A little bit of education goes a long way to inspire better self-care. Making sure the elimination and detoxification processes in your body are working optimally is so critical to your experience of life and to what’s going on with your overall health. This blog explains why.
In a prior blog I shared a Quizz to help you identify a few symptoms that your digestion and detoxification systems need a little love. For me, fluid retention is generally a telling sign. The body holds on to fluids when our lymphatic system is congested and cannot do its elimination job, in order to dilute the impact of harmful toxins on the body. The lymphatic system needs movement to work, it doesn’t move against gravity on its own and when my work days extend to 15h in the Fall, I feel the impact of seating for long period of times and breathing more shallow by the way my body swells and bloats out of nowhere.
Skin breakouts is another telling symptom too (inflamed, congested skin, etc..) because the skin, our largest detox organ, is basically stepping up to support the urinary system and bowels to do their job because these 2 systems are not functioning optimally in clearing waste.
Waking up consistently at night, especially between 2 and 4AM may also be a sign that our liver needs some support, particularly if you’re waking up feeling hot.
For women, lumpy breasts that swell with their cycle and experiencing PMS, if you feel huge pangs of hanger like you could eat your arm off or, if you’re waking up not feeling hungry (unless you ate dinner late) or just craving coffee to support sluggish bowels, cellulite, weight gain for no reason could also be signs that your detoxification systems need some support. If you feel irritable or snappy this may also be a sign of liver congestion. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ is associated with en emotion (mind-body medicine is not a modern concept!!) and the liver is associated with anger.
Now, our body knows how to cleanse itself all on its own, and does it 24/7… if we let it, by providing the right nutrients and self-care. When we experience symptoms as the ones above and in the Quizz, this should be a wake-up call that our body is struggling. And if we’re not shifting gears, quick, our body will start breaking down. When I work with clients dealing with a whole host of health issues, I usually start with the basics: supporting digestion, detoxification and elimination first, because there’s no point trying to go fix for the illness first (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, autoimmunity, PCOS, infertility, fatigue, etc.) if these systems are not working to begin with.
So today, I’d like to give you a few bits of information about your digestive system and your liver detoxification processes before I share with you nutritional and lifestyle support strategies, in a third blog coming out Saturday, along with the recipes of my FREE 1-Day Hormonize Cleanse Meal Plan, that will support your digestion and detoxification pathways. (Are you on my Hormonize Mailing List to receive the recipes?)
The health of your Digestive System can have such a bit impact of your quality of life: whether you sleep restoratively, can use body fat as a source of fuel, whether your hormones are balanced, etc. It is the foundation of your health. It starts in your mouth and ends at your anus, and every step of the way matters and could be its own blog. But focusing on the stomach, intestines and liver today:
What we eat and how we eat determine the proper function of our stomach and intestines, and in turn our overall health. Now let’s talk about the liver, because it’s so critical and during the Holidays, we tend to put it on overdrive.
Before toxins can be removed via urine, stool, or sweat, they must be transformed from fat-soluble compounds (more likely to be stored in the body) into water-soluble compounds (which can be more easily excreted). This transformation occurs primarily in the liver via a multiple-phase, nutrient-dependent detoxification process requiring several amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. This makes having a nutrient-dense eating approach one of the most crucial factors for supporting detoxification in the body. Our lifestyle can make or break this process. Here are the 3 phased of the detoxification process, the last 2 occur in the liver:
Each detoxification phase requires specific nutritional and lifestyle support to be carried out effectively (Blog 3 coming Saturday with meal plan). However, if we are exposed to the following substances, which are liver loaders, it will stop the liver detoxification process in its track. When liver loaders show up at the door, the liver will have to step up and handle these first:
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Because liver detoxification is not only on the line to process exogenous substances, it also has to its detoxification work on our own endogenous secretion such as cholesterol and estrogen, before these can be eliminated in phase 3 described above. And this where things can go wrong and endanger our health.
THE CHOLESTEROL STORY. Imagine your cholesterol undergoing its phase 2 detoxification and suddenly alcohol knocks at the door. The liver will always prioritize processing exogenous toxins like alcohol over our own body’s substances because alcohol is a poison. So when alcohol knocks at the door, the liver has to stop CHOL detox before its final phase 3 but it also cannot live it in the middle of the phase 2 operations table, the table needs to be freed for Alcohol. So the liver has to release CHOL into the blood, almost like there’s a trap door, and we start recycling CHOL. That is one mechanism through which blood CHOL can continue going up and up over time, remembering that 80% of blood cholesterol measured in tests comes from our body and only 20% comes from diet as science currently suggests. So just by taking care of the liver with diet and lifestyle changes you can reverse cholesterol levels. That has been my experience with all of my clients, especially those whose liver was failing (see Sierra’s story in my blog “how healing my liver naturally transformed my life”)
THE ESTROGEN STORY. The same story happens to estrogen detoxification. Estrogen goes under transformation inside the liver in phase 2, but the detoxification process is disrupted because of ingesting a medication, or drinking a glass of wine, and the estrogen needs to be released into the blood stream. The issue is that the compound added to estrogen in phase 2 has slightly modified its molecular structure and transformed it into a form of estrogen which has been so highly linked to women’s reproductive cancer… a form of estrogen which was found in a published study to be up 400 times higher in women with estrogen-dependent cancers.
So taking care of your digestive and elimination organs is critical to your quality of life and if care is not given to your liver, liver cells may die and a globule of fat may replace liver cells that do not replace themselves, that’s how we end up with fatty liver disease. While traditionally found in alcoholic, we now see people who’ve never had a drop of alcohol, teenagers, develop fatty liver disease, probably from all the processed foods they consume at such a young age. Kids also now consume mounts of caffeine I wasn’t exposed to as a child 30 years ago by drinking starbucks sugary and creamy coffee drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, etc. which contribute to liver issues as well as growth issues.
Between the ages of 12 and 18, 50% of our adult bone mass is laid down and caffeine interferes with the body’s ability to take out calcium out of the blood into the bone matrix. So I have deep concerns about the state of health of young people and what their bones will look like in the not so distant future. It’s also why I recommend my female clients in peri-menopause and menopause years to limit caffeine as it will worsen the risk of osteoporosis, and their estrogen balancing act which is dependent on their adrenals when the ovaries have retired.
This was a lot of information. But I will leave you with Blog 1 recommendation again until we speak about nutritional and lifestyle support in Blog 3. Could you carve out at least 2 days a week without alcohol, caffeine, and as many as the substances mentioned above to give your liver a break and give it space to do its home cleansing job?
In my Hormonize Cleanse program, I recommend participants fast one day a week (next water fast or Hormonize plant-based cleanse is next Monday. Recipes go out Saturday to this Mailing List). You can extend it to 2 days, or 3, before Thanksgiving, to express thanks towards your own body. Food for thoughts…
Let me know if you have any questions,