Signs You Might Be Suffering From A Sluggish Liver

Fatigue, dark circles under the eyes, depression, hormonal imbalances, muscle, and joint pains, skin problems, and headaches can all come from the same source: poor liver health function. Although the outward signs may not seem terribly severe, compromised liver function is far more serious than you might think. In fact, a recent analysis reports that from 2009-2012 there were twice as many cases of severe liver disease than a decade earlier. Furthermore, the number of adolescents and young adults with chronic liver health disease has more than doubled in the last three decades. If you think you may have symptoms of a congested liver, don’t stress and wait. Call Dr. Williams today!

Book your free consultation with Dr. Williams to learn more about a sluggish liver.

Your Liver: Working Overtime To Maintain Your Health

When it comes to keeping you healthy, your liver works overtime. Your liver is involved in over 500 essential health functions. Not only does your liver act as a giant filter for all of your blood - removing toxins (found in the environment and in the medications you take), allergens, harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites - it's also involved in the production of enzymes, hormones, and special proteins necessary for blood clotting. Substances like bile (which aids in the digestion of fats and helps transport toxins and waste products broken down by the liver into the intestines for elimination), cholesterol, albumin, and an immune substance called gamma globulin are also manufactured by the liver. But production is only one aspect of liver function. The metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fat is performed by the liver with the purpose of providing sources of energy. The liver also helps to regulate blood sugar levels by converting excess amounts of blood sugar to glycogen, which is then stored in the liver or in the muscles of the body for use during a period of fasting.

Many substances, including toxic chemicals, medications, and hormones are metabolized by the liver utilizing special metabolic pathways, known as Phase I and Phase II pathways. The diagram below explains this vital function in detail.

Detoxification At A Glance

Signs Your Liver Is Sluggish

When we think of liver problems, we most often think of infections like hepatitis or diseases like alcoholic cirrhosis. Which can cause a lot of stress and worry. But the most prevalent liver disorder today - Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - isn't caused by infection or alcohol consumption. Rather, it results in part (genetics, gender, and ethnicity also play a role) from lifestyle choices (poor dietary habits, lack of exercise) that lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the accumulation of fat in the liver leads to inflammation in the liver. Over time, this inflammation causes damage which can lead to chronic liver health disease and liver cancer.

While body pain is one of the most common signs of damage to tissues or certain organs, fatigue often points to problems in the liver. When your liver function is compromised, symptoms begin to appear that relate to poor detoxification, metabolism, and blood sugar regulation. Signs your liver or body may be damaged or functioning less than normal are:

  • Acne and skin rashes

  • Allergies

  • Blood sugar imbalances

  • Brain fog

  • Depression

  • Elevated cholesterol levels

  • Fatigue

  • Feelings of overwhelming stress

  • Headaches

  • Mood swings

  • Pain in muscles and joints

  • Poor functioning digestion levels

  • Sluggish daily functioning and ability for normal life functions

Similarly, poor liver function can affect your hormone metabolism, causing you to experience health symptoms related to estrogen dominance - like PMS - and putting your body at risk for breast cancer and prostate cancer (see our blog on methylation for more information).

sluggish liver
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Ways You Can Support Your Liver Function

Improving your liver function and healing liver damage is well within your grasp and centers around three main areas: liver detoxification, proper diet, and elimination/reduction of exposure to toxins.

  • Liver Detoxification: You can revitalize and cleanse the liver using a supervised program like Metagenics ClearChange which supports Phase I and Phase II detoxification. See our blog on detoxification for more detailed information.

  • Proper Diet: Testing for food allergies/sensitivities is an important part of restoring health to your liver organ and your whole body. A special elimination diet is a key component of a healthy detoxification program. Here are additional steps you can take to promote the health of your liver and body:

  • Avoid processed/refined foods; sugar and all sugary foods; sugar substitutes like Nutrasweet and Splenda; excessive amounts of alcohol; canned vegetables and fruit; fruits and vegetables known to contain high amounts of pesticide residue; overeating or eating in a hurry. Try to avoid as much stress as possible, as well.

  • Eliminate from your body: Foods to which you are allergic or sensitive; all margarine, shortening, hydrogenated oils, and cooking sprays. these can be toxic to your digestive system.

  • Eat foods that are high in soluble and insoluble fiber so your body can bind and eliminate toxins more easily; Plenty of vegetables that aid in detoxification like broccoli, beans, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lentils, radish, turnip; Foods rich in natural enzymes to facilitate digestion and lighten the burden your liver and body experiences when trying to breakdown poorly digested nutrients; Fresh herbs that support liver function like caraway, dill, milk thistle (milk thistle has many health benefits), rosemary, and turmeric; Lots of bitter, leafy greens like arugula, endive, and mustard greens which support detoxification; and as often as is possible, eat ORGANIC foods.

  • Drink: Plenty of clean, chlorine-free water; A glass of warm water with a bit of lemon juice first thing every morning can help patients cleanse the liver organ, stimulate the flow of bile and bowel movement.

  • Consult: Your healthcare practitioner to find out if you need the extra support of nutritional supplements, special phytonutrient blends, probiotics, and digestive system enzymes.

  • Eliminate/Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins Found in:

  • Lifestyle Toxins:

  • Alcohol

  • Caffeine

  • Cosmetics

  • Artificial food additives, colorings, or preservatives

  • Nicotine

  • Medications & Over-the-counter drugs

  • Meats containing hormones or antibiotics

  • Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables (high in pesticides, herbicides, insecticides)

  • Environmental Toxins:

  • Air, ground, & water pollution (auto exhaust, inhalants, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides)

  • Cleaning products

  • Radiation