In health, all roads lead to the liver.
So, if you feel like your liver is struggling to do its job, you're probably right.
If you're still not sure, here's some more clues:
- History of alcohol/drug use or hepatitis
- Long term prescription drug use
- Sensitive to chemicals (tobacco smoke, fumes, perfume, cleaning agents, etc.)
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Stomach upset by greasy foods
- Greasy or shiny stools
- History of nausea, motion sickness, or morning sickness
- Light or pale colored stools
- Headache over the eyes
- Gallbladder attacks
- Bitter taste in the mouth (especially after meals)
- Become sick or easily intoxicated if drinking wine
- Easily hung over
- Pain under right side of rib cage
- Hemorrhoids or varicose veins
- NutraSweet (aspartame) consumption
- Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
If your liver is speaking to you, what do you do next?
Liver Detoxes and Cleanses
Most people's next step is searching the internet for the best 7-10 day liver detox or cleanse, and this is where the approach really starts to go sideways.
Liver detoxes and cleanses don't work.
It’s like saving money for a week but spending money every other day and expecting to get rich.
A liver detox is like a 'get rich quick scheme' that only drains your wallet.
Liver issues are the result of decades of gentle abuse and repairing that takes a consistent change in habits.
You don't need to do a liver detox; you just need to give your liver less work to do.
Giving your Liver Less Work to Do
Here's some of the most basic work your liver does — are you giving it extra?
- regular metabolic waste (think normal bodily functioning)
- used hormones that have served their purpose and need to be detoxified or flushed out of your system (think your hormones at different points in your menstrual cycle)
- Rx + over the counter drugs (these can injure your liver too)
- heavy metals
- plant toxins from too much ‘health food,’ (think nightshades, high oxalate foods, and caffeine for starters)
- extra supplements that you don’t actually need (these can injure your liver too)
- vitamin A excess (from overdoing dairy and high vitamin A health foods/supplements, topical retinoid skin creams, etc. testing here)
- copper excess (think supplements, nuts and dark chocolate, testing here)
- iron excess
- too much fat
- herbal pills
- and the list goes on!
If you want to see a change in your liver, you just need to consistently give it less work to do than you did yesterday.
It's that simple.
Now what this looks like will largely vary from person to person. It doesn't mean you need to exist on a highly limited diet, you just need to do LESS of certain things over the course of the week, month, and year. Having some data on what from the above list is a problem for you definitely helps narrow your focus and simplify your approach.
Nutrient Deficiencies and Other Considerations
Aside from giving your liver too much work to do, you can also have nutrient deficiencies that keep your liver from doing its best work and doing that work efficiently.
This can look like:
- protein deficiency
- zinc deficiency (testing here)
- taurine deficiency
- molybdenum deficiency
- potassium deficiency (testing here)
- chronic constipation
- inadequate calories that slow thyroid function (and detoxification)
Aside from deficiency, nutrient excess is super common due to 'wellness culture,' leading to the liver being overloaded with the following nutrients:
This is why I always do a hair tissue mineral analysis test (tests for 35 different minerals and available to clients all over the world) on my clients along with some nutrient blood labs (zinc, copper, iron, vitamin A and whole blood histamine, available to clients in the US only) to identify any weak spots in their own body that could be slowing down the liver's detox work.
Liver issues today are often from a combination of too much work (especially Rx meds, over the counter meds and alcohol), nutrient deficiency, and nutrient excess.
The great news is all of this can change when you change your health approach.
I hope this empowers you to reach your health goals by getting to the root of the problem (hint: your liver) and always giving your body what it needs.
- 7 Signs of Liver Injury (and what supplements and meds can cause it)
- The Type of Fiber That Can Help Detox and Drain Your Liver
- 3 Ways Wellness Culture is Making You Sick