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Why you need to love your liver

27 Jun 2013 3:08 PM - and signs and symptoms of an overworked liver

Your liver is a vital but often unappreciated organ.  

You are probably aware of your heart when it starts pounding as you run up a hill or run for the train.  Or you might pay attention to your lungs when you observe your breath, practice relaxation or if you suffer from asthma. But I’m guessing you spend your days completely oblivious to the critical role your liver plays in your health.  

Among its functions, your liver plays an important role in the safe digestion of everything you consume.  This includes all food and drink (including caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol).   Our digestion is responsible for breaking our foods down into glucose, amino acids, essential fats, vitamins and minerals. The by-products of all these complex chemical processes then need to be made safe for excretion.  This detoxifying activity is one of the main jobs of the liver.  

In addition, the liver is also responsible for protecting you from any external "toxins" you may take in.  These could include chemicals, food additives, pollution, pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol and a diet of highly processed foods.  

Furthermore, the liver is involved in the processing and regulation of your hormones, filtering the blood, production of bile to assist in fat digestion and storage of certain vitamins and minerals.

The liver is a very busy organ and a healthy, working liver is extremely important to maintenance of your good health.

What are the signs and symptoms of compromised liver function?

A liver struggling to cope with the demands of your lifestyle and diet may produce signs and symptoms such as:

  • constipation,

  • flatulence and bloating,

  • nausea,

  • bad breath,

  • migraines and headaches,

  • dark circles under the eyes or a yellow coating on the tongue,

  • fatigue,

  • loss of appetite,

  • skin problems,

  • immunity issues (including auto-immune conditions),

  • arthritis,

  • difficulty digesting fatty/rich foods

  • food intolerances. 

It can also result in hormone imbalances which can then lead to further symptoms such as poor libido, PMS, menstrual irregularities and problems with thyroid function for example.  Even anger can be a sign of an unhappy liver (ever heard the expression…”he is a bit liverish”?).

A liver that is struggling to perform its duties because of inadequate nutrients in the diet or simply because it can't cope with the amount of work required of it, may resort to prioritising its duties.  Often, removal of toxins from the body gets pushed down the list.

Those toxins will circulate in the blood stream or be stored in the body, until such time as the liver has the capacity to deal with them.  (Often these toxins are stored in fat cells and consequently sometimes difficulty losing weight can be exacerbated by poor liver function because the body needs that fat to safeguard toxins).

So, when was the last time you gave your liver a second thought? If you suffer from any of the above signs and symptoms, perhaps it’s time you showed it some love!

To get you started, here are some tips for how to love your liver

If you would like more personalised advice, call us on 03 9620 9503 for a naturopathy appointment and we will help you to identify the causes and improve your digestion so that those symptoms don't impact your enjoyment of life.

In good health,


Kaye Wright
Melbourne CBD

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