7 Early Symptoms of Liver Problems and Its Management
- The health of your liver affects your overall health.
- Symptoms often only show up when 90% of your liver is affected.
- The health of your liver can be restored by following the tips in this article.
Our liver is so important to our health we need to look out for the early symptoms of liver problems. I got so motivated to write this article and to start working on the health of my liver when I learned that the liver is the only organ in the body that can be regenerated fully, meaning it can grow back the healthy cells. Isn’t it is worth paying attention to and working on it?
Just imagine how amazing is that you have been drinking or eating junk all your life and just by adding some simple things in your life, in 2-3 years you can grow your liver back. Please stick with me until the end of the article as I will explain everything step by step including how to know if you have a bad functioning liver and how to reverse it using completely natural methods.
Your liver is the second largest organ in your body. It’s such an important organ that if it isn’t working properly it affects our whole body. Our kidneys, digestive system, heart and lungs, the lymphatic system, muscles, and even our brains are affected by our livers.
Main Functions of the Liver
1. Cleaning Your Blood ( Detox )
The liver is a cleanup factory where toxic substances that find their way into your body are received, filtered out and then repackaged into something your body can use or something that is now safe for removal.
These toxins come from the world around us. Chemicals, heavy metals, and even waste products made by our own bodies as they perform all the functions necessary for living.
Read more about the sources of toxins here (please link to Natural Full Body Detoxification Process: The Leading Medical Expert)
The liver produces a substance called bile that helps to digest the fats that we eat. The liver also makes sure that the energy and nutrients from our food can get distributed to where it’s needed in the body. In fact, everything that we eat or drink first gets processed by the liver before being distributed to the rest of the body.
3. Storing Energy
As you eat carbohydrates like rice or sweet potato, they are broken down into glucose which is then used as fuel for your body. The body doesn’t need all the glucose at once, so some of it is then stored in the liver as glycogen to be used again when necessary. The liver also stores certain vitamins and minerals to be used as need by our bodies.
4. Making Cholesterol
Contrary to what you may believe, cholesterol itself isn’t actually a bad thing, it’s when you are having the bad type LDL high or blood triglycerides are high. Cholesterol is very necessary for the structure of our cells and is an ingredient in bile, which breakdowns fats in the diet. Cholesterol is also used to make hormones, including your reproductive hormones. Without cholesterol, life is not possible.
What kills Liver cells
- Taking certain medications: The cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor raises the liver enzymes by 500 %. Elevated liver enzymes are an indication of an unhealthy liver. Overuse of NSAIDs like Tylenol kills liver cells as well. Any excess medication or supplement, even natural supplements, are not good for your liver cells.
- Alcohol: Everytime you drink, you kill liver cells. Excessively drinking can damage the liver beyond repair over time.
- Smoking: Smoking puts a lot of toxins into your body which is a massive burden on your liver just as constantly drinking alcohol is.
- Drugs: Illegal drugs are illegal for a reason. They are very toxic to the body. The liver is constantly damaged by these drugs as it tries to neutralize and get rid of them.
- Unhealthy diet: When you eat processed food, especially junk food, you are pumping your body full of sugar, trans fat, and excessive sodium which build up toxins in your body. If your diet consists of a lot of processed foods, you also run the risk of malnutrition which your body isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs. This affects your liver. Even excess fructose found in fruits as well, is bad for your liver.
- Poor sleeping habits: When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s not just your energy levels that are affected. It also causes your liver to not be able to break down fat properly. This can lead to fatty liver disease.
- Being overweight: Being overweight or obese, and especially excess fat around your middle puts a big strain on your liver.
Bad News about the Liver: You must take care when you see symptoms, this could mean that your liver health is worse than you may have thought.
Early Symptoms of Liver Problems
A build-up of toxins can cause excess abdominal fat. Toxins are also stored in our fat which is part of the problem, it’s not as easy to remove as water-soluble toxins that are sent to the kidneys to remove. The thyroid gland is also affected by toxins. You may pick up weight and struggle to lose it because the toxins may have caused an underactive thyroid.
Liver problems can also cause protein not to be digested efficiently which can lead to bloating. Liver problems also cause fluid retention which can occur in your stomach. Toxins also cause the rest of our body to go haywire and stop working as it should, including producing gas which can cause bloating. For example, H. pylori is a bacteria that release toxins that affect the gut.
2. Brain fog/Poor memory
Toxins also affect your brain. Your brain is 60% fat. As toxins are stored in fat, this means that they sometimes affect your brain. EMF or electromagnetic radiation is a big culprit. It’s released by all electronics when they’re plugged in. Wifi and Bluetooth are also a major contributor. While this may not make you think of toxins, they are a type of “pollution” that affect the way your brain works.
