You know the best way to start a Monday off on the right foot? Get all your Baby Boomer readers scratching their heads in bewilderment as to what in the hell you are talking about. I can only assume there aren’t many Kanye fans born before the 80’s, but then again, "Ya Neva Know!"
So, today we are going to touch on the most disrespected and overlooked body part of all: the Liver. Poor thing. Forced to not only process your endless beer consumption, but it also has to try and do something with all the extra estrogen being produced from the brew abuse. But then again, it isn’t just alcohol that you have to worry about.
For the less anatomically astute readers out there, a bit of an explanation may help. The liver is the main organ of detoxification. Said “toxins" are mostly fat-soluble, so the liver’s job is to convert the fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins so they can be excreted through the urine and the feces. Also, as I mentioned above, the liver is tasked with cleaning up and packaging excess hormones floating around the bloodstream. I won’t dig into the three phases of detox, but I will give a shout out to the nutrients that make things happen behind the scenes: B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, and glutathione. So, show some gratitude. You can't survive without functioning liver detoxification. So, no matter what the toxin, whether it be environmental or food toxins, alcohol, medications, or tobacco, etc., your liver is doin’ work! And it isn’t a case of “Oh, I will just avoid them.” In today’s world, you can’t hide. The better attitude is “I will avoid them as much as possible to avoid the possibility of them overtaking my liver’s capacity for removal."
Memorize this term: “Bioaccumulation”. It refers to the accumulation of substances, like pesticides or other organic chemicals, in an organism. This occurs when you absorb or ingest toxins at a rate faster than the liver can detox them. The kicker? Most of these toxins are lipid soluble or fat soluble, which means they accumulate in your body fat and your brain. This spells trouble when we are dealing with toxins such as mercury, lead, Glyphosate (Round-up) and DDT (another common pesticide). Contrary to popular belief, not all toxins are accidental. Clearly, since none of you are being held at gunpoint to your wine glasses or beer cans. But, one of the biggest disrupters that fly under the radar is birth control. Ahhh yes, now I have the attention of some of you. Birth control not only disrupts future hormone balance, but it wreaks havoc on gut flora as well. And, as you might have guessed, it affects the liver’s detox pathway. The excess estrogen ingested from the pill can present a huge excess workload to an already exhausted liver. Similar to your boss dropping a 15-inch tall stack of files on your desk at 4:30 pm, Friday afternoon. That’s it; open up and say “ahhh” as your liver relishes in your frustration as you get a dose of your own medicine.
“But T, not me! I did a liver cleanse that my grandma bought me off of QVC."
Kanye would have so much fun with your biological naivety. Sing it with me:
“Holla, we want CLEAN Up. We want CLEAN UP. It’s something that you need to have. Cuz when that cheap, off-the-shelf cleanse leaves your @$$, it's gonna leave with half.”…. Of your intestines, that is. Any cleanse that keeps you gripping the toilet seat like you’re on a 65 mph roller coaster is bad news; for your internal plumbing and that of your home.
So, what are other options for a healthy liver? For starters, adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to 8-10 oz water first thing in the morning is a fantastic start. For the bold among you, add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the mix as well. And, for those of you who are so keen on taking your grandparents’ health advice, no, it won’t “put hair on your chest”. At least not as much as the excess hormones floating through your veins from your other poor lifestyle choices.
And a few takeaways:
- Get your hormones tested. Dysregulation in those can be a sign that the liver needs some help.
- Take medications currently? Then watch your alcohol consumption, the frequency of pesticide-laden fruits and veggies, and environmental toxic burden.
- Eat more veggies: Your phase 1 and phase 2 detox pathways depend on it.
- Taking a pharmaceutical grade liver supplement a couple of times per year will carry your health a lot further than you think.