Magdalena Wszelaki, a thyroid nutrition coach, will be running a workshop at the Open Center on March 28th for people with thyroid conditions and hormonal imbalances. The workshop will teach how to incorporate liver-supporting foods to rebalance your hormonal health with food and herbs.
By Magdalena Wszelaki
People tend to take their liver for granted, but it is one of the most vital of the vital organs. If it had a voice it would not complain just slowly tire and become sluggish. The subtle symptoms of its decline would be attributed to something else. Fortunately the liver also has the ability to regenerate when given the right conditions.
Did you know that our liver is also responsible for metabolism and balance of our hormonal health? This comes as a surprise to most people so let’s explore a little more of that.
The liver is the largest organ and is responsible for over 200 functions including:
· Purifying the blood.
· Regulating the metabolism.
· Storing minerals and vitamins.
· Producing cholesterol, which despite general belief is actually necessary as it is the precursor for our steroid hormones like estrogen, cortisol, testosterone progesterone and DHEA. It manages our brain function, nerve function and hormone transportation.
· Metabolism of our hormones.
Although the liver is wonderful at repairing itself it does take quite a lot of abuse, due to our modern lifestyles for example:
· Pesticides in non-organic food.
· Air pollution.
· Some skin care products.
· Cleaning products.
· Alcohol and drugs.
Our bodies are designed to excrete them through skin, lungs, kidneys, digestive tract and of course the liver, but sometimes these organs get overloaded and cannot cope. The problem is that often we do not realize the cause. Think about common problems we may experience such as:
· Severe menopausal symptoms, PMS mood swings and tiredness, (these can all be attributed to a sluggish liver.)
· Hormonal imbalance.
· Blood sugar problems.
· Immune dysfunction, such as chronic fatigue.
· Digestive problems.
· Abnormal levels of fat, like cholesterol.
· Depression and mood swings.
These can all be attributed to a sluggish liver and the symptoms may include:
· Bad breath.
· Itchy eyes.
· Brown spots on hand or face.
· Sensitivity to smells and coffee.
The Liver’s Job
Most of us know that the liver is responsible for processing alcohol, but it also detoxifies all waste materials, both from our environment (exogenous) and those made through everyday processes (endogenous). If the liver becomes too overwhelmed, all these toxins in our body make us feel unwell.
The Two Phases of Liver Detoxification
The first phase of the detoxification method is know as oxidation, where the liver uses oxygen to burn toxins by making them soluble in water so they can be more easily excreted from the body by the kidneys and the liver. Most environmental toxins are fat-soluble to start with and therefore impossible to eliminate without the liver’s help. Did you know that the chemicals produced in phase 1 are more toxic than those that originally entered the body?
This phase in inhibited by nutritional deficiency and medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), alcohol abuse and low protein intake.
In phase 2 oxidized chemicals are combined with sulfur and specific amino acids and then excreted in bile and urine.
Both phases must work in balance to ensure no harmful toxins are left to circulate.
There are 6 pathways in phase two and each is responsible for dealing with a specific substance for example, estrogen, thyroid hormones, heavy metals, histamine, phenol, salicylates, bilirubin nicotine and caffeine.
Food for Liver Detoxification and Hormones
Today I would like to examine two of the pathways called the methylation and sulfation pathway. These pathway detoxifies estrogen, dopamine, thyroid, histamine and heavy metals. To support this pathway we should eat more choline (e.g. avocados, eggs, soy lecithin) and vitamin Bs. Food richest in vitamin Bs are livers, beef, eggs and avocados.
The sulfation pathway detoxifies substances often found in frequent use of non -steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Therefore, we should support this pathway by eating foods high in sulfur such as egg yolk, broccoli, onion or MSM.
If the second phase is not working properly then the toxins cannot be converted and excreted from the body. This can cause tissue damage or disease. It can also cause excess hormones to circulate through the bloodstream, which can lead to hormonal imbalances and can affect the thyroid gland or our estrogen levels.
The Healing Power of Diet on the Liver
Since we know that the liver is capable of healing itself we should give it all the support it needs by following a lifestyle that avoids environmental and nutritionally deficient toxins. Foods and herbs, which support liver healing and detoxification can be used to make drastic changes to symptoms associated with a sluggish liver, and give long lasting healing effects.
Once you feel the benefits of a functional and contented liver you will never want to go back to your old ways, but will find the path to healing yourself with the beauty and power of foods and herbs.