Sluggish Liver?

A sluggish, or poorly functioning liver, can result in poor digestion. Additionally, since the liver is important to cleansing the body, a sluggish liver can result in rashes, psoriasis, eczema, boils or acne. If action is not taken, a sluggish liver may eventually lead to liver failure, which can result in more dangerous health conditions, or, in extreme cases of liver failure, death.

Your Liver Health: 10 Clues That Your Liver Could Be Letting You Down!
By Sheila Wagner

Is your liver helping you or hurting you?

Other than your skin (yes, that is an organ), your liver is the largest organ in your body weighing in at 3 - 3.5 pounds, it has an incredibly broad range of critical functions in the body which is why you really can't live without it. It lies under your right lower ribcage and is only separated from your right lung by your main breathing muscle, the diaphragm.

Among the liver's many functions are to optimize your metabolism by processing, storing or making protein, fat and carbohydrates, to make cholesterol and triglycerides, to synthesize proteins and hormones for proper blood clotting and blood pressure, to breakdown circulating hormones for excretion, to produce bile for fat digestion and to detoxify the entire body's system from chemical, medication or other ingested toxins.

Basically, the liver is a giant transformation machine and can be your health's best friend when functioning optimally OR it can be your biggest ball and chain if over burdened and under functioning, dragging you and your health down into common persistent symptoms that you can't seem to resolve.

Clues that your liver health needs some attention:

Obviously, seeing your doctor to rule in or out a serious liver problem is always your first step. But then there is that gray zone of dysfunction that I often refer to, where thankfully, you don't have a specific diagnosis but you do have certain nagging complaints that you might even seek out over the counter remedies for.

The health complaints that are heard of most commonly and that you see TV ads for are the ones that can a have a variety of sources and an overburdened or under functioning liver that can no longer detoxify the existing system yet alone what continues to come into it can be an important source of persistent symptoms that should not be overlooked.

The top 10 signs of sluggish liver function are:

  1. Poor tolerance or strong reaction to coffee, alcohol or other fumes and smells.
  2. Headaches and foggy brain anytime, but especially in the morning.
  3. Burping or indigestion after eating.
  4. Constipation, diarrhea or light colored stools.
  5. Difficulty losing weight even though you're dieting.
  6. High cholesterol or triglycerides that don't change with diet.
  7. Pressure or pain under the right ribcage, right shoulder or should blade, possibly including limited range of motion and absent of initial injury.
  8. Neck pain and stiffness that is hard to resolve and might present with a pronounced bump at the base of the neck. This may be from an unhealthy fat pad and/or from misaligned vertebrae, both issues can come from suboptimal liver function.
  9. Difficult to lose belly fat that is above your waistband. Ladies might even feel this as their bra getting uncomfortable at their ribcage by the end of the day!
  10. A pattern of waking at night between 2 and 4am. You might feel irritable, agitated or even notice your heart rate is a little higher at this time as well.

A bonus clue for the ladies: your perimenopause or menopause might be very symptomatic and difficult to control.

What you can do about it:

When your digestion works as it should, everything you eat and drink breaks down in the digestive tract and the byproducts, whether good or bad for you, all pass through the liver! That is a HUGE job for the liver to do. Not at all unlike sorting all of the garbage that is dumped at the recycling center into what should be kept that is actually useful vs what should be thrown out vs what should be handled in a special way because it's actually dangerous!

Optimizing liver function boils down to...

1. Don't put SO MUCH into it-remember that the digestive tract, ie. what we eat and drink, is a main entry point to the liver. Not putting so much in allows the liver to rest a bit and to catch up with what it has to work on already.

2. Give your liver a break from what taxes it the most: alcohol, coffee, processed foods with chemical additives and flour, sugar and fructose products.

3. Give your liver the support it needs to strengthen and encourage its detoxification function with specific nutrients like B vitamins, amino acids such as glycine, taurine and methionine and herbs like milk thistle, dandelion and artichoke.

4. Eat vegetables that naturally cleanse the liver and amp up its detoxification function such as all the green leafy veggies like kale, collards and spinach and broccoli, artichokes, garlic, onions and beets. Drinking green juices made from these vegetables is also great for boosting liver function.

5. Exercise to improve blood flow to and through the liver which promotes detoxification of the liver itself. Stretching and yoga help to break up the physical tension patterns that develop between the liver and the shoulder, ribcage or neck.

A total detoxification program that addresses all of these areas to optimize liver function is the best recommendation to improve your health. Taking time at least 1x/year to engage in a cleansing program is your insurance to keep your liver and you healthy!

Out of sight, out of mind...

You clean out the lint trap on the dryer, you even get the windows, carpets, pool or chimney cleaned, you would never think of letting the garbage pile up or not running the disposal. What if you didn't see your dental hygienist or get your car tuned up for several years? You get what I mean.

Just because you can't see your liver and maybe not even feel it, it doesn't mean that your liver is functioning as well as it could be for you. Reread the list of clues and see if any of these ring a bell for you. If so, consider adding your liver to the list of what might need an annual tune up!

Sheila Wagner http://sheilawagner.com/2011/06/your-liver-health-10-clues-that-your-liver-could-be-letting-you-down/

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