The inspiration for this post came from an office challenge we’re about to undertake. Our naturopath, Dr. Julie, has challenged the staff and our clients to undergo a 14-day liver detox starting June 17th. While nervous about what might happy in an office full of people withdrawing from coffee simultaneously, we were all excited to buckle down and clean our livers! But why? In a quest to answer the numerous questions from our clients, I turned to where else…Google, and here’s what I found:
As the second largest organ in your body, skin being the largest, the liver acts as the first line of defense for anything entering the body. It’s located just below the right rib cage and is responsible for some of the most crucial processes of your body. Physically speaking it weighs in at more than 3 pounds, is about 8 inches long, and is made up of four spongy porous chambers.
The few times that your liver comes up in casual conversation, I would bet that it usually it is mentioned with something along the lines of, “I’m sure my liver is not happy about that third martini I had last night.” Truth be told, the liver does many more impressive tasks than helping process the alcohol from one too many after-work aperitifs.
As we grow and develop as a child, the liver takes a front row seat. It starts by creating the blood that circulates throughout your system and continues to create it on a regular basis. Red blood cells are replaced, on average, every 120 days and are essential to oxygenating the rest of your body’s organs. As an adult, it continues to create proteins for building muscles and the clotting factors needed to stop the flow of blood when you scrape your knee or get a paper cut. The liver is all about making and preserving your blood– your lifeline.
Now that you’re alive and moving thanks to fresh red blood cells, your liver moves into its metabolic responsibilities. Like a battery, the liver stores carbohydrates, fats, iron and a whole slew of other vitamins and minerals, releasing them when your blood sugar falls too low or your energy takes a dive bomb. How does it do all this? By making and excreting bile. Bile is what aids in the breaking down and digestion of all foods we consume. If the liver didn’t make enough bile, the nutrients from that apple you had for breakfast wouldn’t never make it into your system.
One of the liver’s other main functions, and it’s most commonly known function, is to filter toxins that enter the body. Toxins that we encounter every day take a variety of forms. From alcohol and drugs, both prescription and illegal, to car exhaust and other air pollutants, toxins are constantly being carried through the blood to the liver to be dealt with. A healthy liver can help defend the rest of your body against cold and flu germs as well.
With all that you liver does, don’t you think it deserves a little TLC? It is recommended to specifically detox the liver twice per year. Detox programs take a variety of forms from dietary changes to supplements and a combination of both. Talk with your health care provider about the best detox for you and show your liver some love this summer!
And because part of our office’s liver cleanse involves adopting a mostly paleo diet for two weeks, check out this recipe for actual liver and onions where I found the picture used above.