The Way Up "Come home to your true nature. Don't cause yourself injury:
This is known as seizing truth."
--Lao Tzu.

The Way Up Newsletter
Vol. 25,
12-15-00


HOW TO BEST LIVE WITH YOUR LIVER


NAMASTE & WELCOME TO THIS MONTH'S WAY UP NEWSLETTER!
 
HOW TO BEST LIVE WITH YOUR LIVER
 
As usual the topic is gargantuan, but we'll at least do something with it. Your liver is the largest organ in your body. It is one of the body's most powerful, hard-working & silent fighters for survival
 
Many parts of us complain when stressed or abused & give us immediate unpleasant feedback. We get stomach aches, headaches, backaches, muscle & joint pains, chest pains, & many other forms of discomfort. The liver is not so direct in expressing it's problems, so we may be late to recognize its distress. We take it for granted & may even be adding to its incredible burden.
 
In this age of thousands of environmental, food & water chemicals, prescription, over-the-counter & illicit drugs, & excessive use of alcohol & caffeine; in this age of viral, drug, & autoimmune hepatitis, metabolic disorders, parasites, & other organisms of infection & infestation it's a marvel we live with our livers as well as we do..

WHAT CAN HARM THE LIVER?

The two most harmful agents in todays world are drugs & alcohol. Alcohol metabolizes to acetaldehyde which is 30 times more harmful than the alcohol itself & is directly toxic to the liver. In the U.S. cirrhosis ( a widespread fibrosis of the liver) is the 4th most common cause of death in adult males. Women are more susceptible to liver damage from alcohol as they develop higher blood levels after drinking & have lower amounts of alcohol dehydrogenase which helps with the metabolism of alcohol.

Besides being directly liver toxic, alcohol depletes the body of amino acids, B12 & other B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, & calcium. Ironically, these are some of the very nutrients needed to protect the liver from harms way. Nutritional deficiencies promote the toxic effects of alcohol & nutritional supplementation can help to protect against these toxic effects-up to a point. The almost guaranteed danger dose for alcoholic hepatitis & cirrhosis for most individuals is a daily dose of 8 ounces of whiskey or its equivalents, 24 ounces of wine, or 64 ounces of beer.

About one fourth of cases of liver failure in the U.S. are caused by medications, of which there are many with liver-related complications. The list is too long to include here, but when possible, all meds should be stopped at the first sign of liver distress. Aging decreases liver size & function, so the metabolism & detoxification functions are the lowest in those who are usually taking the most medications!

All forms of viral hepatitis create an acute inflammation of the entire liver. There are many varieties of viral hepatitis. Type A is fecally spread & self-limited. Type B is blood transmitted & often becomes chronic, Type C is blood transmitted with a high rate of chronicity, Type D is blood transmitted & only affects those with Type B, Type E is enterically spread, usually through water & is usually self-limited. Infectuous mono can cause hepatitis, as can other viruses, autoimmune diseases, chemicals, & of course, alcohol.

Fortunately, the liver has remarkable regenerative & healing properties, especially when we give it support.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE LIVER?
 
The liver acts to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins & fats, making our food available to the body for energy, tissue building, biochemical processes, & the millions of nutrient functions in the body. It can transform proteins & fats into carbohydrates for energy, or convert sugar into glycogen for a glucose reserve available for the emergency of lowered blood sugar.
 
The liver is central to cholesterol, phospholipid, triglyceride & lipoprotein metabloism. Phospholipids are important constituents of the walls of all the cells in the body & numerous chemical reactions. Lecithin is the most abundant phospholipid. Triglycerides act as a store of energy & method of transporting energy from the liver to the rest of the body. Lipoproteins are essential for the circulation & metabolism of fats. The liver forms bile which is poured in to the intestines to aid in the emulsification & absorption of fats. The liver also plays an important part in blood clotting mechanisms.
 
Of paramount importance is the duty of the liver to protect us by metabolizing & detoxifying all internal & external toxic substances to which we are exposed. It converts & neutralizes these toxins into usually safer metabolic by products to be eliminated from the body.
 
