How to Heal Liver Damage
LIVER AND WEIGHT LOSS
I see clients all the time that are suffering terribly and do not know why. I help them find the cause and many times it is because of a damaged liver that is tired and toxic.
Your liver plays a major role in weight loss. The liver is a chief organ in the body for metabolism functions. Keeping our liver at optimal health should be a main focus of your weight loss plan. Often times we blame the thyroid for weight gain, but one interesting piece to note is that T4 thyroid hormone is converted into the activated T3 thyroid hormone in the liver! So taking care of your liver is important to thyroid health!
The liver makes and secretes bile for storage in the gallbladder. During digestion, the bile is moved to the intestine to break down fats. But, if the liver is congested, it doesn’t produce enough bile for fat to be broken down. The liver can become congested from chemicals, toxins, drugs and heavy metals.
Evidence of a “fatty liver” is often shown by a roll of fat at the waistline, which happens because the liver has stopped breaking down fat and started storing it. Only once you bring your liver back to full function, will you lose this fat.
When the liver is overloaded and toxic, every organ in a person’s body is affected and weight loss efforts are stalled. Some signs of a toxic liver are weight gain, cellulite, abdominal bloating, indigestion, fatigue, mood swings, depression, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and skin rashes. Many people struggle with weight gain and a sluggish metabolism most of their lives, and go through lots of yo-yo dieting unsuccessfully. “So why doesn’t anything really work?” we may ask. We have been tackling the symptom when we should be addressing the cause; weight gain is often due to poor liver function.
The liver performs more than 400 different jobs, and is the body’s most important metabolism-enhancing organ; it acts as a filter to clear the body of toxins, metabolize protein, control hormonal balance and enhance our immune system. Your liver is a “worker bee” that can even regenerate its own damaged cells! But our liver is not invincible. When it is abused and lacks essential nutrients, or when it is overwhelmed by toxins, it no longer performs as it should. Fat may build up in the liver and just under the skin, hormone imbalances can develop, and toxins increase and get into the blood stream.
The liver metabolizes not only fats, but proteins and carbohydrates for fuel. It breaks down amino acids from proteins into various pieces to help build muscle; which directly impacts your calorie burn. It also transports amino acids through the blood stream for hormone balance; which is critical to avoid water retention, bloating, cravings, as well other undesired weight issues. Amino acids also help move waste, such as damaged cholesterol, and used estrogen and insulin to the liver, for detoxification and elimination through the kidney.
The liver’s most important function, and the one that puts it at greatest risk for damages, is to detoxify the numerous toxins that attack our bodies daily. Working together with the lungs, kidneys, skin and intestines, a healthy liver detoxifies many damaging substances and eliminates them without polluting the bloodstream. When we cleanse the liver and eat the right foods, liver metabolism will improve and we start burning fat. As liver function improves, so does energy. With more energy, fitness improves, because we have the ability to exercise more and improve our muscle tone.
The following are the most common symptoms of a toxic liver; being edgy,
- easily stressed
- elevated cholesterol
- skin irritation
- sleep difficulties
- kidney damage
- heart damage
- brain fog
- chronic fatigue
- weight gain
- blood sugar imbalances
The liver also plays a role in migraines. If this vital organ is overloaded with toxic substances, it can cause inflammation that triggers migraine pain. If you have tried many ways to improve your health and energy level and nothing seemed to help, it is possible that your tired liver is triggering your difficulties. Restoring liver function is one of the most essential actions you could ever do for your health. When the liver gets congested it will remain that way and get worse until it gets cleaned and revitalized. So let me give you my tips on how to heal your liver!
If you are suffering from liver damage, here are 2 very important steps to take to heal your liver!
STEP 1: Lower carbohydrate intake and stop consuming fructose!
Have you heard of a Fatty Liver? It should be called Carbohydrate Liver, not Fatty Liver. The name, Fatty Liver, makes it sound like fat caused the damaged liver when in fact, it was excess carbohydrates, alcohol, sugar and specifically fructose that damage the liver.
I work with families often and I am seeing younger and younger kids with liver damage. They aren’t drinking alcohol, they are drinking Gatorade and juices filled with fructose! Many type 2 diabetics believe that fructose is a better choice since it doesn’t increase blood sugar as much when they consume it. But the problem runs deeper.
All sugars can be made into triglycerides, a form of body fat; however, once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to stop it.
Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver; glucose on the other hand can be metabolized by every cell in the body. Fructose raises triglycerides (blood fats) like no other food. Fructose bypasses the enzyme phosphofructokinase, which is the (“traffic cop”) rate-limiting enzyme for glucose metabolism. Fructose is shunted past the sugar-regulating pathways and into the fat-formation pathway. The liver converts this fructose to fat, which, unfortunately, remains in the liver = FATTY LIVER DISEASE. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!
This ‘dumping of fructose’ contributes to lots of triglyceride synthesis. So, in the end fructose gets made into fat VERY easily! This also causes ‘fatty liver disease.’
Where is fructose found? Agave is 90% fructose! NOT a health food! Fructose is also naturally found in fruit, fruit juices, some vegetables, honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and high fructose corn syrup.
FRUIT AND FRUCTOSE
Ashton Kutcher recently filmed a movie where he plays Apple’s co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. Steve was known for his diet of fruit, also known as a “fruitarian”. Ashton, being the committed actor he is, adopted this diet to embrace who Steve Jobs was. Ashton states, “I ended up in the hospital two days before we started shooting the movie. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack.” Do you know what Steve Jobs died of? Pancreatic cancer… coincidence? My guess is they are related. Click Here for the story. But if you would like more science to back this up, click HERE.
In our paleo days, we had raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and apples for a few weeks out of the year. Fruit was our dessert or “sweet treat”, but now we eat it as a healthy snack or meal because it has “zero points.” Our bodies are overloaded with all of the sweetest and carb-heavy foods, whether it be pineapple, watermelon, dried fruit, sweet potatoes… we now have semi trucks shipping foods to us so there is no limit on what we can consume. When we constantly grab the foods filled with sugar or starch, that is when we become adults with metabolic syndrome.
For example, most animals have learned how to become fat and how to become thin. They do it in a tightly regulated way… Hibernating mammals will double their weight and fat in the fall in preparation for winter… I realized that I can learn by reading the studies about these animals. As I read them, I had another insight, which had not been appreciated before; these animals develop all the features of metabolic syndrome that we do. They get fat. Their visceral fat goes up. They get fatty liver. The triglycerides go up in their blood. They get insulin-resistant… It’s a normal process.
Dr Kylie Kavanagh from Wake Forest School of Medicine found that over the 6-week study period liver damage more than doubled in the animals fed a high-fructose diet as compared to those in the control group.
In another study, Dr Kylie fed monkeys a low-fat diet with added fructose for 7 years, as compared to a control group fed a low-fructose, low-fat diet for the same period of time. The monkeys who were allowed to eat as much as they wanted of the high-fructose diet gained 50% more weight than the control group. They developed diabetes 3 times the rate of the control group and also developed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
To discover what exactly was causing the liver damage, he performed a study over 6 weeks:
– Group A was fed a calorie-controlled diet consisting of 24% fructose
– Group B was fed a calorie-controlled diet with only a negligible amount of fructose (about 0.5%)
What shocked Dr Kylie was how quickly and extensive the liver damage was, especially without weight gain as a factor. 6 weeks in monkeys is roughly equivalent to 3 months in humans. Dr Kylie states, “In the high-fructose group, the team found that the type of intestinal bacteria hadn’t changed, but that they were migrating to the liver more rapidly and causing damage there. It appears that something about the high fructose levels was causing the intestines to be less protective than normal, and consequently allowing the bacteria to leak out at a 30 percent higher rate.”
Millions of years ago, our ancestors consumed fructose from natural fruits rather than the massive doses of high fructose corn syrup like we do today, but they still experienced this fat-gaining phenomenon. During the summer, they would consume large amounts of fruit and would put on weight in order to survive the famine during the colder months when fruits were unavailable. This led to a genetic mutation that resulted in a greater uric acid response to fructose. The more sugar we eat, the more uric acid our bodies produce, which increases our liver and intestines’ ability to absorb sugar, which is a bad thing! Obese people absorb fructose effortlessly, where skinny people don’t absorb it as well.
It is a detrimental snowball effect for my obese clients; the more sugar they eat, the more uric acid you make; which leads to the sensitivity to fructose absorption. Once you head down that path, it is almost impossible to stop. This is why I have to get so extreme with clients and cut out fruit too. If you start soon enough and cut out all foods that are creating the fat-creating snowball, you can recover, but if you don’t, you will lose the fat-burning, energy-producing mitochondria and you can’t restore them. At this point, you reset your fat cells at higher set point and our bodies want to stay at that set point for homeostasis.
So if you have liver damage or do not want to get liver damage, cut out the fructose!