Mold and heavy metals like mercury in fish and arsenic in rice are also what are known as neurotoxins. A build-up of these toxins impairs the function of your brain causing brain fog, memory loss, and even other symptoms like depression and anxiety.
3. Body Odor/Bad Breath
Toxins clog your pores, including under your arms, this can trap bacteria from the outside and smells that come from inside you causing body odor. When you use antiperspirants, you may be making the situation worse because if you block the sweat you are hampering one of the ways the body gets rid of waste products.
Bad breath caused by toxins is to do once again with your gut. The same gasses caused by an unhealthy gut make their way out of your mouth.
4. Dry and Dark Patches Under Your Arms and Neck Area
Toxins known as endocrine disruptors mess up your hormones. These endocrine disruptors are common in personal care products. One of the most common sources that reach your underarms is deodorant, especially antiperspirant. Dark patches can be a sign of a toxin build-up or a problem in the liver.
Problems in the liver can cause a problem with fluid flow in the body which shows up as dry and itchy patches on the skin. Thyroid problems can also cause thick, dry, and itchy skin. You can say its one of the physical symptoms of liver problems.
When there is an overload of toxins and the body struggles to get rid of it, they can affect your skin because your body tries to get rid of the toxins that way. Acne is often a sign of this. The chemicals in the products we use can cause an irritation that leads to eczema or psoriasis.
As with dry skin patches, this could also be due to an imbalance in the fluids of your body, but often it’s also the effect of the toxins leaving through the skin. This early symptom of liver problems can be seen in adults.
As you will have seen in some of the above symptoms, the thyroid is affected by toxins. The way this happens is that the thyroid hormone that is active and controls most of the thyroid function is T3. But it needs to be converted to T3 from T4 and this happens in the liver. When the liver is struggling, this conversion will be affected.
This leads to an underactive thyroid which slows down your metabolism causes weight gain and often problems with your skin and energy levels too. Many people are put onto thyroid medication and find that it doesn’t work. This is because the liver is still needed to convert the medication. The health of your liver has a direct impact on your thyroid health.
The liver is also responsible for clotting the blood. An unhealthy liver can’t perform this function correctly. Signs that your blood isn’t clotting correctly are bruising easily or having bleeding gums, spider veins.
Good News: Let’s take steps to get a fully healthy liver in 2-3 years!
How to Improve the Health of Your Liver
For the Health of Your Liver
- Eat Organic: Pesticides and herbicides are a huge problem. They are also endocrine disruptors that the liver is tasked to remove from our bodies. Constantly eating food that contains pesticides places a burden on your already overtaxed liver.
- Broccoli: The number 1 food for the liver is broccoli. It re-enables detox pathways in the liver if they have been broken down. Eat it preferably steamed or sauteed. Have you seen a steamed broccoli? They’re vibrant green because chlorophyll (an antioxidant) gets released into the fiber. Cruciferous veggies also contain sulfur which binds to excess estrogen.
- Fiber: Fiber sweeps your intestines clean and makes sure the toxins end up in the toilet and not sticking around in your body. It also lowers your cholesterol levels. Women need 25 g and men 38 g per day. The top paleo sources of fiber (per cup) are leafy green vegetables (0.5 g- 5 g), beetroot (3.8 g), sweet potato (4 g), berries (3 g- 8 g) and seeds (+/- 5 g per tablespoon).
- Manage your blood sugar levels: All carbohydrate foods, not just sweet foods, but starches like potatoes, rice, bread, etc, as well as fruit, affect your blood sugar levels. Constantly occurring extreme fluctuations in your blood sugar levels cause insulin desensitization which is a risk factor for fatty liver disease. Choose healthier carbs like root vegetables and other veggies instead of refined carbs. Lower your carb intake to 40%
- Bitter foods: Bitter-tasting leafy greens like collards, broccoli, and swiss chard raise glutathione levels, an antioxidant that is essential for the detoxification process in the liver. They also contain sulfur which is used to produce bile. Other bitter foods good for the liver are bitter melon, cacao, and artichoke. The bitterness usually means there are enzymes that will benefit your other digestive organs too.
- Fresh Herbs: Herbs including turmeric, parsley, cilantro, coriander (cilantro seeds), milk thistle, dandelion, and oregano lower inflammation. Lowering the inflammation in your liver is important to prevent scarring. These herbs also boost glutathione production.
