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Let’s face it, without a properly functioning liver your health is going to suffer. Yet, we seem content with doing a wide variety of things — that are in our control — which have a negative impact on this humble and hard working organ. Perhaps we are unaware of the daily toxic assaults and habits that continually compromise its function, and don’t recognize the symptoms, which allows this treachery to go on unabated until we feel so awful that an herbal detox kit is in order.
At that point, you have really done a number on your liver and you may want to adjust your lifestyle so you don’t keep assaulting the key to your quality of life and longevity. You can start by understanding what the signs of liver damage look like, then culling the habits that cumulatively act like weapons of mass destruction on it.
Signs of liver damage
Since your liver doesn’t cry out in pain, it can be difficult to determine whether it is actually suffering. However, there are less than obvious signs that it is laboring, such as small red spots on the skin, vision issues, chemical sensitivities, and loss of appetite. If these symptoms ring true for you, the damage to your liver is reaching problematic levels.
How liver damage happens
The list of things that can damage your liver is an extremely long one, thanks largely to the increasing toxic burden presented to us by the industrial, food, and healthcare industries. Since none of these behemoths will be radically changing their ways anytime soon, it’s important to know the key components to avoid to lessen their impact on the liver.
First of all, any chemical residues that are not properly filtered by the liver (due to exhaustion or difficulty) will be stored there, and the accumulation of these toxins is a primary reason it becomes overwhelmed and less effective at it’s job. So any synthetic materials or chemicals present in drugs, prescriptions, vaccines, dental amalgams, food, or environmental pollutants will have a cumulative effect in the liver, and arguably incur the most damage over time.
Secondly, two of the most popular recreational pastimes of the human race, drinking alcohol and smoking, are a duo that wreaks a significant amount of damage to the liver. The chemical constituents of popular tobacco products, as well as the fact that alcohol is a hepatotoxin, should be enough motivation for someone to quit both if they want their liver and their quality of life to recover.
Of course, our diet plays a large role in affecting our liver and there are plenty of instances where this goes sideways. Consuming unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and flours all weaken the liver, and all of these food-like substances are typically found together in many fried and processed foods. Switching to a whole foods diet is helpful, but if it is not largely organic, then you continue to ingest more toxins such as pesticide residues.
Something that most people don’t consider is the liver’s role in digestion, especially with the assimilation of fats. Poor food combinations, as well as overeating, both slow down the function of the liver so that it becomes less efficient at filtering out toxins. It’s a good idea to understand some basic food combining rules, and eating until you are 80 percent full, to help offset the issues that happen at the dinner table.
Lack of sleep and fatigue will also weaken the liver. This is a bad cycle because as the liver becomes weaker it becomes more difficult to get a restful sleep. If you find yourself wide awake in the wee hours of the night, this is a strong signal that the liver is suffering.
Finally, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine, chronic anger is strongly associated with poor liver function, specifically due to the energy flow of the liver being blocked (a clogged liver). If you or someone you know has uncontrollable outbursts of anger and is chronically stressed, you can make a reasonable assumption that the liver is in trouble. To offset this, deep breathing exercises, meditation, and exercise can be helpful.
Remember, you live in your liver. Don’t be afraid to clean it up and maintain habits that promote it’s longevity, as well as yours.