The liver is the body’s second largest organ after our skin. It sits just behind your right rib cage. Its primary role is detoxification. While detoxification is a process that goes on inside us, all day every day, toxicity can influence how efficiently the liver is able to do its job.
A functioning liver works as our body's fat-burning organ, and converts nutrients from the food we eat into essential blood components, storing vitamins and minerals, and producing proteins and enzymes to maintain hormone balances in our bodies. Our livers also help our immune system fight infections, remove bacteria from the blood and make bile, which is essential for digesting our meals.
Did you know that the liver filters approximately 2 quarts of your blood every minute?
Unfortunately, our livers can become sluggish and function poorly from being overloaded with toxins, chemicals, and other harmful substances. Imagine a fish tank with a motorized water filter. If the filter is clogged with toxins from the tank, the entire tank becomes filled with the same contaminants. In our system, the filter is the liver, the tank is the body, and the fish that has to live in it is you.
Some substances that can sabotage liver function:
- Trans fats
- Sugars, including fructose and sucrose
- Synthetic substances, e.g. pesticides, medications, skin “care”
- Infections e.g. viruses such as glandular fever (Epstein-Barr virus)
“The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity… If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.” -Dr. Karl Maret, M.D.
Signs of a Toxic Liver
- Mood swings
- Hormonal imbalance
- Skin problems (such as acne, moles, skin tags)
- Digestive issues
- Bloating after a meal
- Inability to lose weight
- Hot flashes
- Cysts on Ovaries
- Menopausal problems (such as heavy, clotty, or irregular periods)
The liver and gallbladder work in harmony to support a strong immune system, balanced moods, and healthy digestion. The liver is responsible for filtering and neutralizing harmful substances in your body. It has 500 metabolic jobs, which it cannot perform optimally when overburdened with toxins. Chinese medicine also believes the liver to be responsible for the smooth flow of energy (Qi) throughout the body.
Why is the gallbladder so important? Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. A toxic and overburdened liver leads to impaired release of bile from the gallbladder, which affects the breakdown of fats and overall digestion.
As you rid your body of toxins, you will feel cleaner, lighter, more focused, and your mood will balance as well. Chinese medicine holds that each organ is associated with an emotion. The emotion associated with the liver is anger, and resentment is linked to the gallbladder. If you have found yourself feeling irritated or angry, this detox should help you release those blocked emotions and find a sense of peace.
Allowing emotional toxins to arise and release during the program is just as important as the physical side of the detox. If you find emotions coming up, give yourself the space to sit with them. Journal, take a bath, go for a run, or talk to a trusted friend. The spring is about letting go of the old and allowing a fresh start. You are giving yourself the best possible gift this season by detoxing the liver. By following a whole foods detox program, you are eating foods in season that naturally cleanse your liver and support a harmonious body.