STEP 2: Change your Skin Care Products
Are you eating keto yet still not healing your body they way you thought you would? There’s more to healing than what you put in your mouth. Our skin is our largest absorbing organ! Day after day of chemicals really does a number on your liver.
I was enjoying a pot of tea with my friend Kristen when she told me a story about when her daughter was three years old and appeared to be drunk. It scared the living daylights out of her. After digging into the cause, she discovered that her daughter had gotten into a bottle of hand sanitizer, and it had soaked through her skin into her bloodstream!
Yep, our skin is our largest organ, and everything you put on your skin gets shuttled into your bloodstream, just as if you ate it. Pharmaceutical companies know this; that’s why they use topical patches and lotions to deliver medicine. In fact, many times medications are more effective as creams than as pills because they are so readily absorbed through the skin. And so are the ingredients in any product you put on your skin!
Your skin also sucks in the poisons that are found in cosmetics, moisturizers, self-tanners, and products like insect repellent. The skin delivers those poisons to the bloodstream, which takes them right to your liver. The liver’s job is to filter out toxins from the blood, and when toxin levels are high, the liver can become tired and congested. Your liver also governs your moods and controls how fast you lose weight, so a taxed liver can affect many aspects of your health.
Limiting the liver’s exposure to pollutants enables it to heal from prior abuse. I even had a client who got out of the danger zone of high liver enzymes just by changing her makeup and skin lotions!
The chemicals in our personal care products may also be interfering with our hormones. Phthalates (found in perfume and fragrances), parabens (found in cosmetics), triclosan (found in antibacterial soaps), and oxybenzone (found in sunscreen) are all endocrine-disrupting chemicals. One study found that in teenage girls, the use of products containing lower amounts of these chemicals for just three days caused the levels in their bodies to drop significantly—by up to 45 percent! In other words, what you put on your skin truly matters.
Steer clear on lipstick and makeup with dangerous Obsesogen chemicals. Obesogens are found to affect cells in 3 ways:
1. By directly affecting adipocytes, or fat cells, by either increasing their fat-storage capacity or increasing their number.
2. By changing metabolism, by both reducing the number of calories burned at rest and promoting the storage of calories as fat.
3. By changing the way the body regulates feelings of hunger and fullness.
Phthalates: Phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals, are common in personal-care products and synthetically fragranced products. Besides being linked to obesity, high levels of phthalates can affect the growth of children. Take a quick look at the ingredients in your favorite personal care products for “fragrance” or “perfume” and toss them if you find those listed. Air fresheners and scented candles are culprits too!
I just heard this on the radio! In only 3 days of changing their toxic makeup their estrogenic levels went down by 45%!!!!
Is your lipstick or make-up filled with “Obesogens?” I highly suggest switching!
Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA (not to be confused with docosahexaenoic acid, the beneficial DHA fatty acid found in fish oil), is a potent chemical commonly found in self-tanners. Although it’s not absorbed through the skin, it does cause the upper layers of skin to be more susceptible to free radicals, cellular killers that wreak havoc by damaging DNA and altering cell membranes. Scientists now can prove that free radicals play a major role in the aging process, in addition to being associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, and possibly allergies, along with many other issues. To put it simply, think of your body as an apple: an apple turns brown once you slice it and expose it to air; your body basically rusts from the inside out when exposed to free radicals.
I wasn’t always aware of and didn’t always think about what I was putting on my skin. But just as I took baby steps to clean out my kitchen pantry, I realized that I had to take steps to clean out my bathroom cabinet and find safer alternatives for the topical products my family and I were using.
I started with shampoo and conditioner, then switched to a safer sunscreen, and over time my whole bathroom cabinet became something I was proud of, just like my kitchen pantry. I suggest that you do the same. Think about all the products you put on your skin and gums:
• Insect repellent
• Shampoo and conditioner
• Toothpaste and mouthwash
WHAT PRODUCTS ARE SAFE?
Now that I have gotten your attention, you most likely are wondering what products are safe for your liver and will help you to heal?
Making changes in my pantry as well as my bathroom pantry wasn’t an overnight process. I slowly learned how even though we were impeccable with our food choices we still were getting chemicals in our body with the lotions, shampoos and products I was putting on my skin as well as my kids (who are most vulnerable). That’s when I decided to throw out the chemicals and start using products that are not only healthy for my family, but they are healthy for the environment.
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This liver testimony is from a client who followed my meal plans in The 30 Day Ketogenic Cleanse!