Liver Detox

posted Sep 2, 2014, 9:51 AM by Ivy Hunter   [ updated Nov 9, 2014, 3:23 PM ]

Liver detox

By Ivy Hunter

The liver is our most central organ when it comes to metabolism. No other organ performs to level of functions that the liver is able to do. The cells are unique in shape as polygonal formations, and the liver is divided into lobules that protect each branching of cells, blood vessels, and biliary ducts. What does this mean? The liver makes up 12% of all of your life support, you can’t live without it. The blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves are imbedded in the liver and every process of the liver is vital.

The liver can become burdened, or toxic. In the absence of oxygen from a sedentary life style, or low oxygenation due to cardiac or circulatory problems, toxemia, excess saturated fats, Transaturated fats, or other oxygenation issues can impair the function of the hepatic cells. At this point the liver may even begin a process of fatty degeneration and when this happens, the detoxification process of the liver is impaired and it is wise to participate in a liver detox and clear those reversible causes while working on managing the others. Liver detox is the process of reliving the liver of the excess backlog of toxins from air pollutants such as noxious fumes and airborne chemicals like DDT which although it has been banned, it is made airborne anytime a field that has been sprayed is overturned. Liver detox can improve a variety of functions that the liver performs including the enzyme f unction, and it’s influence of other body functions like the bloods clotting ability, and conversion of elements to be used in blood building such as iron, and safe management of copper levels.

The liver is usually in need of large amounts of oxygenated blood. This provides that the livers glandular requirements are met and at times of great need the liver may increase its need for oxygenated blood 4-fold. Under these times the liver can also serve as a reservoir for blood in the body. Food particles are absorbed through the gut wall and carried through the portal circulation system. A unique system where the products of digestion are absorbed from the intestine and kept away from the general circulation. The food products and blood is delivered first to the liver. Similar to a gatekeeper standing at the gates of a castle you can imagine the liver is our gatekeeper. The capillaries in the digestive tract drain into the hepatic portal vein and that blood is carried into a second capillary bed that will enter the general circulation through the hepatic vein that allows this intake to drain out of the liver. This to review the path of the nutrients and toxins we eat; goes from the gut, through the hepatic portal vein, to the liver capillaries, and out the hepatic vein. The liver is also fed fresh oxygenated blood through the hepatic artery.  Together, both blood sources is how the liver is supplied with blood, and it truly must be fresh, oxygenated, and non-toxic. Just think of all the chemicals in foods, they don’t bypass these steps, so following proper guidelines to a good liver detox will help the liver to remove some of the un-natural byproducts of foods since what we eat will go through our liver and affect our overall metabolism.

The liver also is an organ of excretion in the way that is secretes 250 to 1,500 milliliters of bile each and every day. The major components of this green chalky bile substance include bilirubin which is the green pigment that lends the tell-tale color, bile salts, phospholipids such as lecithin, cholesterol, and inorganic ions. The bile pigment is basically the pigment that is derived from the breakdown of blood cells as they get older and the liver, spleen, and bone marrow must have a place to discard the substances that cannot be recycled. This is a method for the liver to detox itself through excretion. Free bilirubin is oil soluble, and when it in the blood it will typically attach to large proteins and be re-absorbed. This protein bound bilirubin cannot be filtered out by the kidneys into the urine or directly excreted by the liver into the bile, but the liver still can detox some of the free bilirubin out of the blood and create a water soluble form that truly can be excreted into the bile. Once excreted, it faces the same re-absorption possibilities that all foods we eat face, so why is it not just building up? The reason for this is because the bacteria in our gut have a way of converting this conjugated bilirubin into another pigment called urobilinogen. This again is absorbed. Now this is a brown color and adds the brown color to the feces. There’s a lot of it too. About 30 – 50 percent of the urobilinogen is reabsorbed by the intestine and returns to the liver. Some is secreted into the bile and returned to the intestine and the rest will enter the general circulation to be filtered out by the kidneys when it passes that organ. Each drop of blood leaving the heart will pass through just one capillary bed before returning to the heart and lungs to be oxygenated. The liver therefore supports the kidneys, and it again is so important to follow a liver detox semi-annually.

So why is liver detox so important? Remember I also said the bile contains all those other things, bile salts, and inorganic ions specifically? Those things can fluctuate depending on what you are eating. The liver can remove hormones, chemicals, pesticides, and other chemicals by excreting them in the bile as we described, by chemically changing them within the liver cells to a less toxic version of the compound, or by the specialized cells found in the liver that hang out in the sinusoids called Kpffer cells which will engulf the toxin to combine it with powerful digestive acids that will allow the chemical or toxin to be converted to a less toxic form before the Kpffer cell dies. None of these detoxification mechanisms are unlimited, but the toxins we find in food can be unlimited, unlabeled and overbearing for the livers detoxification process. Let’s think of an example like ammonia – we don’t normally eat or drink this substance in pure form. It is very toxic and it is actually produced naturally in the body as we process amino acids in the liver and the bacteria in the gut also process this in a similar way. When we eat the ammonia concentration of the blood traveling from the gut to the liver increases up to fifty times that of the hepatic vein. That is an example how the liver detoxifies what goes through it. The liver us enzymes to convert toxic chemicals like ammonia into the less toxic urea molecule which can be secreted by the kidneys into the urine. The liver is also responsible to converting toxic purines into uric acid for excretion by the kidneys.

The liver is truly our detox organ, so why would we need a liver detox if it is doing this all on its own? For one thing, our environment is a lot more toxic today than it was 50 years ago, and the human body takes several hundred years for genetic adaptation to occur - so we are at a detox deficit at this time. With toxins soaring over every square inch of the world, it does not matter if you live in the city or country, you still get the toxins delivered to your body. The liver can receive damage from an excess of chemicals we are consuming or exposed to toxins in excess. Our skin can absorb copper, lead, mercury, and every water soluble chemical including pesticides, cleaning products, construction products, and more. Our liver must deal with all those things, and it can lead to a backlog of toxins - more than it can handle.

The liver can have so many jobs it’s like a secretary at a desk being piled over with papers to work on. This backlog can really damage the liver. There is a heavy importance on the reduction of the workload through participation in a liver detox. I haven’t even mentioned half of the functions of the liver, and already you understand how much work it is for the liver to just simply detoxify what we consume on a daily basis.

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