- Antioxidants: Matcha tea is full of antioxidants. Matcha tea is 10 times more powerful than green tea in terms of antioxidants. Goji berries and blueberries are also high in antioxidants. Vegetables are also great because they contain vitamin C which also has antioxidant properties. Make sure you eat a variety of veggies to get a variety of antioxidants.
- Healthy Proteins: So a healthy liver meal would be sulfur-rich veggies with some high-quality protein. This would be grass-fed animal proteins. Beans that have been soaked to destroy anti-nutrients are also a good source of protein. Protein and sulfur together aid in phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification of the liver.
- Beets: Beetroot doesn’t just contain fiber, but an antioxidant called betaine as well. Betaine helps your body to detox. Beetroot also contains anti-inflammatory compounds called betalains which are what gives beetroot its color. Be sure to eat 1/3 cup at least 3 times a week.
- Healthy fats: Fats are not bad if you are eating the right ones. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties. Saturated fat is also important for your hormones. Cholesterol when at a healthy level is crucial for healthy cells. Omega 6 is also good for you, but keep your intake down as it can cause inflammation in large quantities.
- Exercise: When you exercise you sweat out toxins and not just that, the fat in your liver is decreased. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in per week.
- Sauna: Saunas, especially infrared saunas are helpful in removing toxins from your body. Use the sauna after exercising for maximum benefit. Read more about the benefits of infrared saunas here.
Things that are Against the Health of Your Liver
- Antibiotics and Painkillers: Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for viral infections like colds and flu incorrectly and damage your gut and NSAIDs and other painkillers are a quick, temporary fix when we’re feeling ill. But they tax your liver because one of its functions is to get rid of toxins from medication too. You must be thinking how can we avoid antibiotics. Yes! There is a way.
- Fructose: Fructose is a type of sugar found mainly in fruit. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is the worst form and is found in sugary junk foods. Fructose goes straight to the liver and is converted into triglycerides (blood fat), unlike glucose which is used by every cell and organ in the body and is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for when it’s needed.
- Toxins: Try to minimize or avoid exposure to these toxins as much as possible. Read here about the solution to removing these toxins from your life. (Amrit, please link to Best Diet to Reverse Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver)
What is Cytochrome P450 and why you need to understand that
Though the name suggests a single substance, Cytochrome P450 is actually a group of 50 enzymes found in the liver. They work in your liver to transform toxins (especially medication) into a form that can be removed from your body in the later phases of detoxification. These enzymes can even cause problems with the absorption of necessary medication treating valid conditions.
But so often the problem is the opposite and they don’t work correctly to detox your body like they’re meant to. Cytochrome P450’s ability to detox your body decreases when it becomes overburdened by constantly having to rid the body of toxins.
Sometimes genes can cause this, but in most cases, it’s caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. There are things that you can do to make sure cytochrome P450 works correctly again, however.
Boost your Cytochrome P450 Activity:
- Only use medication when necessary. Rather use natural remedies instead of always reaching for a pill.
- Eat a healthy diet full of the foods that support your body’s detoxing process.
- Exercise is a great way to help your body to detox as well and boost the health of your liver.
- Try to avoid toxins like heavy metals and pollution.
Often symptoms of a poorly functioning liver show up in the later stages when 90% of your liver is already affected. Even if you do not have any symptoms, if you have an unhealthy lifestyle your liver is likely affected. Help your liver out by adopting these healthy lifestyle changes and do a gentle liver detox. You can find out more about how to detox here. (Amrit, please link to 9 Incredible Liver Cleansing Herbs and Supplements You Should Be Eating)
- Things that affect the health of your liver negatively are obesity, poor sleeping habits, an unhealthy diet, unnecessary and excessive medication, and toxins.
- Symptoms of a poorly functioning liver are bloating, potbelly, brain fog, bad breath, body odor, dry or dark patches under your arms and neck area, eczema, psoriasis, acne, thyroid problems, and bruising easily.
- You can support the health of your liver by eating organic food, increasing your fiber intake, managing your blood sugar levels, eating healthy proteins and a wide variety of vegetables especially cruciferous and bitter vegetables.
- Include herbs like turmeric, parsley, cilantro, coriander, milk thistle, dandelion, and oregano in your diet.
- Antioxidant-rich foods like beetroot, matcha tea, and broccoli are incredibly beneficial.
- Exercising and making use of the sauna afterward is a great way to detox your body.
Have you been experiencing any of these early symptoms of liver problems? What has helped you clear them up?
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- 12 Urgent Symptoms of Liver Disease (and what to do to fix it)
- 3 Ways to Get Enough Fiber on a Paleo Diet
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