January 18, 2017

Liver Cleansing for Optimal Health

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“I can’t eat that! I’m on a detox.” You’ve probably heard this phrase by now. Detoxing and cleansing have become quite the trends lately. As natural health methods and healing become more mainstream, I partly find this exciting, but, I also want to roll my eyes.

I have found, for the most part, that people who are detoxing don’t fully understand why they are doing what they are doing. They blindly jump on the detox bandwagon because they hear it can help them lose weight.

Although detoxing can help you lose weight, there are so many more benefits to a good clean out. But, it is a process that should be carefully considered and taken seriously. Detoxification is far more than an attempt at weight loss. It is a process that can change your life.

Most detoxes and cleanses today focus on: eliminating something (e.g., sugar, gluten, etc.); weight loss (via fasting or juice cleanses); or colon cleansing. Although these are fantastic cleanses, they only scratch the surface of detoxification.

In the deluge of detoxes, one of the most important organs goes unnoticed: the liver. This large and overloaded organ truly deserves its turn at detoxifying.

The word “liver” is derived from the word “life”, and rightly so! Your liver literally gives your body life every single day by performing over 300 functions! Some of the liver’s functions include:

  • Storing iron for hemoglobin production
  • Filtering out bacteria and resisting infections by producing immune factors
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Contributing to digestion
  • Regulating amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the blood
  • Removing toxic compounds from the blood
  • Removing and inactivating excess hormones

Signs of a Stressed Liver

signs of a stressed liverLiver detoxification is essential for keeping your liver at optimal functioning capacity. Because the liver filters so many toxins day in and day out, it can become sluggish and struggle to work efficiently. You may begin to show signs of liver impairment like:

  • Hormonal imbalance (PMS, Menstrual cramping, PCOS)
  • Acne, rosacea or psoriasis
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Joint Pain
  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating)

Chinese medicine recognizes some interesting signs when your liver is under stress.

The first symptom is waking up between the hours of 1 and 3 am every night. According to the Chinese medicine’s meridian clock, each organ has a 2-hour time segment in which it is most active. The liver belongs to the 1-3 am time frame.

Secondly, your face can also tell you if you have some liver impairment. Vertical lines between your eyebrows are often referred to as the “liver lines.” I personally saw my liver line fade dramatically after completing a liver cleanse.

Wrinkles aren’t just a part of aging. In Chinese medicine, the lines in our face tell a story of what is happening in our body! Broken capillaries and redness of your left cheek towards the bridge of your nose can be a sign of inflammation or congestion in the liver.

Lastly, your eyes can manifest symptoms of liver dysfunction. Many of you know that if the whites of your eyes change yellow, it is a sign of jaundice. The liver’s inability to properly break down bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

A white ring around your iris can be a sign of fatty buildup in the blood. Since the liver breaks down fat and cholesterol, this can also be an indicator that the liver isn’t working as it should.

Cyour liver is stressed ifhinese medicine also assigns different emotions to different organ systems. Anger, frustration and resentment are emotions associated with the liver. If you often find yourself dealing with these emotions, your liver may need some attention. Beyond the relational, psychological, and spiritual reasons for not holding onto anger and resentment, there are real physical reasons as well. Carrying around these emotions can cause liver problems. Forgiving and letting go of these toxic emotions can keep you healthy physically and in every other respect!

Clean Eating for Liver Health

I believe that every adult could benefit from liver detoxification. We live in a toxic world and no matter how hard we try, we are exposed daily to chemicals and harmful substances. Our liver is the organ responsible for filtering these destructive components out of our body. It bears the brunt of these toxins to save us from being poisoned on a regular basis.

But the liver, being self-sacrificing, can become damaged from toxic exposure. It can also become congested from the massive amount of fat and cholesterol it has to process. Thankfully, the liver is an organ designed to regenerate.

The liver can reconstruct and restore healthy liver cells to optimal function if given the proper attention. This amazing process is the reason why liver detoxification can change your life!

Not every organ in your body can return to normal after being damaged or impaired. Giving the liver a healthy reboot can move you from a diseased state to one of good health.

