Love Your Liver
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
For the past few weeks my mind has been wrapped around the importance of liver cleansing. I’ve even done my best to support my liver while traveling! After all, it is spring. That means it’s the season of the liver. And my hard working organ has been calling my name.
But why cleanse the liver?
Your liver is a powerhouse of activity!
It’s the biggest internal organ in your body and has hundreds of functions. One of its key roles is to act as a 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 contends with are produced right within your body! These include excess hormones, neurotransmitters and other metabolic waste products. 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.
That’s why your liver deserves a break today!
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 occasionally 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 appreciate is a daily massage!
Doesn’t that sound good?
I love the idea of liver massage as much as my liver appreciates the loving. 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 week.
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. Download my handout to get instructions and all you need to know when it comes to loving your liver with a castor oil pack.
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You both deserve to get a little wrapped up in the love this spring.
Quick Health Advisory: If using a castor oil pack is new for you try it for a short time at first. Castor oil packs work well for most, but everyone is unique and responds differently. Be cautious and consider working with a Functional Medicine or Functional Nutrition practitioner to find the liver support that works for you.
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