches - High cholesterol - Irritable moods - in the old days we called this being "liverish" and in Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver
is related to anger - Liver and gallbladder diseases, yellowish skin and scelera (whites of the eyes) - Nausea - PMT, menopausal and hormonal issues
- Clots during your menstral cycle - Problems shifting weight
- A roll of fat at the bottom of your ribs 'Liver roll' - Skin problems such as acne, ezcema - Sleep disturbances, especially waking during the night between 1-3am
Some other reasons to show your liver some care are:
- Family or personal history of digestive issues, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalance, liver/gallbladder
disease - Your diet is often from processed foods - Taking pharmaceutical medication - many of which are hard on your liver
- Drinking alcohol regularly
- Drinking coffee multiple times per day - Toxin exposure - for example, working in an area with pesticide or herbicide spraying, chemical use at
work, travel etc
Some of these conditions are serious and should be monitored under the care of your health practitioner.
The liver’s main role in detoxification is to take toxins like the above, and change them into a form that is less harmful to the body or enable them to be excreted. Sometimes, this means that they need to change the toxin so it is water-soluble. Once it is water-soluble, the kidneys are called to action. But that is for another day....
In my experience supporting the Liver through inclusion of specific wholefoods, reduction of others plus the addition of plant based herbs does wonders for many of the above symptoms.
In New Plymouth on Sunday, 1st July I am joining the Yoga Space and Nicola Swanson, Naturopath and Medical Herbalist to provide a holistic workshop of practical natural treatments and advice not to mention yummy Liver Loving foods and tonics plus Yoga to really show you how you can Love your Liver and support your overall vitality.
To win a double pass (valued at $100) go to the Revitalize Me Facebook page and comment of the Love your Liver post as to whether you have done Dry July or a Detox before and Tag a buddy you would take to this workshop and you'll be in the draw.
The draw will be done on Sunday 17th at 5pm. If you decide you really want to go and purchase tickets beforehand, a full refund will be given.If you would like more information or tickets please go to https://www.revitalizeme.co.nz/product-page/love-your-liver-workshop
Hope to see you there!