Liver detoxification starts with what you eat. You cannot expect your liver to repair itself if it continues to be bombarded with toxic substances from the food you eat. Perhaps you have heard of Clean Eating. Clean Eating is a style of eating that truly encompasses its name. “Clean” means free from contaminates or unwanted matter. Eating a clean diet is one of the best ways to repair and rejuvenate the liver. To engage in a clean diet:[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

  • Eliminate processed foods: This includes packaged, canned, and frozen meals. Also, avoid white flour, white sugar, and artificial ingredients of any kind.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake: Adding two to three servings of veggies to each meal can boost your intake and fill you up. For a healthy snack between meals, choose fruit.
  • Cut out unhealthy fats: This includes hydrogenated oils, most vegetable oils, and fried foods. You can, however, use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil in moderation.
  • Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: A glass a day of red wine is typically okay. However, alcohol puts stress on the liver and should be completely eliminated while detoxing.
  • Exclude sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use other sweeteners like honey and stevia sparingly.
  • Reduce your grain intake by at least half and cut out gluten completely. Instead of wheat, incorporate a little quinoa, rice, or oatmeal into your daily diet. Grains should be a small part of your daily food intake.
  • Limit your dairy intake and only use organic or rBgh-free dairy products. Raw dairy from a local farmer is best. Using grass-fed butter is also fine. But while liver detoxing, lowering your intake of healthy fat can be helpful in giving the liver a rest.
  • Consume only healthy sourced meats: Feedlot meats contain antibiotics and growth hormones. Not to mention, the conditions are dreadful and unsanitary. Find a local farmer, or quality meat at a local health food market. Farmer’s markets often have locally raised beef and chicken. Also, be wary of high mercury fish like salmon and tuna.

Herbs for Liver Detoxification

Eating a clean diet can dramatically benefit your liver by decreasing its toxic load. But, detoxifying herbs and supplements can take your liver from being exhausted, to rejuvenated! There are specific herbs that stimulate liver cells to regenerate, neutralize toxins, cleanse and unclog the liver.

I must note that you should never begin a liver detox before first cleansing the colon. If your colon is not cleansed, toxins on their way out of the body from your liver get stuck in your waste. When this happens, your system reabsorbs these toxins and you lose the progress you’ve made. Having a clean, functioning colon helps facilitate these toxins out of the body where they belong!

I recommend beginning your clean diet a week before starting a liver cleansing supplement regime. During this week, you can take supplements, which stimulate bowel movements and help clear the colon, readying it for the liver cleanse. One great supplement is Renew Life’s Cleansemore or Bowel Cleanse. You can continue colon-cleansing supplements after you begin to add the liver cleansing herbs. This will keep toxins moving efficiently out of the body.

There are 5 specific herbs that I recommend for liver detoxification.

5 herbs for liver detoxDandelion

This pesky weed is a very effective herb for your liver! It not only helps cleanse the liver, but also contributes to regenerating liver cells! Dandelion removes excess water from the body and increases bile production. Increasing bile boosts detoxification of toxic substances out of the body.

Milk Thistle

This herb is by far the #1 used natural remedy for the liver. In Europe, doctors prescribe milk thistle to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol-induced liver damage. It has the remarkable ability to both protect the liver, as well as stimulate regeneration of damaged liver tissue. Milk thistle is also an antioxidant and protects the body’s cells from free radical damage. Silymarin is the active component in milk thistle. For optimum results, look for milk thistle containing at least 80% silymarin.

Burdock root

Primarily known as a blood purifier; burdock is also a fantastic liver cleanser. It stimulates bile flow and protects liver cells with its many natural antioxidant compounds.

Artichoke

Artichoke contains compounds called caffeoylquinic acids, which have liver restorative properties. They both protect liver cells and prevent further damage. Artichoke also stimulates the flow of bile, thereby helping the liver and gallbladder break down fats.

Turmeric

This bright orange spice is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It not only protects the liver, but also stimulates the restoration of healthy liver cells. Turmeric aids in liver detoxification and reduces inflammation. The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. Turmeric that contains at least 90% curcuminoids produces the greatest results.

Most quality liver cleansing supplements will contain at least three of these five powerful herbs. My personal favorite is by Enzymatic Therapy. I have used it several times and often recommend it to others. It contains all five herbs and is a two-week regimen that can be repeated, as necessary. Taking the time to cleanse and detoxify your liver can bring new life to your whole body!

Give your liver the restoration it needs by eating a clean diet and using liver cleansing supplements. Your skin will clear, your energy levels increase, and your digestion will be strengthened. Many also see their cholesterol and blood pressure drop to healthy levels after a liver cleanse. Don’t ignore your liver any longer! Begin your journey today towards a cleaner, happier, and healthier life!

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

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Successfully Beat Lupus The Natural Way

By Amanda Box, N.D.

At just 19 years old, I had been working at the local health food store for just a couple of months.  I absolutely loved working there and was absorbing everything like a sponge.  I knew even then, that this was the path I was supposed to head down for my career.  This was where “true health” resided.  Not at the bottom of a diet coke can or a box of low fat cookies.

