Why everyone should love their liver
By Madison Jones, Studying BHSc (Naturopathy)
Did you know that the liver is the metabolic powerhouse of the body?
Not only is it the primary site for bile production and secretion to the gallbladder and filtering blood, it is also involved in literally hundreds of metabolic processes. If you’ve eaten, smelled or touched something, you can be sure the liver is metabolising and detoxing it one way or another (Hechtman, 2016).
The liver is the most important organ of metabolism within the body. It is also the only organ capable of regeneration – but it’s still vital to love your liver to ensure optimal health (Hechtman, 2016).
Signs that may suggest your liver is compromised:
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Yellowing of skin and the sclera
- Fat intolerance
- Skin conditions
Given the huge role the liver plays in our metabolism, it is no surprise that it’s inversely involved in many conditions, including those related to the female reproductive system. A compromised liver results in poor detoxification of various metabolites including hormones. Hormones that are not able to be metabolised increase the hormonal load within the body, often resulting in excess androgen and oestrogen. Excess hormones lead to various reproductive health symptoms such as spotting and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and can also contribute to issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids and endometriosis (Hechtman, 2016). Women with PCOS – especially combined with insulin resistance – are at a greater risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which further suggests the need to love your liver (Javed et al., 2019).
Lifestyle and dietary changes that can improve your liver health:
- Following a Mediterranean diet (Abenavoli et al., 2017)
- Increasing intake of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and silverbeet
- Incorporating cruciferous vegetables into the diet such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes three times a week
- Drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily
- Limiting caffeine
- Limiting alcohol
Beneficial herbs to improve liver health:
- St Mary’s thistle
- Globe artichoke
To learn more, love your liver and improve your reproductive health, book an appointment with a student Naturopath at Endeavour Wellness Clinics here.
Javed, Z., Papageorgiou, M., Deshmukh, H., Kilpatrick, E, S., Mann, V., Corless, L., Abouda, G., Rigby, A, S., Atkin, S, L., & Sathyapalan, T. (2019). A randomized, controlled trial of Vitamin D supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors, hormones, and liver markers in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Nutrients, 11, doi: 10.3390/nu11010188.
Abenavoli, L., Greco, M., Milic, N., Accattato, F., Foti, D., Gulletta, E., Luzza, F. (2017). Effect of Mediterranean diet and antioxidant formulation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomized study. Nutrients, 9 (8), 870. doi: 10.3390/nu9080870
Hechtman, L (2016). Clinical Naturopathic Medicine (2nd Edition). Elsevier.