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Liver Health

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Suporting Liver Health

Great overall health cannot be achieved without a healthy liver. The liver is responsible for hormone production, protein synthesis, the production of digestive biochemicals, and detoxification. When your liver is under stress, it does not process hormones as effectively and cannot properly detoxify the body, which in turn compromises your entire health. The liver also helps to regulate the utilization of sugars, fats, and amino acids and a diet high in refined sugars will preoccupy the liver to such an extent that it will be unable to effectively regulate the use of fats and amino acids.

Supporting your liver

The first thing you can do to support your liver is to avoid eating the things that damage it:

• Avoid liver stressors such as hydrogenated oils and trans fats.
• Avoid toxins such as petroleum-based cleaners or cosmetics
• Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs
• Avoid foods with added sugars (glucose, fructose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, cane juice, etc.)

Another good way to support the function of your liver is with bitters, which are a group of vegetables with a characteristic bitter taste. They work by increasing the production of bile by the liver, which is one of the main ways the liver detoxifies hormones. Eating some of the following bitters on a daily basis can greatly improve the health of your liver:

• Arugula
• Beet greens
• Watercress
• Endive
• Kale
• Mustard greens
• Radicchio
• Swiss chard
• Juice from half of an organic lemon in warm water each morning

There are many other different herbs and supplements that support, enhance, and protect the liver. For the best results, it is good to consult with an herbalist or naturopath for guidance in using herbs.

Effective pro-liver herbs and supplements include:

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum):
Milk Thistle has the ability to regenerate liver cells and protect the liver against damage from organochlorine, hormones, and free radicals. Herbalists often recommend using a tincture of dried or fresh seeds. Fresh seeds may also be ground and used as a condiment.

Dandelion Root and Leaf (Taraxacum radix and folium):
Dandelion is an excellent, gentle liver tonic rich in minerals that works well in conjunction with Burdock and Milk Thistle. Besides providing direct support of the liver, dandelion also stimulates hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and bile secretion and the root of the plant helps to stabilize blood sugar. If you pick your own dandelion root, be sure to collect it from an area well away from roads that has not been sprayed with chemicals.

Lecithin is an excellent source of phosphatidylcholine, phosphtidylserine, and phosphatidylinositol, which are all important components of cell membranes and help to maintain cell integrity, keeping wastes out and nutrients in. Lecithin also protects the liver against free radical damage and aids the detoxification process. As an added bonus, lecithin is also important for neurological health.

Please consult with a qualified health care practitioner before taking any herbs or supplemets for your liver.

Recommended Reading:

The Liver Cleansing Diet

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