Understanding Liver & Gallbladder Health
The Liver and Gallbladder: A relationship of Yin and Yang
Liver/Gallbladder: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Liver is the organ responsible for the smooth flow of emotions, as well as Qi and blood. It is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions. The Liver's partner organ is the Gallbladder.
Physical symptoms of liver and gallbladder Qi blockage include:
Headaches, anxiety and heart palpitations, fatigue, muscle and joint pains, sciatica, knee pain, shoulder/neck pain, heartburn, belching, eye conditions, digestive problems, constipation, skin and nasal allergies, tendonitis, weak nails, and menstrual cramps.
Emotional symptoms of liver and gallbladder Qi blockage include anger, irritability, frustration, depressive feelings, impatience, sense of being stuck and lacking direction in life, and inability to make critical decisions.
Why do I need to be concerned about supporting my Liver/gallbladder?
An unhealthy liver is the cause of numerous chronic illnesses and disorders. It is one of the most neglected and disregarded organs in our body; and yet, it is vital in the process of protecting us from the toxins we are confronted with every day. It is also a required component in the efforts to maintain a healthy weight. For anybody trying to lose weight, a healthy balanced liver is a must.
What does a healthy liver/gallbladder do?
The liver and gallbladder play a major role in the digestive process. They act as a comprehensive body detoxifier. Health threatening toxins accumulate in the liver. The liver system must be able to break down toxins before they are excreted, ultimately via the colon or kidneys.
If toxins, oils, fats, sugars and hormones are not processed properly, the body will store them as cysts or nodules, weight gain, bloating and numerous disorders.
Some signs of an unhealthy liver/gallbladder system:
A toxic or congested condition may manifest in one or more of the following symptoms: Allergies, anxiety (with or without heart palpitations), poor digestion, acid reflux, bloating or weight gain, irregular bowel function, urinary urgency, frequent nausea and headaches, coated tongue and bad breath, skin rashes, eczema, acne, hypothyroid, menstrual discomfort and irregularities.
Symptoms of dysfunction can result in chronic fatigue syndrome, immune disorders, high blood pressure and cholesterol, cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, liver cancer and liver failure.
What causes a sluggish, congested, or unhealthy liver?
Our lifestyles subject us to stressful living. The typical American diet is harsh on the liver and gallbladder. Improper diets high in carbohydrates, saturated and hydrogenated fats can be hard on the liver and GB. Diets low in quality protein do not provide the building blocks for repairing the body and stimulating the immune system. Processed foods, white sugar, white flour, junk foods and imitation foods, which are void of natural nutrients, can exhaust the liver. A common problem, which adds overwork and strain to the system, is overeating.
Today’s environment and foods are filled with pesticides, insecticides, toxic chemicals, preservatives, etc. With time, the accumulation of toxins and waste can contribute to chronic health disorders. Alcohol, tobacco products, drugs and pharmaceuticals place extra stress on the liver.
Other vital roles that a healthy Liver/Gallbladder is responsible for:
Converts fat to energy
Involved in the production of “good” cholesterol
Helps in the synthesis of fatty acids from amino acids and sugar
Secretes bile (necessary for the digestion of fats)
Stimulates the intestine by promoting peristalsis, which helps prevent constipation (a common precursor to chronic diseases)
Regulates thyroid function by converting thyroxin into a more usable and active form.
Produces GTF (glucose tolerance factor), which acts with insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Stores the fat soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K; assimilates calcium and converts beta-carotene to vitamin A.
Coupled with appropriate eating habits, healthy liver function can also stimulate natural weight-loss. A healthy liver can promote fat metabolism and lower cholesterol levels.
The foods most troublesome are: Sour, Acidic, Spicy
Citrus – lemons, oranges, key lime, limes, grapefruit
Tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, apple cider vinegar, pickles, olives
Spicy – hot peppers, wasabi, mustard, hot sauce
Oily/greasy/ slimy – mayonnaise, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, certain dairy products (like thick Greek yogurt, hummus, bar-b-q sauce, oil pulling (on teeth), peanut butter and nut butters, coconut oil/paste, fatty foods.