How would you feel if the bin men didn’t come? If your drains were blocked and your gutters overflowing?
Our bodies need rubbish removed from them just as our houses do. When extra amounts of toxins have been put in, it’s even more important to get the exit routes functioning as well as possible.
How do toxins get in?
Through our mouths – food, drink, recreational drugs
Through our lungs – airborne pollutants such as exhaust fumes
Through our skin – cosmetics, hair dye, industrial chemicals
How should toxins get out?
Through the bowel
Through the urinary tract
Through the lungs
What happens if these exit routes are overloaded or under functioning?
The body has emergency exit routes that can be used if the proper ones aren’t working well. These are the skin and the mucous membranes.
A good indication that you are overflowing with toxins is if your skin breaks out and you are full of persistent catarrh. Catarrh is an excessive build-up of thick phlegm or mucus in an airway or cavity of the body.
Get out in the fresh air every day and clear your lungs.
Drink at least 1.5 litres of still water daily to flush toxins out through your urinary tract.
Make sure your bowel is working daily. If it isn’t, try a good source of dietary fibre such as Lepicol Healthy Bowels formula to clear it. If this isn’t enough, try a laxative such as Linoforce to get things going.
How about strengthening the organs of detoxification?
There are several good remedies that you can take if you feel you’ve asked a lot of your system recently. How will you know if your system is under pressure? Are you tired and lethargic, feeling chubby and bloated, and maybe even nauseous after certain foods? Your liver might appreciate a tonic. If you feel that you’re retaining fluid, with puffy eyes in the morning and lower back pain then possibly your kidneys need a boost.
Milk thistle may help cleanse and tone your liver.
Try taking a Solidago complex to help strengthen your kidneys.
Drink Nettle tea to help cleanse your bloodstream and remove uric acid from your joints if you’re creaking a little.
December is a month filled with office parties and festive celebrations. While Christmas is a wonderful time to relax and celebrate with family and friends, all this overindulgence can play havoc with our health. It therefore seems timely that the British Liver Trust has named the month of January national Love Your Liver month.
The liver is extraordinary. It filters around one and a half litres of blood every minute, ridding our body of toxins such as alcohol, caffeine, drugs and food additives. Weight gain over Christmas time results in extra fat stored in the liver, and the extra caffeine, alcohol and the morning-after painkillers, all place additional pressure on this important organ.
In fact, according to the NHS, 1 in 5 people in the UK have a fatty liver, and rates of liver disease in the UK are rising (1).
How does overindulgence damage the liver?
When the liver tries to break down alcohol and other toxins, this can cause oxidative stress which damages cells in the liver. It is also thought that alcohol and other irritants can damage our intestine which means that toxins from the intestine can get into the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring. The liver turns glucose into fat which it sends round the body to store for use when we need it. Alcohol affects the way the liver handles fat meaning that fat starts to build up in the liver.
Dr Mark Wright at the British Liver Trust explains that the liver tends to suffer at Christmas because Chritmas indulgences are not simply restricted to a single day – instead the festive period is drawn out over several weeks, meaning that the liver is subject to excess fat, alcohol and calories over a long period of time. If we bombard our liver with too many toxins we can eventually overstretch our liver’s resources.
How can we protect and repair the liver?
The good news is that these early signs of liver disease are reversible as the liver has the remarkable ability to repair itself. The Love Your Liver campaign suggests just three simple steps to protect your liver’s health:
1. Stay off alcohol for 2-3 days in a row each week;
2. Take more exercise and stay fit;
3. Cut down on sugar and fat.
Nutritionally, there are a number of measures that are also believed to help an over burdened liver to repair itself. Foods that help promote healthy liver function include:
High sulphur foods, such as garlic, legumes, onions and eggs;
Water soluble fibre such as pears, oatbran, apples and legumes;
Cabbage family vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts;
Functional foods such as artichokes, beets, carrots, turmeric and cinnamon.
A good quality antioxidant supplement can also support your liver by providing it with the resources it needs to repair oxidative damage. Certain nutritional supplements can also support the liver’s detoxification processes. For example, sulphation is the chemical process used to detoxify substances such as alcohol and paracetemol. The supplement methyl sulphonyl methane (MSM) – a form of sulphur – helps to support this sulphation process in the liver. The antioxidant supplement silymarin, or milk thistle, is also frequently used to help support and repair the liver, with much research supporting its benefits in diseases of the liver (2).
Stay Health Aware
As the liver has no nerve endings, it can be hard to notice the first signs of problems. If you feel you have been overindulging with fatty foods and alcohol over a long period of time you can ask your GP for a liver function test.
The Love Your Liver Roadshow is touring throughout the month of January and offers free liver assessments to the public. The roadshow is planned to stop at Portsmouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds, Middlesborough and Glasgow. For the most up to date information, visit the British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver website.