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The lowdown on liver cleansing

Reference #: 920
Submit Date: 02 Jul 2007
Browse Category: liver
Author: none
Email Address: none
Treatment used: multiple treatments
You can buy this remedy at: health food store
Remedy will cost you: unknown
Country of Remedy: USA
Remedy Source: folklore
More Links about this Remedy: http://www.cenvall.com/liver.htm
# Comments posted to this remedy: 0
Complaints Reported: 0
# of times remedy read: 15,977


Dosage Info:
Typical Dosage: unknown
Dosage should be related to weight: unknown
 
Dosages used in clinical trials are significant: unknown
Maximum dosages in relation to side effects and serious side effects: unknown
Other foods/nutrients/medications that can affect absorption or utilization: unknown
Foods that provide the nutrient recommended as a remedy (or reference giving same): unknown



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Browse: liver

Remedy Description

KEEPING IT CLEAN: THE LOWDOWN ON LIVER CLEANSING





I tend to focus a lot on nutrition; putting the right type and amount

of food into the body to get the right physical 'look' on stage and

high level of performance in the gym. I pay a lot of attention to

which supplements will help improve recovery, burn fat, increase

strength etc, but I've never really taken much notice of preventative

medicine, herbs or ways of enhancing nutrition by improving the

function of the liver or other major bodily organs, until now that

is! After talking to a few of the Pro's about their diets and

nutrition ideas, there seemed to be a common theory that kept popping

up: Liver Cleansing.



So what is Liver Cleansing and why is it important, particularly to a

bodybuilder? I'd heard of the liver cleansing diet but never really

looked into it. I also knew the liver has many important functions

and it's 'health' is critical to our overall health, but I realized I

really needed to do a little more research into the subject.

Hopefully what I've learned (and put into practice) about supplements

to help cleanse your liver will help you get that extra 10% from all

the good work you're already doing in the nutrition department, and

lead to even greater and more noticeable results in your performance

and appearance.



WHAT THE LIVER DOES (and why it's important to keep it clean!)

The liver is our second largest organ. It produces bile, necessary

for fat breakdown, and detoxifies pollutants that enter our

bloodstream. The liver is the cleanser and filter of the blood

stream. The liver filter is designed to remove toxic matter such as

dead cells, microorganisms, chemicals (including supplements), drugs

and particulate debris from the blood stream.



As we are exposed to more and more pollutants, via the air, the food

we eat (pesticides, damaged fats, artificial sweeteners, chemically

altered supplements), 'medicines' we take (pain relievers, birth

control pills, etc), the liver must work harder and harder, so we need

to have healthy livers to break down these chemicals. Every

artificial chemical, pesticide and hormone, is broken down

(metabolized) by enzyme pathways inside the liver cells so the more

chemicals it is exposed to, the more easily its detoxification systems

are overloaded.



Many of the toxic chemicals that enter the body are fat-soluble hence

they tend to be stored in fat tissue where they may stay for years,

being released during times of exercise, stress or fasting. You may

be doing fine until you decide to get in shape again or diet down for

a competition and all of a sudden you start to tap into your highly

toxic fat stores!



The liver filter, like any filter, needs to be cleansed regularly, and

it is much easier and safer to do it everyday rather than by using a

radical temporary method such as fasting.



SYMPTOMS YOUR LIVER NEEDS A CLEAN

Digestive Disorders:



Poor digestion, abdominal bloating, nausea especially after eating

fatty foods, weight gain around the abdomen and constipation. If you

wake up in the morning with bad breath and/or a coated tongue, your

liver definitely needs cleansing!



Mood and Attitude:



Unpleasant and erratic mood changes, a general feeling of depression,

`foggy brain' and an impaired ability to concentrate or remember

things. If the liver is sluggish, excessive amounts of toxic

metabolites find their way into the blood stream and can affect the

function of the brain.



High blood pressure and/or fluid retention



Unstable blood sugar levels:



An unhealthy liver can cause large and wild fluctuations of blood

sugar levels, with very low glucose levels causing fatigue, dizziness,

light-headedness and cravings for sugar.



Fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome



INGREDIENTS FOUND IN THE MOST POPULAR LIVER TONICS

To learn more about what is available for people wanting to give their

liver a 'grease and oil change' I went to Evelyn Faye Nutrition store

in Melbourne (cnr Elizabeth & Bourke St) and asked what their top 5

best selling local (ie Australian or New Zealand made) Liver Tonic

products were. For your quick reference, I have listed the amount of

each ingredient in each product, the cost and size of the product as

well as the recommended dosage (see table). You can see there is a

large variation in the amount and types of herbal and other

ingredients in the 5 products. After researching these ingredients it

became apparent that certain ones have strong evidence supporting

their action as liver tonics, while others have only a weak reported

function in assisting the liver. I have tried to list the herbs/

compounds in order of usefulness to help you decide on the best

product for your needs. I have only included information relating to

liver function (due to space restrictions). Some of the herbs in this

list have other reported uses, such as aiding skin problems, diuretic

action or improving the absorption of nutrients.





St Mary's Thistle

St Mary's Thistle or Milk Thistle as it is commonly called is a very

well known liver herb, having been recommended in herbal texts since

the late 1600's. It is best known for its use in treating liver

disorders including hepatitis and cirrhosis. The active ingredient in

milk thistle is silymarin, which is extracted from the seeds of the

plant. Silymarin is made up of three different bioflavonoids:

silybin, silydianin, and silychristin.