I remember when we had a special guest named Pam come and speak to the staff. I sat there inquisitively, taking in everything she had to say.  I was intrigued and wanted to know how she went from sick to well using only natural foods and products.

Pain Lupus symptoms by flickr Phoney NickleShe started by saying, “I had Lupus.  My doctors gave me no hope for relief and my symptoms continued to worsen. But, then my friend from California told me about natural medicine.  I connected with a Naturopath who helped me make dramatic changes in my life and health.  Now I have been Lupus free for over 5 years!”

I didn’t even know what Lupus was at the time.  I had never heard of it!  But, once she described her symptoms and elaborated on how miserable they made her life, I knew how serious it was.  Her symptoms, were typical of Lupus.  She battled with:

  • Constipation
  • Painful joints
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Rashes and dry skin, especially on her face
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain

The passion with which she spoke gave me confirmation, even as a young 19 year old, that natural remedies work!  Many of the remedies she spoke of, I remember to this day and will be included in this article.  If you suffer from Lupus, fear not!  Wellness is just a few steps away!

A Clean Start

The first thing Pam did to beat her Lupus was to cleanse and detoxify her body.  Many times autoimmune disorders are birthed out of an accumulation of toxic chemicals in the body.  Many toxins, like the ones in our environment, are virtually unavoidable.  We eat, breath, and sleep amongst them every single day. There is:

  • Mold in the air breathe…
  • BPA in many of the plastics we drink and eat from…
  • And fluoride and chlorine in the water we drink…
  • These toxins are linked to allergies, birth defects and even cancer.

Everyone’s body is different and some of us process toxins out of our body’s much easier and more efficiently than others.  However, there are some whose body’s become bombarded from the accumulation of toxins and disease results, such as Lupus.

Pretty much anyone could benefit from a fresh start, whether you have an autoimmune disorder or not!  I recommend it to nearly to all my clients.  Cleansing and detoxification facilitates the removal of the accumulated toxic waste in our bodies. It is a foundational principle in Naturopathic Medicine and has been practiced for centuries!

The main organs you want to focus on cleansing are the colon and the liver. These are the two primary organs that deal with the processing and removal of waste from the body.  Once accumulated toxins are cleansed from the colon and liver, then your body can better focus on healing and repairing itself.  As a result, you will naturally decrease inflammation in the body and prevent further tissue damage from in the joint, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain. Your body can then take full advantage of healing itself.

When detoxing, always begin by cleansing

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8 Tips For Cleansing and Weight Loss

Most people think of bowel cleansing when they hear the term cleansing, but it means a lot more than that. Below are eight little-known facts about cleansing and weight loss.

1.    According to some natural health experts, most people carry excess undigested fecal matter in their colon.

The sooner they begin to eliminate it, the better they feel. When it comes to weight loss, the weight lost through the elimination of fecal matter is weight permanently lost. (See #8 fore more information on the colon.)

2.    A healthy body is clean and lean.

Each organ that eliminates waste in the body can be cleansed. The primary organs that detoxify the body are the:

  • Skin
  • Colon
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Blood and lymphatics

Body wrap experts report that when cleansing formulas for the liver are started a few days before the body wrap, the inches lost increases at least 20%.

3.    Our body accumulates chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals or other poisons in fat cells throughout the body.

It’s believed that the greater the accumulation of these toxins in the body, the harder it is for the fat cell to break down. That’s one reason why it’s difficult to lose weight.

A herb that supports the liver and kidneys is always beneficial when a person is trying to lose weight because these internal organs perform many roles related to digestion and metabolism.

The liver is the body’s major internal detoxification organ, successfully binding up any chemicals, pesticides or metabolic intermediates that need to be removed from the body because they will cause harm. Binding them takes them out of direct circulation and eliminates them through the kidneys and the colon. Using the herb couchgrass helps speed up this process.

Couchgrass supports the liver and kidneys and has been used historically for liver complaints, to treat jaundice. It protects the urinary tubules against infection and increases the volume of urine, flushing out irritants and chemicals along the way.

4. Filtered water and detoxification through cleansing can make a big impact on your overall health.

If you’re trying to flush waste out of your body, it only makes sense that you drink water that doesn’t have waste in it!

If you haven’t heard, a whole slew of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anticonvulsant meds, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — can be found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.

If you don’t think you can afford a water filtration system, then check out the costs of kidney dialysis… over $1 Billion per year in the U.S. It may cost patients as much as $30K per month… do the math for the co-pay.

The kidneys are pretty small internal organs by weight, but they receive a huge amount – about 20% – of the blood pumped by the heart each minute. Every day, your kidneys process and cleanse about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products.  Be mindful of your ‘machine.’ Love and nurture it and it will, by nature, take care of you.

