What Hurts Our Liver the Most?
The role that our liver plays cannot be stressed enough. Did you know that the liver performs over 500 jobs! Wowsers! That is one busy organ (and I though my life was hectic). It has a very big job but it has 3 main roles:
- To make & store fuel for our body
- To help clean our blood (removes toxins)
- Makes bile (that’s needed for digesting fats)
You can love your liver and treat it kindly (and your health will thank you for it). Or you can mistreat your liver and your health may suffer. Knowing what things to avoid or limit will greatly help you take care of your liver. We’ve compiled a list here to help you:
- Too much iron: If you take in excessive amounts of iron this can be bad for the liver and that’s because the body can’t eliminate larger than normal amounts of iron. Too much iron can increase your risk for liver cancer.
- Wrong supplementation: Taking supplements is great, however, taking some supplements with medications can cause liver damage so if you’re on med’s you should always check with your doctor or health practitioner before taking anything new or if unsure.
- Cigarettes: It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that smoking is bad for our health and if you have a desire to be healthy you should really think about quitting. No matter what else you are doing that is healthy, if you are smoking, that will cancel out any good that healthy diet and exercise could be doing. If you’re having trouble quitting, maybe try to look at the underlying reason why you are smoking and try to work on that. Often it is stress-related or stems from some other emotional problem such as anxiety, depression, social awkwardness, etc. Trust me, as someone who smoked in their early 20’s, I know how soothing it can be on our emotions but I also had a strong desire to be healthy and live a long, happy life. Try to avoid second-hand smoke also, it can be just as toxic, if not more. Perhaps try natural remedies for helping you quit such as meditation, hypnosis, EFT, and self-love and acceptance.
- Ellicit Drugs: A no-brainer? Knowing that the liver cleans our blood from toxins and that drugs are a toxin, it’s easy to see that taking drugs is a big fat no-no if you wanna be healthy and love your liver.
- Some Herbals: Some herbal remedies can be harmful such as; barberry, black cohosh, chaparral, Chinese gingseng, comfrey, creosotebush, germander, godoloba yerbe tea, greasewood, greater celandine, false pennyroyal, Jamaican bush tea, Jin bui huan, kombucha tea, mistletoe, Bho-saiko-to, pennyroyal oil (squawmint oil), sassafras, senna, skullcap and valerian combined with White chameleon.
- Excessive vitamin A (synthetic): The majority of vitamin A is stored in our livers (50-80% in fact), so consuming too much can have a negative impact on your liver. Always see your medical/health practitioner for guidance on supplementation here. It's wise to obtain your vitamin A from the foods you eat such as grass-fed liver, grass-fed butter or ghee. Despite what doctors may say, getting vitamin A from foods is very different from getting it from a synthetic supplement. You would find it virtually impossible to overdose on vitamin A from eating whole foods!
- Some prescription medication: Med’s such as codeine, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, valium and restoril can cause liver damage. You can often read about the negative side effects of a medication on the leaflet inside the box.
- Excessive paracetamol: If taking regular and also if taking high doses (more than 4000mg/day) of paracetamol, this can also have negative effects. Note: from researching this subject, it says that people with liver disease should not have more than 2000mg of paracetamol on any same day.
- Certain over-the-counter drugs: Pharmacy and supermarket medicines can come with their own risks and are easily available. Again, if you have liver disease proceed with caution and follow the guidance of your trusted health practitioner.
- Stress and other deep negative emotions: This is such a big one and cannot be overstated. Stress is awful for the health of your liver and so are other strong, negative emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, hate and rage. Suppressing your emotions can be catastrophic for the health of your liver, so learning how to express our emotions is vital. Also, learning how to keep control of emotional outbursts can be helpful. If you’ve tried mindfulness and just about everything under the sun, it might be time to get yourself to see a naturopath. You may just be suffering from a nutritional deficiency that can have a serious impact on our thoughts and emotions. The thing that I have realised throughout my own healing journey, is that most doctors (not all), don’t really understand or talk about with their patients, the link between proper nutrition and our thoughts/emotions and behaviours. They often just give you a prescription to ‘treat’ the symptom, which as I’m sure you know, does not get to the root cause. If you are suffering from a condition such as Pyroluria and are unaware, you might be suffering from emotional stuff unnecessarily. Again, it is important to speak to a naturopath about this because most doctors seem to dismiss this condition (through either ignorance or lack of training/education in this area).
- Alcohol: I think most of us have had an alcohol bender at some point in our lives (maybe a few too many drinks at a christmas party or wedding?) and have felt the repercussions the next day (and possibly felt regret hehe). It doesn’t take a mad scientist to figure that drinking too much alcohol can be bad for our liver. That’s because alcohol in excess can overload the cells of your liver and even scar it. This is because of a toxic enzyme that’s produced (acetaldehyde). Acetaldehyde can be very damaging to the liver, but also the stomach and brain too! (maybe this is why we feel so ‘brain dead’ after a big night?) I know I sure as heck don’t feel like the ‘sharpest tool in the shed’ following a heavy alcohol binge. If you drink heavily and often you may end up with alcoholic liver disease like my uncle did. He passed away a few years ago because of the choices he made and the impact those choices had on his liver. This disease occurs because regular drinking changes the way alcohol is metabolised.
- Toxins in general: it's your livers job to filter out toxins but when it is overburdened by extra toxins coming in from food, environment etc. it makes its job extra difficult. Being mindful of what we are consuming, putting on our skin, cleaning our home with is a good start. It may also be a good idea to consider a regular detox (autumn and spring are ideal times). To learn more about detox, read our detox article here.
So How Much is Too Much?
The recommended intake of alcohol is no more than 2 standard drinks for both men and women on any given day. This might make you think twice before that next Sunday sesh? I know for me personally, I feel SO much better not even drinking at all. I’ve not had any alcohol in nearly 11 weeks now as I sit here writing this blog and I used to have a glass of red almost every night. I sure do feel the difference and because I like to go cycling. I feel like I have more energy and more clarity to run my business.
How Can You Tell if You Liver is Sick?
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- Pale stools (poo)
- Dark-coloured urine
- Itchy all over
- Abdominal pain & severe swelling
- Nausea and weight loss.
If you want to read further about these symptoms and how they may be related to a sick liver, read here.
Looking to Detox Your Liver Naturally?
Have you tried the Perfect Liver Detox Support capsules? They contain highly effective herbs to help support the natural detoxification process such as turmeric, artichoke, milk thistle, shisandra berry, cilantro (coriander), broccoli sprouts and chlorella (a very powerful detoxifier). This product has been backed by scientific research and is Dr-endorsed. Click here if you’d like to find out more.
*Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.