love your liver (top ten tips inside!)
For the past few weeks my mind has been mulling the importance of loving my liver.
Maybe it’s all the talk about methylation that seems to be permeating my world of functional health of late. (Methylation is a term that speaks to one of the liver’s major routes of detoxification and is lately receiving a lot of medical press, as we better understand the impact its impairment has on myriad aspects of health, from the brain to the immune system to hormone balance and more!)
Or maybe, and more so, it’s the season that’s calling my attention to this large organ of mine.
That’s right, the season!
In ancient Chinese Medicine practices, spring is the season of the liver. And they knew what they were talking about by associating a season with an organ.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, spring is the time to extend ourselves, deepen our roots and gather resiliency in the wind. This is all tied to the liver, which works to detoxify the blood and produce the secretions that help us to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Just like spring is a time of renewal, the liver is constantly renewing itself, generating new cells so that it can do it’s job better for you! And believe me…it needs to!
But why love your liver?
Let’s take a look at why you should even care. (I mean, your liver may have gone ignored until this moment, right?)
Your liver is a powerhouse of activity.
It’s the biggest internal organ in your body and has hundreds of functions.
One key role is acting as the gatekeeper for your entire system, filtering all toxins and foreign substances from the bloodstream, breaking them down, and excreting them.
Some of the toxic substances that your liver has to contend with are produced right within your body! These include excess hormones and neurotransmitters. Other substances come from your environment ~ what you eat, what you breathe and even what you put on your skin.
There are both voluntary and involuntary invaders that the liver encounters. It’s working overtime, all the time, every second of every day, without much gratitude or payback.
Hey, your liver deserves a break today!
Ready to dive deeper?
What does the liver have to do with digestion?
When it comes to digestion, the liver creates enzymes and hormones that are critical for metabolism.
In fact as soon as you take your first bite of food the liver is triggered to produce enzymes that will break that food down into smaller particles that can easily move through your gastrointestinal tract and be absorbed into your bloodstream to feed your cells.
Each macronutrient requires different actions from the liver.
Just think about how hard your liver is working everyday to keep up with your intake!
carbohydrate digestion & your liver:
Carbohydrates divide into glucose in the digestive tract. Those glucose molecules move into your bloodstream where they’re used as your body’s primary source of energy. All blood then moves to the liver for filtration. Any excess glucose, not used for immediate energy, is stored as glycogen in the liver. The liver can then convert the glycogen (the storage form of glucose) back to glucose in times of need.
protein digestion & your liver:
Protein breakdown occurs in the stomach and the small intestine. The end products are amino acids and other byproducts that are converted into enzymes by the liver. These enzymes are responsible for the chemical transformation of the toxic byproducts that come from the breakdown of proteins and prepare them for elimination through the kidneys.
fat digestion & your liver:
The breakdown of your dietary fat depends on the bile created by your liver and stored in your gallbladder. The liver manages fat levels in the blood all day long. Dietary cholesterol and triglycerides are absorbed into the bloodstream and processed by the liver for delivery to the cells.
Natural detoxification and digestion are only some of the jobs of this multitasking organ!
It stands to reason that at least once a year you need to pamper your liver. Love it. Give it some extra attention. Say thank you to your liver for all that it does for you.
Unfortunately your liver won’t appreciate a simple Hallmark card.
What it will most appreciate is a vacation…
A vacation that includes time away from some of its usual workload, delicious healing food, as well as daily massages.
Doesn’t that sound good?
Not sure where to start with your liver love? Download my favorite tips today.
And let’s make it eleven! I have one more to add…
I love giving my liver a little massage. It’s gentle and effective and anyone, any age, can do it. I’m ready to wrap my liver in some love with castor oil, washcloths and hot water bottles this coming weekend.
This protocol of massaging and oiling the liver is called a castor oil pack. It’s a great way to love your liver and boost its productivity.
Castor oil ~ massaged on the liver region, located beneath the right rib cage ~ can penetrate the skin to increase circulation, promote elimination and enhance the healing and rejuvenation of the cells beneath the surface. It’s remarkably effective, if not a little sticky.
This week I invite you to give it a try. All you need is some castor oil, an old washcloth and a hot water bottle. It’s a perfect way to love your liver and yourself.
You both deserve to get a little wrapped up in the love this time of year.
If you’re looking to find me this week, I’ll be on liver vacation. I hope I’ll see you there!
P.S. Here are your liver-loving action steps for this week!
- Grab your copy of my Top 10 Tips To Champion Your Liver.
- Pick one new tip to try today and post about what your living-loving at Replenish PDX Facebook (really, I want to hear about it! )
- Give your liver extra love with a castor oil pack this week (learn how below!)
Eater’s Digest Homework:
Simple Castor Oil pack preparation
- Put on an old t-shirt or tank top that you don’t care about.
- Start to heat water for a heating pad.
- Lift your shirt and locate the placement of your liver by hooking your fingertips under the bottom right rib on your ribcage.
- Pour some castor oil (sticky stuff!) into the palm of your hand and rub it directly on the skin at this location.
- Drape an old washcloth (one you don’t care much about) or small towel over the oil.
- Fill your water bottle with the hot water and lay that over the towel on your right side.
- Pull your shirt down over the water bottle and lie down to relax.
This is best done before bed, while reading and in a restorative position.