It is time for us to get more serious about taking care of our liver. I’ve seen over the years many times we ignore the liver signs, even the doctors don’t take it seriously unless the situation is grave. Just as you maintain and clean your water filter in your house, liver needs maintenance as well. We overburden our liver with unhealthy food, environmental toxins, not enough sleep, alcohol, smoking, chemicals and so on. The main function of the liver is to convert the toxic blood to non-toxic. Toxins then get stored in the kidneys and then get eliminated through bile. If this process is not functioning well, all the toxins get trapped in the liver.
This organ works incredibly hard to filter out bugs—viruses and bacteria—as well as toxic heavy metals, harmful chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. The liver’s immune system is on guard against anything harmful. It also helps process and metabolizes what we consume, such as fat, protein, pharmaceuticals and alcohol. Too much of any of these substances can weigh the liver down.
Liver has no nerves and therefore doesn’t hurt if there is any damage being done. We can only see there is a problem through certain symptoms as well as some detailed liver blood tests. Once liver cells are damaged, they will release GPT and GOT enzymes – the greater the damage, the higher these values will be. GPT is a more representative index on account of its liver specificity. GOT also exists in the heart, kidneys, skeletal muscle and brain. However many times, the liver blood test might not indicate a problem until it becomes very serious. That’s why it is important to look at the signs and symptoms our body is showing us.
“Any of these things can bog the liver down: pathogens, toxic heavy metals, chemical poisons, high-fat diets, high-protein diets (whether plant based or animal based), pharmaceuticals and alcohol. It’s critical you become aware of what they are so you can do your best to minimize or avoid them or take the steps to support your liver better for those you can’t avoid. After years and decades of being bombarded, the liver can start to break down and lose its ability to function well and protect you.” Anthony William.
“But the miraculous thing is, you can make changes that will reverse the course. You can change direction and support the liver’s immune system and the liver itself. These are fundamental steps toward health and true healing. Remember: you need your liver, and your livers need you.” Anthony William
Symptoms of Liver Damage
One of the first signs of liver damage is persistent problems with your digestive system. Diarrhea is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong with your gut and bowel systems. Many times, diarrhea is the body’s response to overly fatty foods or a bacteria or viral infection. However, bouts of diarrhea that extend for several days can be an indicator of a more severe issue with your liver.
Fatigue is something that we all experience at some point in our day to day life, but feeling tired all the time because of some underlying liver condition is of entirely different kind of tiredness. In this case, the liver suppresses your energy levels making it tremendously difficult for your body to finish off all your day to day activities. Liver is responsible for distributing your blood and qi (energy) around your body.
3. Skin Damage
A change in skin color is one of the most visible symptoms of liver damage. If you notice that your skin is pale or yellowing, or if your nail beds are turning yellow over the time, it may mean your liver isn’t functioning well. A yellow skin tone due to a poorly performing liver is also known as jaundice. The skin starts turning yellow when your liver stops filtering toxins from your system, which leads to the accumulation of bilirubin.
4. Dark Urine
The color of urine tells a lot about your overall health. The shade of urine is relevant to identifying any potential liver disease as well. When your liver starts becoming weaker day by day, the color of urine changes from a light yellow to darker variants of yellow with every passing stage of liver damage.
5. Frequent Nausea
The persistent feeling of nausea is something that people living with a liver condition experience often. Common digestive issues like acid reflux or indigestion can also be symptoms of liver damage.
Retention of fluid in different parts of your body especially the feet signifies a poorly functioning liver. This condition of swelling of legs or any other part of human body is known as edema. Due to gravitational pull, the legs, ankles, and feet are the most common body part to experience edema, but the fluid can reside in your abdomen, chest, thighs, and hands too.
7. Bruising Easily
Patients suffering from several kinds of liver problems also tend develop blood disorders. Common blood disorders that people with liver condition face are bleeding, getting bruises on the skin in the form of harsh rashes for no apparent reason. If you also start feeling the same occurring frequently and you fail to recall any justification for the bruises on your body then it’s the right time to go to the doctor and get your liver checked for any potential damage.
8. Swollen Spleen
It isn’t common for you to pay attention to your spleen in daily life or even during your annual health checkups. The spleen is located in the upper abdomen and is only visible to humans through a liver X-ray. A doctor testing for liver damage will routinely order an X-ray of your liver. The X-ray will denote whether there’s swelling in your spleen. A swollen spleen causes pain in the stomach along with discomfort in the back.
9. Spider Angioma
A spider angioma is a type of telangiectasis (swollen blood vessels) found slightly beneath the skin surface, often containing a central red spot and reddish extensions which radiate outwards like a spider’s web.
10. Nail Moon
If you don’t see much of the half moon (white part of the nail) on your thumbs it could indicate a liver problem.
