Why Detoxifying Your Liver is Essential and How

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Earlier this year, as a result of my own health and hormonal studies, I came to the conclusion that my liver was in need of some serious support (more on this in our next Detox vs. Detoxing post).

You see, I’ve been plagued with symptoms of cystic acne, rogue hair growth, digestive woes, food sensitivities, insulin resistance and vitamin deficiencies. Many of these symptoms are correlated with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS (again, anther post for another time).

Nonetheless, what all of these symptoms have in common is that there is likely an issue with some of the main detoxifying organs of my body, in particular, my liver.

How do you support the liver?

We first need to REMOVE the toxin burden of our body and then RESTORE important amino acids, vitamins and minerals that support liver detoxificiation, and thus, detoxification of our body.

Not only are we are exposed to a number of environmental toxicants, but we are lacking in nutritious food which is a double whammy for our body’s detox processes. As a result, our endocrine and neurochemical systems start to act a little haywire. Soon hormone receptors are blocked when they are supposed to be open and feedback systems are acting like a runaway reaction with no control.

What are the Consequences of a ‘congested’ liver?

According to Dr. Aviva Romm, “Scientific organizations, such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG), estimate that most of us have stores of hundreds of environmental contaminants in our bodies. 

Babies are born already carrying a toxic load of as many as 300 different chemicals in their bodies, and breast milk is rife with environmental pollutants.

These toxins are coming from our foods, our water, our air, our household cleaners, our cosmetics, plastic containers, building materials, and about a million other places.

Many of these chemicals are not benign. Even in practically unmeasurable tiny amounts, many can wreak havoc on our hormones, immune system, and nervous system.And we really have no idea how multiple different chemicals interact in the body, yet we are living in a soup of environmental chemical interactions!

To give you an idea, here’s a small breakdown of some of the conditions associated with various contaminants:

  • Heavy metals and organochlorides affect the nervous system causing anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, chronic fatigue, autism, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Endocrine disruptors in plastics and pesticides affect our hormones leading to thyroid disease, diabetes, PCOS, and infertility.
  • There are well-established connections between toxin-mediated changes in our endocrine (hormonal) and immune systems and obesity. More environmental chemicals = More fat. And since these chemicals are stored in our fat cells, more fat = more stored chemicals (though you can be thin and have a high body burden, too).  And check this out: a high body burden can keep people from losing weight – even on a good diet and exercise program!”

How do we Remove the toxin burden on our bodies?

Unfortunately, as individuals, we can’t always control or eliminate all of our toxic exposures. Major regulatory and industry policy changes (which we can accomplish in groups!) are needed.

But we can do our part to reduce our own body burdens and thus the environmental load. Below are the 6 steps I used to help detox my liver:

  1. Eat Organic. Eating organic meat, dairy and produce decreases our exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and a myriad of other chemicals in our food supply in the US. If eating ALL organic is too expensive, at least shoot for organic meats and dairy products, because the fat tissues in animals are repositories for environmental contaminants. As for fruits and veggies, makes sure you check out the list from the “Dirty Dozen,” and ONLY eat these if they are Organic.
  2. Use Safer Cleaning Products. What we clean our homes with leaves residues on our counters, bedding, in our air, and just about everywhere – and we ingest, breathe, and absorb these chemicals. Safer alternatives are now just as cost effective as the others, so there really isn’t an excuse. The EWG also has a great resource for environmentally friendly cleaning here. Otherwise, here are my favorite products for my home by HONEST Brand:
  3. Use Safer Cosmetics. I order all of my cosmetics from Beautycounter – end of story. Not only is Beautycounter a company providing cleaner and safer products, but they are also educating and advocating for us in Washington. I am also a consultant for the brand and have taught about these products to many women who are hungry for better-for-them products.
  4. Use Safer Body Products. Our skin is our largest organ that absorbs most things that come in contact with it. Most of my body products come from Puracy and Honest brands, but I’ve found a few substitutes that like better and have worked for me and my family:
  5. Replace Plastic with Glass. Most plastic bottles and containers leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals into food and beverages. Switch to a glass water bottle – I carry my Life Factory bottle and Hydroflask wherever I go. They’re virtually indestructible and don’t absorb nasty smells, like plastic water bottles do. In addition, switch out all plastic tupperware containers with glass. We love the 24-32 piece Pyryx brand sets.
  6. Detox the Home. Make sure the home’s detox systems are running clear as well! Keep in mind that changing air filters every 3 months (especially if there’s pets that inside) is essential; buying a few houseplants that help to filter the air, investing in a charcoal filter or reverse osmosis for your kitchen sink and shower heads is a small price to pay for cleaner water you ingest on a regular basis; avoiding use of petrochemicals on your garden and lawn, and minimizing electromagnetic-containing radiation (EMR) from TVs and microwaves as much as possible.

How do we Restore our bodies with essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals?

In the end, this one is pretty simple.

  • Eat. Whole. Organic. Foods.
  • Drink plenty of water – half body weight in ounces.
  • Get 8 hrs of sleep in a dark room.
  • Walk 8-10k steps per day to get that outdoor time.
  • Dry brushing or massage to get the lymph moving.
  • Sweat each day.
  • Get at least 35g of fiber in each day from berries, veggies, whole grains, and avocado.
  • Add in 20-30 min of self care practices to unplug and be zen.
  • Use a steam bath or sauna once per week.
  • Add some supplement if you first check with your doctor.

Herbs and supplements to Boost Liver Detoxification:

Before embarking on any nutrition or supplement plan, consider working with a functional medicine doctor.

  • Probiotics. Look for “Multi-Strain, 15-30 billion CFU” on the label. Follow directions by taking on an empty stomach separate from other medications/supplements. We love: Hyperbiotics PRO-15
  • Vitamin B Complex. We love: Thorne Stress B Complex
  • Fish Oil. 25g of EPA/DHAper 10lbs body weight / day. We love: Rosita Cod Liver Oil
  • CoQ10. An antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation . We love: Super Ubiquinol CoQ10
  • Curcumin. Anti-inflammatory compound and antioxidant. We love: Curcumin
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine. An amino acid that supports liver detoxification. We love: NAC
  • Resveratrol / Grape Seed Extract. An antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation. We love: Resveratrol

Where ever you are in your journey, just remember that this can be a very gradual process. All that matters is that you are making steps forward in improving your health and well-being.

Let us know if you need help cleaning up your products and understanding more about your liver health!

References

  1. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 June 2014. WEb.
  2. Almost a Quarter of All Disease Caused by Environmental Exposure.” WHO. Web.
  3. Environmental Burden of Disease: Country Profiles.” World Health Organization. Web
  4. “Reproductive Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Apr. 2018, www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/Infertility/index.htm.
  5. American Plastics Council, Questions and Answers about BPA, downloaded from www.bisphenol A.org on 14 April 2004; Wilding et al, The National Workgroup for Safe Markets, No Silver Lining: An Investigation into Bisphenol A in Canned Foods, May 2010. Available at ej4all.contaminatedwithoutconsent/downloads/NoSilverLining-Report.pdf.
  6. “Pollution in Minority Newborns.” EWG Tap Water Database, www.ewg.org/research/minority-cord-blood-report.
  7. “Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. A National Effort to Protect Families from Toxic Chemicals.” A National Effort to Protect Families from Toxic Chemicals., saferchemicals.org/health-report/.
  8. Lu, Chensheng, et al. “Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 114, no. 2, 2006, pp. 260–263., doi:10.1289/ehp.8418.
  9. Swanson, et al. “Genetically engineered crops, glyphosates and the deterioration of health in the US.” Journal of Organic Systems, 9(2), 2014

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