Yes, I have a liver. I trust that you have a liver, as well
Are you talking about that liver? Or the kind we eat? Or that some of us eat, anyway—with varying degrees of excitement.
Talk about a polarizing question: do you like liver?
Which liver are we talking about here?
I have a few questions to tackle today:
How important is my liver for my health?
What should I be doing to support it?
What does eating liver have to do with it?
Do I need to do a liver detox?
I invite you to put your hand on your liver. It’s time to take a moment to consider The Liver.
Where even is it?
Mainly the right side. Whether you are left- or right-handed, your liver hangs out just under your ribcage with the lion’s share (no pun intended) on the right side of your body. It crosses over your midline and tapers to almost nothing by the middle of the left side of your ribs.
It weighs in at a good 3-4 pounds (1400g for smaller people-1800g for larger) and is 3-4 inches long (7-10.5 cm).
What the heck does it do?
We know it has something to do with alcohol. We hear about fatty liver and cirrhosis and we may joke about heavy drinkers’ livers. But what does the thing actually do—besides getting drunk when we do?
Only about 500 essential functions in the body. It’s only involved with just about all that the body does. Only.
When was the last time you thought about your liver—let alone thanked it?
Me too. I take it for granted—which is the way it should be on the one hand because it means it's doing its job quietly and efficiently in the background where it likes to be.
But. When we are unaware of what it is doing so reliably all the time—only all the time—we can gradually ruin things.
Do you know how we equate spoiling children with overdosing them on treats and gifts?
I invite you to reconsider that notion; how does an apple spoil?
When we ignore it, right? Not when we lavish it with attention.
My invitation here is to “spoil” your liver by waking up to its importance and respecting the heck out of it.
Not only is the liver the body’s biggest supporter, but it also promotes health, analyses health, and controls health. It is the kickass-iest powerhouse-iest organ we carry with us at all time (only all the time) and then ignores the heck out of it
Check out this shortlist of Roles Liver Plays, courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine:
Production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
Production of certain proteins for blood plasma
Production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as needed
Regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
Processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
Conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)
Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances
Regulating blood clotting
Resisting infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream
Clearance of bilirubin, also from red blood cells. If there is an accumulation of bilirubin, the skin and eyes turn yellow.
In subsequent blogs, I will zero in on the liver connections with sugar metabolism and digestion. My special pets.
Here I want to turn to What’s To Be Done?
Eat clean. Yes, it always comes back to that. A preponderance of organic produce for the win (read more here). Good fats. Pasture-raised meats and eggs. Avoid sugar.
Live clean. As in, avoid toxicants in your personal care products and in your environment—lawn- and house-care products can stress the liver.
Breathe clean. Use an air filter in your living space.
Drink and shower clean. Install filters for your bathing and drinking water. (More in this blog here.)
Those are the foundations.
And these are helpful things that may be helpful for you to help your lovely liver live better:
Castor oil packs. Castor oil packs are seriously awesome seriously old-school. I don’t have a blog about these yet, but Wellness Mama has one here.
Herbal and food supplements: dandelion, milk thistle, nettle, ginkgo, licorice, ginseng, ginger, garlic, turmeric, astragalus.
Eating pastured, organic liver yourself: it is packed with nutrients that support the health of our own livers. If eating it is not an option, taking capsules of desiccated, grass-fed liver can be beneficial—let me tell you that I never get rejected for low iron when I give blood!
Let’s be liv-ers by honoring our livers.
Let me know your thoughts and any further questions which come up.
I am here for you. And your liver.
Speaking of being here for you: My free masterclass on sugar and anxiety is May 4-8th. 5-6 pm EDT.
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