The action of silymarin on liver cells is reported to be three-fold:



1. It allegedly alters the outer membrane of liver cells, preventing

toxic



substances from entering the liver;



2. Stimulates the regenerative capacity of the liver by increasing

ribosome



synthesis (renews liver cells);



3. Has a powerful antioxidant effect, clearing free radicals from

the liver.



By exerting these actions, Milk Thistle can help the liver recover

from the damage caused by toxins, infection, alcohol, inadequate

nutrition and drug abuse. Silymarin can increase the quantity of the

powerful liver protector glutathione, and improve protein synthesis in

the liver. Its antioxidant capacity is important in the liver

detoxification process.



There is debate over whether silymarin only exerts a protective effect

against liver destruction, or if it also has some ability to heal

damage already done to the liver. Typical effective doses of

silymarin range from 500 to 2000 mg daily.



Dandelion

Dandelion root has been used for liver and bile complaints for

centuries. The therapeutic properties of dandelion are due in part to

its bitter substances taraxacin and inulin (a bitter glycoside). The

bitters stimulate the digestive glands and the liver and activate the

flow of bile.



Two independent studies have shown the liver healing properties of

dandelion. It was found that dandelion successfully treats hepatitis,

liver swelling, jaundice and indigestion in those with inadequate bile

secretion. One of these studies dates back to 1938.



Taurine

Taurine plays a major role in the liver via the formation of bile

acids and detoxification. Many people with chemical sensitivities and

allergies have abnormally low levels of taurine. It is the major

amino acid required for the removal of toxic chemicals and metabolites

from the body and is an essential component of cell membranes, where

it plays a role in stabilising transport across cell membranes. A

deficiency of taurine can lead to electrolyte imbalance due to

impaired mineral transport across cell membranes and this reduces the

ability of the liver to remove pollutants via the excretory routes of

the bowel and kidneys. The inclusion of taurine in a liver tonic is

beneficial for the above reasons as well as for the antioxidant

protection it provides. Recommended doses vary from 50 to 2000 mg

daily.



Globe Artichoke

Globe artichoke also known as Cynara scolymus is another bitter tonic,

like Dandelion, with liver-protective and liver-restorative actions.

During the 1930's clinical studies established its value in lowering

blood cholesterol, urea and nitrogen waste products of metabolism.

Very useful for people following high protein diets! The bitters from

Globe artichoke are used as a liver restorative and to treat people

with liver insufficiency, damage or liver diseases. It is one of the

more beneficial herbs for inclusion in liver tonic and cleanser

preparations.



Shizandra Berry (Schisandra chinensis)



Used worldwide as an astringent tonic to strengthen the cell tissues

and retain body energy, Schizandra is currently very popular. As an

adaptogen (compounds that regulate bodily functions) this herb

increases the energy supply of cells in the brain, liver, nerves,

muscles, glands and kidneys.



Shizandra is included in liver tonic preparations as it is believed it

can improve the bodies digestion of fatty foods through its ability to

cleanse the liver and increase the production of bile, which then

functions as a digestive for cleaving the fat into fatty acids and

glycerine.



Barberry Bark

The root-bark contains berberine, a bitter alkaloid that aids in the

secretion of bile making it good for liver problems. It also contains

high amounts of Vitamin C, the most powerful antioxidant vitamin for

the liver. Vitamin C reduces toxic damage to the liver cells from

chemical overload and neutralizes free radicals generated during the

phase 1 detoxification pathway in the liver.



Tumeric

The most active component in Tumeric is curcumin and it is useful for

treating liver and gallbladder problems, relieving liver damage, and

for stimulating the production of bile. Curcumin has good antioxidant

activity, comparing well with vitamin C. It is interesting to note

that curcumin has good anti-inflammatory activity that is comparable

to steroidal and non-steroidal drugs, so could be helpful in assisting

the recovery of training injuries.



Yellow Dock

Although not officially recognized, the effectiveness of Yellow Dock

has been documented for liver and gallbladder problems. Rumicin is

the active principle of the Yellow Dock. It promotes the flow of bile

and is useful for relieving a congested liver. Combines well with

Dandelion in herbal medicine.



Gentian

Gentiana is used by Chinese herbalists as a treatment for hepatitis

and other liver disorders. Also reported to be an excellent digestive

aid, gentian helps the body absorb essential nutrients, vitamins, and

minerals.



Psyllium

Psyllium is not directly involved in the liver cleansing process, but

people with sluggish liver function often have difficulty metabolising

fats and may have high cholesterol levels. The cholesterol lowering

effect of Psyllium can help in such cases, making it a useful addition

to a liver tonic.



Slippery Elm Bark

Irritable bowel syndrome can often be associated with poor liver

function due to the liver's inability to break down fats and toxins.

The fine powder made from the bark of the slippery elm tree has a

soothing effect upon the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal

tract and may assist in relieving the effects of the syndrome.

Slippery Elm bark could be of some use in liver tonics to help relieve

immediate symptoms associated with poor liver function.



Astragalus Root

Astragalus is often combined with other remedies to enhance their

action hence it's inclusion in some liver tonics. Astragalus may also

boost the immune system.



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