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Liver funtion - testing and treating

Liver function tests are a common blood test range that doctors will run.

These tests will show how well your liver is functioning. Liver function tests are usually run routinely if you are on any medication that has the potential to damage the function of your liver. (Do you ever ask what blood tests you have when you go to your doctor?)

The lab range for these tests is very wide, so your liver may not be functioning optimally even if your results are with in these 'normal' ranges. As a naturopath, the optimal range I look for are a lot narrower than those used by most doctors.

The liver is one of the most important organs in your body. It helps the body to process and remove toxins, helps to clean our blood and even stores nutrients so it's extremely important that we look after this precious organ and don't abuse it.

Signs that your liver may not be functioning as well as it should be:

  1. sensitivity to coffee or alcohol

  2. indigestion - especially from fatty foods. You may even find that high fat foods (such as fatty meat or deep fried foods) may give you a headache straight after eating

  3. wind and/or bloating

  4. tired and fatigued

  5. pain under your ribcage

  6. constipation, diarrhoea or light coloured stools

  7. blood sugar issues - highs and lows of energy

  8. weight gain - especially around the midsection

  9. not feeling like eating in the morning

  10. rashes and skin irritations

The naturopathic approach:

The great news is that there are many things that we can do to support good liver function.

- eating liver loving foods (brocolli, beetroot, greens)

- drinking filtered water

- reducing alcohol and caffeine

- reducing sugar and processed foods

- supporting liver function with nutrients and herbs if needed. Think Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Schizandra. B vitamins, Toxaprevent clay to name a few.

- it is also very important to reduce your exposure to toxins in your environment. I've written an article on how to do this. Read here.

Did you know that there are 2 main phases of liver detoxification?

Over the counter supplements may not address which of these phases is out of balance, or over/under functioning.

To put it simply:

- phase one is where the toxic chemicals and metals (from food, water and air) are converted into less harmful chemicals via enzymes in the liver.

- phase two involves converting these fat-soluble toxic chemicals into water-soluble by-products which are eliminated via bile and urine.

- excretion takes place via urine, feces, the skin and breath.

So if your phase one is working well and phase two is underfunctioning (you may have heard of methylation) these toxic chemicals aren't effectively eliminated out of the body. (This is why some people feel worse than others when they take detox supplements, or why the react to certain supplements.)

Detoxifying is serious business however, and your safety and comfort during detoxification is very important.

What do I recommend?

Option A - My 21 day Whole Food Cleanse - this is a great option for people who are generally quite healthy and just need to tweak their diet and lifestyle. I also teach you about toxins, where they are found, where they are stored in the body and supportive measures to eliminate them.

Option B - The Detox to Reset my Health Program - this option will really give you a reset to improve your liver, gut and digestive health. It targets the detoxification organs such as the liver, but also the kidneys, the GUT, the bowel and the lymphatic system. If you are on medication we can modify the protocol.

Option C - Book in for a naturopathic consultation - this is important if you have chronic health issues, or are on multiple or long term medication.

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