Healthy Living Today

Discussion of healthy habits, alternative therapies, foods, herbs and lifestyle that will help us live a happy, healthy life!

Your Liver and Its Job

Posted by healthylivingtoday on February 4, 2008

Had to share this great information I came across today in a Southern California newspaper! It is the most comprehensive explanation I have ever read of the human liver, what it does for us and what we need to do to keep it healthy. I am adding it in it’s entirety exactly as it was written (no need to tamper with something this well thought out and written!):

Of the primary detoxification organs (intestines, kidneys, liver and, to a lesser degree, skin, mucous membranes and lungs), the liver is our worker.The liver plays several roles in detoxification: it filters the blood to remove large toxins, synthesizes and secretes bile full of cholesterol and other fat-soluble toxins and enzymatically disassembles unwanted chemicals. This enzymatic process usually occurs in two steps referred to as phase I and phase II.

Phase I either directly neutralizes a toxin or modifies the toxic chemical to form activated intermediates which are then neutralized by one or more of the several phase II enzyme systems.

Almost two quarts of blood pass through the liver every minute for detoxification. Filtration of toxins is absolutely critical, as the blood from the intestines contains high levels of bacteria, bacterial endotoxins, antigen-antibody complexes and various other toxic substances. When working properly, the liver clears 99 percent of the bacteria and other toxins during the first pass.

The liver’s second detoxification process involves the synthesis and secretion of bile. Each day the liver manufactures approximately one quart of bile, which serves as a carrier in which many toxic substances are dumped into the intestines. In the intestines, the bile and its toxic load are absorbed by fiber and excreted. Note: a high-fiber diet can help your body stay clean.

The liver’s third role in detoxification typically involves a two-step enzymatic process for the neutralization of unwanted chemical compounds. Phase I detoxification involves a group of enzymes which collectively have been named cytochrome P450. A significant side-effect of phase I detoxification is the production of free radicals as the toxins are transformed. Note: antioxidants are an important support for detoxification.

The most important antioxidant for neutralizing the free radicals is glutathione. Glutathione is also required for one of the key phase II detoxification processes. Providing the key nutrients to support both phases of detoxification is significant.

Among foods, the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts), contains chemical constituents that stimulate both phase I and II detoxification enzymes. One compound is indole-3-carbinol, which is also a powerful anti-cancer chemical. It is a very active stimulant of detoxifying enzymes in the intestines as well as the liver.

Oranges and tangerines (as well as the seeds of caraway and dill) contain limonene, a phytochemical that has been found to prevent and even treat cancer in animal models. Limonene’s protective effects are probably due to the fact that it is a strong inducer of both phase I and phase II detoxification enzymes that neutralize carcinogens.

What can you do? Keep the volume of food down to a level your body can burn. Eat whole foods free of preservatives and chemicals. Make sure you have enough fiber in your diet.

And for extra quick results, take a Liver Detox Aid.

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