11. Bloating and Indigestion
Many times gastric and stomach problems are related to the liver. Many times doctors misdiagnose the patients thinking it is a stomach problem, instead it’s the liver issues. Always having hiccups, bloated stomach, diarrhea, bowl sound (colon spasm).
12. Emotional Problems
Feeling anxious and depressed all the time without any reason.
13. For ladies: Irregular period and period pain
Since the blood can’t flow well if the liver is not functioning, fibroids and cysts form which cause a lot of period pain.
14. For men: Painful urination and testicle pain
Causes of Liver Damage
- Virus Infections: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, K
- Alcohol – frequent alcohol intake
- Drug abuse: medication or recreational drugs
- Not sleeping between 1am-3am – this is when liver detoxes while you sleep. If you don’t sleep during this time liver will have no time to detox.
- Stress – qi (energy) gets trapped in the liver causing damage. The liver is the engine which controls the flow of energy and the blood around your body.
- Obesity – fatty and unhealthy food burdens your liver
How to care for your liver
Let’s put more effort into lessening the burden for our liver on a daily basis. I understand we can’t control the environment so much and the toxins we are exposed to outside, but we can definitely control what we consume daily. It takes around 1 year for our liver cells to regenerate so we need to be patient and give it time in order to see significant improvements.
Avoid too much fat and protein whether you’re vegan or eat animal products. It’s OK to have some healthy fats and healthy protein, but high-fat, high-protein and keto diets are very hard on your liver. These diets bog the liver down and make it hard for your liver to protect you from the toxins and pathogens that make you sick.
A vegetarian diet is a great way to detox your liver as vegetables are much easier on digestion and the liver doesn’t need to break down a lot of fat and protein. Also drinking lots of fluids, with added lemon or ginger are great for the liver as well.
Avoiding as much processed food and choosing organic vegetables and fruits will make a big difference as well. I have personally stopped buying all the produce from China as it is loaded with way too many chemicals which in turn burden our liver.
Good quality sleep and going to bed before midnight is very important, not just for the liver but for all of your organs. That is the time the organs are detoxing and repairing, eliminating all the unwanted pathogens.
In case you are unable to sleep for a long-term, or you wake up at certain hours during the night, it could be a sign that some of your organs are not functioning too well.
- 1am-3am – Liver Detox
- 3am-5am – Lung Detox
- 5am-7am – Large intestine
- 7am-9am – Stomach
Linzghi for liver rescue
In the animal testing model for lowering serum GPT and GOT values, Ganoderma (lingzhi) extract was shown to have the effect of alleviating hepatic injury. When the liver is injured, it will activate the function of liver cell regeneration. As mentioned earlier, the consumption of sufficient protein is a key factor at the time of liver cell reproduction.
As well as the increase in liver protein, the liver cells show greater powers of regeneration. Thus, the function of increasing protein content in the liver indicates that Ganoderma (lingzhi) extract is capable of enhancing liver cell regeneration. By regenerating and strengthening, the liver is able to better perform its function and keep our blood clean.
Lingzhi is able to make the complicated organ function and have it return to normal. Based on our practical investigation, Lingzhi can contribute a very positive effect. Dr. Shigeru Yuji reported that 10% of liver disorders could be cured after taking it for two months. 40% of the patients were relieved of their symptoms, and their liver sizes were reduced. 50% of the patients felt their symptoms diminished.
By addressing other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol lingzhi helps you avoid long-term medication use. Let’s look at the high cholesterol medication – statin. While statins are lowering the cholesterol, they also block the liver from producing Insulin Growth Factor (IGF) and therefore one of the side effects is that over time you might get Type 2 Diabetes. IGF is important in maintaining normal sugar levels in your blood and once this is compromised, sugar levels in your blood will start going up.
Stress & Mental Health
In order to fully take care of our liver, just as with the other organs, stress and mental health are crucial factors. I will usually encourage my clients to practice yoga or meditation or just simple breathing exercises. Another thing I find important when it comes to mental health is to consciously change your outlook towards life and to be grateful for the good things we have going. You can read more here on how I managed to achieve this.
Managing and controlling your stress levels takes time and effort and it is important to have a good support system as at times we are unable to do it just on our own. For me, the important thing I always remember is that problems will always be there, but our action and reaction to those problems is what we can control. You can only control yourself and nothing and nobody else around you.
When you are doing your annual blood test, do ask for a detailed liver test as the basic test might not show the warning signs. Please don’t ignore your liver if the test does show any abnormal levels as it is important to start fixing the damage early. Most of the people ignore the fatty liver or liver lesions and therefore more serious damage happens which in turn affects many other organs as well. Also, long-term use of medications damages the liver more than you think and therefore it is important to help liver detox as efficiently as possible.