5.   Cleansing always requires drinking more water than what is usually drank during the day.

Experts recommend as little as 1 ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight and as much as 1 ounce for every 1 pound body weight.

6.    Cleansing formulas often contain herbs and supplements that support the organ that are being cleansed.

Some formulas add herbs, minerals or supplements that may contribute to weight loss.

Minerals help buffer toxins and provide vital nutrients to cells. In fact, your overall health is tied closely to the minerals consumed in the diet. When it comes to herbs that contain a lot of minerals, hydrangea is quite interesting because it contains:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Silicon
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Sodium
  • Cobalt
  • Phosphorus
  • Tin
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

In research studies, calcium, chromium and zinc have been found to have a link to weight loss. Calcium supplements may improve weight loss. Chromium deficiency is tied to blood sugar irregularities that can create the “munchies” and drive people to the refrigerator, vending machines and fast food restaurants as if they are mindless zombies. Zinc deficiency can cause appetite loss that interferes with eating regular meals and results in the person eating only one meal per day, thus gaining more weight.

The mineral content of hydrangea, historically used as a kidney cleansing herb, can potentially assist in the creation of a lot of benefits and there are other active ingredients in the herb. Hydrangea also has appreciable amounts of rutin and quercetin, two components of the vitamin C complex. One research study found greater antioxidant power and liver cleansing properties than the combination of milk thistle and turmeric. (Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 2003)

7.    Cleansing formulas may also contain herbal blends to improve the function of the kidneys, GI tract, gall bladder and liver.

This can indirectly assist in weight loss by creating a more healthy system overall.

Little is known about the impact chickweed can have on those who want to lose weight with detox, but it is especially valuable in purifying and cleansing the system. Chickweed assists the body in releasing fat while supplying missing nutrients. Chickweed is high in calcium, magnesium, manganese, cobalt, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and vitamin A.

Susan Weed, well-known herbalist, reports that chickweed may have a regulating effect on the thyroid, which can definitely assist with weight loss. She thinks of it as a metabolic balancer. The saponins in chickweed emulsify the fat cells, assisting in their breakdown.

8.    When cleansing, it’s important to start detoxifying the skin or colon before any other organ, even though liver cleanses may facilitate greater weight loss.

This is because toxins released from the liver will have no open route to leave the body. They end up getting re-circulated throughout the body, causing headaches, joint aches and pains, fatigue and skin breakouts. Always cleanse the skin or colon first!

Many people worry about colon cleansing because they have heard that diarrhea can cause loss of water and electrolytes, which of course can lead to dehydration and death. This is understandable but not true because colon cleansing is not meant to cause diarrhea.

junk food garbage bin by Flickr windkeeper

Our intestinal tract should be used as a processing plant for the food we eat, not as a storage bin. “Some food in … some food out” is the motto of someone with healthy colon function. However, think about it. If you ate three meals yesterday, were three meals eliminated? If not, what happened to the fecal matter? Most likely, it’s still sitting in the processing plant, but the problem is that the longer it sits there, the more toxic the matter becomes.

If you add in the factor of not drinking enough water, now that toxic matter gets hard in the colon and sometimes “stuck.” The purpose of a colon cleanse is to gently stimulate the colon to release its contents, thereby decreasing your body’s overall toxicity level. When you think about it, colon cleansing is safe; living with a toxic colon is unsafe!

In fact, it is possible to die from a toxic colon. The medical condition is called autointoxication and the person literally dies because their body accumulated too much waste matter.

Colon cleansers are generally safe. In the initial days of using them, it’s possible to have a little diarrhea as the body is clearing itself of the toxic fecal matter. This should stop within a few days. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel when all that old matter is gone, and surprised about how easy it is to eat healthy foods afterward. It’s as if all the toxins in the old fecal matter prevented you from eating junk food.

Try a good colon cleanse and evaluate its health benefits today!

“Health is wealth”—though this is an age-old saying, it holds good even today. Undeniably, health is one of the most indispensable assets in life! You might possess all other forms of wealth, but to enjoy them you need to be healthy and lead a disease-free life. The best medicine is no medicine. You could prevent the many diseases by performing a body cleanse. What type of body cleanse have you tried with success?

Roger Asmus entered a fitness competition and won the Mr. Teenage Colorado in 1991. He was later named Mr. Mile High in 1996 and achieved his dream when he was proudly awarded the title of Mr. Natural Colorado in 1998. Roger has been highly sought after as a model and authority in the fitness world, appearing in national news and magazines sources. Roger is currently one of the top personal trainers in the country and is president of Core Health Innovations™.

 

 

 

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