Timing is Everything!
We are in the most magical time of the year to start talking about your Liver!
For the next 50 days, we will be learning about new ways to support one of your most fascinating organs. This Liver focus will come to an end on the Winter Solstice. Leaving YOU feeling refreshed and supported as we head into the holiday celebrations and the darkest, coldest months of winter.
If you are going the liver challenge late, no worries; I will archive them on the side with the tag: LiverLove followed by the day of each post. For example, today’s will be LiverLove1.
For today, I will teach you the most basic concepts of your liver. Both from a traditional chinese medicine standpoint AND a basic physiological standpoint.
Get out your notebooks and get ready- this requires some participation on your end! Also, make sure to subscribe to our email list, we will be sending out extra goodies all month, exclusively to subscribers.
Now, on to the LIVER!
The Physiological Basics
The liver is the largest organ in the body, tucked up under the right rib cage. This mighty organ weighs about 2.4- 3 POUNDS!
With over 500 different functions of the liver, it is hard to narrow it all down, but these are the top ones:
- Bile production
- Storage of iron, vitamins and trace elements
- Detoxification of chemicals and metabolization of drugs
- Conversion of waste products for excretion by the kidneys
- Produces proteins important for blood clotting and other functions
- Regulates blood sugar
- Processing of hemoglobin for use of it’s iron content (the liver stores iron)
- Energy Production
The Love LOBES
The liver is functionally divided into two lobes, right and left– each side with it’s own blood supply and drainage. This is why you can take out a significant portion of the liver and it will regrow.
Both lobes perform the same functions- there are no areas of specialization.
When blood enters the liver, it is screened by the hepatic sinusoids. This process helps to remove any pathogens that manage to get past the GI defenses.
(IMPORTANT side note: to those with leaky gut syndrome- the liver becomes overloaded by things that should have been screened by the gut).
The plasma is then filtered through the lining of the sinusoids and bathes the hepatocytes; which are cells tasked with breaking down and metabolizing most of what has been absorbed.
The portal venous blood contains all of the products of digestion absorbed from the GI tract, so all useful and non-useful products are processed in the liver before being either released back to the blood supply or stored in the liver for later use.
The liver has the greatest regenerative capacity of any organ in the body. Liver regeneration has been recognized for many years, dating all the way back to ancient Greek mythology.
This well-known aspect of regeneration ends up hurting the liver, since it allows people to believe that the liver is resilient enough to handle extreme abuse.
The truth is, in this modern world, we are breathing in fumes & chemicals all day long! Most of us are eating foods sprayed with chemicals. We also have the highest amount of tech/electronic stress in human history.
If there was ever an organ that needed us to treat it well- it is would be the liver.
Blood Sugar Regulation &
Glucose is stored in the body in the form of glycogen. While all cells are capable of storing some glycogen, liver cells are uniquely able to store up to 5 to 8 per cent of their weight as glycogen.
One of the important functions of the liver is turn glycogen into glucose (glycogenises) and release it into the blood as needed. This helps to maintain a mostly constant energetic balance/blood sugar balance. A dysfunctional liver will result in a wild swing of blood sugars.
There are four primary liver functions involved with fat metabolism:
1. The release of energy from the breakdown and burning of fatty acids and the formation of acetic acid
2. The formation of lipoproteins
3. The formation of cholesterol and phospholipids that are found in cell membranes and intracellular structures throughout the body
4. The conversion of large quantities of carbohydrates to fat.
In addition, the secretion of bile salts neutralizes the acidified food from the stomach. Bile also stimulates natural intestinal peristalsis that helps regulate bowel movement.
So, basically, we all have liver problems?
Slow down! It is perfectly normal for every human to fluctuate between a state of homeostasis and imbalance. What you need to do, is look for the patterns and frequency of imbalance.
In western medicine, a fairly LARGE portion of the liver has to be impacted before you will start to see the modern test results creeping into the dis-ease or illness ranges.
This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine helps to guide us. The guideposts are subtle, but telling. By following the breadcrumbs that our body is leaving us, we can find true health and balance. It is a matter of staying open and aware. And LOVING. Join us for Day 2 where we cover the the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We will start this 50 day adventure with an intention setting exercise!
What is Next?
Each day for the next 50 days, we will be sharing ways to Love your liver with food, drinks, exercise and other healing modalities. Our focus is NOT to “detox” in an aggressive way.
You see, everyone has it all wrong! Your liver is this big friendly Giant, hanging around doing the thankless work of keeping you alive, waiting to be loved.
So we are going to start there.
An Offering of Love
Today, you will write a love letter to your liver. I suggest getting yourself a new journal for this 50 day journey. Start on the first page, with a love letter of intent.
As an example, I will share my love letter.
Dear Lovely Liver,
I know that we have been together for 36.89 years, and I know that you have been serving me faithfully that entire time. When we started dating back in 2008, I was obsessed with you, and I treated you so well. The love affair was new and exciting, as I hadn’t ever felt so happy and whole! Unfortunately, I started to take you for granted, and then stressors and poor food choices caused you to have to work all the time while I just went about my day. I rarely checked in with you, or how you felt.
I can do better. Over the next 50 days, I am going to nourish you and our relationship. I am going to take some of the burdens off of you, so that you can rest and be restored. There is no other organ that can do what you do! You keep the toxins out of my body, you help me stay calm and centered. When you are clear, I see things clearly. When you are happy, I am happy.
I love you,