Increased permeability of the walls of the intestines ( leaky gut syndrome) caused by inflammation, parasites, bacterial & fungal organisms, or abnormalities of the intestinal immune system lead to increased absorption of toxic substances that would normally be blocked at the gut wall. This places a greater stress on the liver, & the excess of chemicals can exhaust the liver's detoxifying system.
HOW DO MOST DOCTORS DISCOVER LIVER PROBLEMS?
 
The most commonly used screens for liver disorders are what are known as the liver enzymes. There is a problem if they are elevated. They are referred to by the initials, SGOT, SGPT, GGPT, LDH. Other tests which can reveal underlying liver disorders are: serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, serum protein, albumin, & globulin, cholesterol, & triglycerides. There may also be blood platelet abnormalities, & changes in prothrombin time (clotting time). Most of these tests tend to become abnormal when there is more significant liver stress.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE DETOXIFICATION FUNCTIONS?
 
A more subtle test for liver dysfunction which will measure problems before the above tests is the Comprehensive Detoxification Panel which your Doctor can order from Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab. This can be useful in the early detection & prevention of liver-related health disorders. If there is poor detoxification, the test results provide guidelines as to which nutrients could help remedy this situation.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POOR DETOXIFICATION?
 
Impaired detoxification increases free radical damage to the body which is associated with many disorders such as arteriosclerosis, allergies, autoimmune diseases, arthritis. fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, neurological & other chronic disorders.
 
Poor detox increases the body's toxic burden leading to fatigue, poor tolerance for exercise, environmental hypersensitivity, general body aches & pains, & brain fog.
 
Many chronic fatigue patients have the combination of increased toxic exposure, & disordered liver detox ability. The accumulation of toxic metabolites also stresses the immune system.
WHAT NUTRIENTS HELP THE LIVER TO DO ITS' WORK?
 
The detox functions of the liver are carried out in 2 major processes known as Phase 1 & Phase 2. Phase 1 changes substances into what are known as intermediate meatobolites, while Phase 2 actually works to clear them from the body.
 
Certain nutrient deficiencies, drugs, low thyroid function, & underlying liver disorders can impair Phase 1. The essential nutrient cofactors needed for Phase 1 are: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, Essential Fatty Acids, Magnesium, Iron, & Molybdenum. Additional nutrient & herbal supports for Phase 1 are: Taurine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Antioxidants, Phosphatydl-choline, & Silymarin.
 
Phase 2 can be impaired by nutrient deficiencies (especially iron), certain drugs, low thyroid, excess Vitamin K, insulin resistance (see previous newsletter on Syndrome X) & poor glucose utilization. Phase 2 consists of a number of specific chemical processes, some of which follow:
 
Glucuronidation, which is helped by the nutrients L-glutamine, aspartic acid, Magnesium, Vitamins B3 & B6, & cruciferous vegetables ( cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts).
 
Peptide Conjugation, which is helped by glycine, taurine, cysteine (all amino acids), Magnesium, Vitamin B5 & increased alkaline ash foods (fruits & vegetables).
 
Glutathione Conjugation which is helped by glycine, methionine, L-glutamine (all amino acids), N-Acetyl Cysteine, Reduced Glutathione, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Selenium, Vitamins B2, B3, B12 & Folic Acid.
 
Sulfation, which is supported by the amino acids methionine, & L-cysteine, N-Acetylcysteine, & red yeast, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Magnesium, Vitamins B2, B6, B12 & Folic Acid. ( But impaired by excess B6 or Molybdenum)
 
You can see a common theme emerging, the need for a good multivitamin mineral & adequate amino acid (protein) intake or supplementation. It is relatively simple to insure basic liver support, more complicated if problems already exist.

 

We have just touched upon some important ways you can help your liver help you & best live with your liver.

Please keep ideas for further newsletters coming my way...
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Until next month,
Priscilla Slagle M.D,

"The tethered hounds howl
Longing for their master--or anyone
Consigned to their fate by birth & breeding
More so than we
Who can escape our family tree
-----Well, --maybe

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