“The liver is 2nd only to the brain in magnificence.” - Dr. Kenna Venekamp, DC
The liver is responsible for so much in the body and is directly responsible for maintaining the overall health and wellbeing of the digestive system, which contributes to pretty much every other system that exists in the body. Because, believe it or not, every single thing that a person consumes affects the human experience. And the body has a hand in processing and dealing with everything that is put into it. A large part of that job rests with the liver.
What does the liver really do?
- Processes and cleans blood – Blood enters the liver through the portal vein carrying nutrients, medication, and toxins (like alcohol or drugs). The liver breaks it all down and either stores each substance in the fat cells, uses them as energy, alters it to be more useful, detoxifies them to get the ‘goody’ out, or sends it out of the body through the bowels. So, as any blood leaves the liver, it has gone through this purification process and is therefore much more useful to the body as a whole.
- Makes bile to help break down food – Bile is a substance that is produced by the liver and sent to the duodenum where it aids in the process of breaking down and absorbing fat. Bile is a key part of breaking down fats, absorbing vitamins and eliminating toxins. Bile production is absolutely necessary for proper digestion and health.
- Metabolizes carbohydrates, protein and fat – It is the liver that breaks down all fat, either coming in through the diet or being pulled out of the fat cells, to be used as energy for the body. When it comes to carbohydrates, it is the liver that works to maintain a consistent and constant blood sugar level. If there is a large intake of sugar, the liver will store excess sugar as glycogen. If there isn’t enough sugar in the system, the liver will release stored glycogen, breaking it down into sugar and releasing it into the bloodstream. Again, the liver is vital in the process of processing protein. Liver cells can take the amino acids from protein and turn them into carbohydrates or fats, depending on what the body needs. Did you catch that? Turn them into something else!! WOW!
- Produces some hormones – More and more discovery is happening about the liver as science progresses. In the past few years, as recently as 2021, researchers have found that the liver synthesizes 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is responsible for producing calcitriol. This is a part of the calcium absorption process in the gut. The liver also produces insulin-like growth factor 1: responsible for growth and regulating different metabolisms of nutrients. There are more hormones that the liver produces that you can check out by clicking here. Pretty cool stuff.
- Regulates the amount of blood in the body – This process of regulating the volume of blood in the body is called hepatic blood flow control. There are a lot of studies about how this works, but scientists actually don’t know. It’s that sophisticated! Read more about what they do know by checking out this study.
How does weight gain or loss affect the liver and its ability to function properly?
When a person gains weight, it does not all gather in fat cells on the outer edges of the body. That type of fat is called dermal fat, or fat that is just under the skin. While dermal fat will likely grow if a person gains weight, there will also be an expansion of fat around and in the major organs… specifically in the liver. This is often referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Most of the time, people don’t experience noticeable symptoms with NAFLD, but since the liver is in charge of so many different functions for the body as a whole, the processes can begin to be disrupted if the liver is not able to function properly.
Conversely, if a person who is overweight, and therefore possibly stressing the liver, losing weight in order to get to a more healthy weight can have benefits. If the functions of the liver that are listed above are lessened when the liver has extra fat, and therefore stress, added to it, then losing an appropriate amount of weight will only serve to benefit these functions. Lowering stress on the liver has been shown to lessen inflammation in the body.
How to support the liver
There are a few things to consider when liver support is the goal:
- What is your intake? Perhaps it is time to take inventory of the various things that you’re putting into your body. Think through what you eat, how much you eat, what your drink of choice is (besides water), how much do you drink, what types of medication are you using and when was the last time you had a conversation with your doctor to see if those are still the most appropriate choices (and they might be! Which is great!). It might also be worth considering what is stressing you out. So, things like news intake, what type of movies or shows you’re watching, the books you’re reading, the music you listen to… are these causing stress? If yes, consider taking a break. See how you feel.
- Consider a liver supportive cleanse. All-natural weight loss and detoxification drops by Skinny Up!® are one of the best ways to clear out fat cells, especially in the difficult to access places like around and in your major organs. Skinny Up!® customers have reported less systemic inflammation, better sleep, and energizing weight loss as a result of following the Skinny Up!® protocol and using the product. It is important to remember that lifestyle changes are the number one way to support the liver over your entire lifetime, but sometimes we need a structured protocol to get on the right track.
- Set some goals. It is difficult to take true and meaningful breaks from things like social media or the various screens that we’re around daily. Setting goals is a great way to turn what can feel like a “no” into a wonderful “yes!” Some examples might include learning to play a new card game, going on an evening walk as a family, or reading a new book series. Having a plan in place of how you’re going to use your time drastically improves your chances of succeeding in changing your habits.
- There are a few specific foods that support the liver. You could try adding in coffee, tea, grapefruit, blueberries, cranberries or anything on this list.
At Skinny Up!®, we know that the entire body is connected. So anything you can do to promote a holistic health approach will end up supporting the entire body. When we begin with the big organs and systems, adding support and removing harmful substances and habits, we can begin to live at new levels of health. If you are ready to kick-start your journey towards greater liver health (and whole system health), the Skinny Up!® Team is ready for you. Schedule a coaching call with the Skinny Up!® Team to discuss your goals or see if Skinny Up!® products would be a good fit for you.