It can sometimes feel like all everyone talks about is the gut…
and how our gut health can impact our general health and wellbeing.
Which means the liver and gallbladder are often forgotten about…
…when in my view the liver is just as important (if not more important) than the gut.
Because when our liver’s struggling, it can affect our gut health and gut function, including our ability to digest fats
…and it can affect our skin.
From dulling a healthy glow to causing eczema flare ups.
Liver detoxes are popular and ‘going on a detox’ after a period of eating freely or drinking too much is common.
But in reality, what we should be doing is supporting our hard working liver every day.
(not just when we’ve put it under load)
The liver is actually our second largest organ in the body after the skin (our skin is the largest)
And amazingly, the liver is responsible for over 400 functions in the body!!!
One of the liver’s most well known functions is the processing of environmental toxins, drugs, alcohol, and hormones into forms that are then safe enough for our bodies to ‘excrete’ or release as waste products.
You may know this as ‘detoxification’
In the most basic sense it means that the liver cleans your blood.
Pretty much everything that’s in your blood right now, will go through the liver to be broken down at some point.
- air pollutants
- food additives
- cleaning products
The liver filters these ‘toxins and metabolites’ and releases them from the body with the help of our eliminatory organs, which are our:
- skin, and
If any of these 4 organs aren’t pulling their weight, then the others have to take on extra responsibility.
For example, if you’re constipated and you’re releasing ‘waste products’ too slowly… these waste products can be reabsorbed for elimination through the skin, leading to congested skin.
The same goes in the opposite way.
If the liver is working so hard that the liver cells start to change or die, then the responsibility falls onto the other elimination organs. This can happen in the case of fatty liver disease or the more extreme case liver cirrhosis.
We’ve put together a list of things you might notice when your liver needs some extra love and support…
(and it’s quite a long one because if the liver is overloaded it puts pressure on the downstream elimination organs)
Indicators that your liver may need more loving:
(not all of these symptoms are just about the liver. But if you have a combination of these, it would be worth having a think about how you can give your liver some extra support – I’ve highlighted the skin indicators for you)
- waking at 1-3am*
- constipation (less than 1 bowel movement per day)*
- strong perfumes give you a headache (headaches in general, especially the right side of the head)*
- coffee doesn’t give the energy spike*
- itchy skin
- little ‘bumpy pimples’ on the face
- skin breakouts around menstrual cycle
- pitted cellulite
- itchy eyes
- sweat that stains clothing or bedding
- tender sensation around the liver area on your torso
- no appetite in the morning
- bad breath
- tendency towards short temper
- difficulty in losing weight
- PMS symptoms in females
- nausea with food
- intolerance to fatty foods (makes you feel bleh)
- brain fog or difficulties concentrating
- craving sugar after meals
Quite a few of these indicators relate to what we might notice with our skin.
Our liver’s ability to breakdown and filter toxins and metabolites can have a big impact on healthy glowing skin.
If our liver’s under load then it can push extra ‘load’ to our skin to deal with… this is when we might notice more rashes, itchy skin, congested skin (those little bumpy pimples), breakouts, and flare ups of eczema and rosacea.
So we’ve put together a list of liver loaders and liver lovers for you…
We’ve included things than can put extra load on the liver and also things that can give your liver some extra loving.
(things that when in excess but extra pressure on the liver that isn’t needed)
- Excessive alcohol
- Refined sugars and fruit juices
- Refined / processed grains eg. bread, biscuits, pasta
- Chemicals, pesticides, herbicides & xenoestrogenic substances (think plastics)
- Refined/processed oils, fats and fried foods
- Artificial food additives
- Highly processed meats & dairy
Some of these are easier to reduce or eliminate than others
If you’re looking for some extra ideas here, consider…
A whole30 challenge can be helpful for cutting out processed foods for awhile to see how your body responds.
Google – ‘Plastic Free July’ – for some ideas and strategies around reducing plastics in your life
And of course the flip side of reducing the load is to add in extra help, which we do with liver lovers…
(things that can help give your liver some extra love and support)
- Sour and bitter food
- Leafy green vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Fresh herbs and spices
- Food high in antioxidants
- Filtered water
- Movement (walking, cycling, swimming, yoga etc.)
We’ll talk more about these liver lovers in upcoming blog posts and videos about why these particular foods are liver lovers and how you can add more of these liver lovers into your life.
But in the meantime, if you’re looking for some Liver Lovers to help support your liver…