Liver Loving Life
In fact it might even be accurate to suggest that there isn’t really any separation at all between the idea of a well functioning liver, and metabolic efficiency in general.
When the liver is operating sub-optimally, metabolism is compromised, and vice versa.
One part of the reason for this is because of some factors enabling the liver to do it’s job properly, which also happen to be requirements for a robust and healthy metabolism.
Proper thyroid function is right at the top of this list, and the importance of sugar can not be withdrawn from the conversation.
It doesn’t necessarily even matter whether the issues began in the liver and are now effecting metabolic function in general, or whether other things interfering with how well metabolism can perform, are now hindering the liver.
On some level, regardless of which direction the problems are approached from, improvements in one so called ‘part’, cannot really exist in isolation from the others, and will, in a sense, eventually translate into improvement generally.
Take for example, a situation where a person is limiting food intake in the name of some kind of so called cleanse, or fast. After a short amount of time (maybe a day, often far less), when glycogen stores become depleted, cortisol levels increase as part of a process for providing energy via the dissolution of tissue.
This process, and the subsequent release of free fatty acids into the blood, (as another means to providing fuel in the absence of available sugar), is known to interfere with thyroid hormone activity, as well as the use of glucose by the cell.
A large portion of the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into active metabolism enhancing thyroid hormone (T3) takes place in the liver, and requires as part of the process, glucose to be able to enter the liver cells effectively.
Add to this the fact that a deficiency of thyroid directly interferes with the storage and release of glycogen in the liver, and another layer of inter-contentedness is brought to light.
It’s possible to see from this, how the slowing of metabolic processes, resulting from an insufficient provision of fuel, creates a response from the body that can then impede the ability of the liver to do some things which are required for metabolism to return to optimal function.
From a similar point of view, however, the liver will not be able to return to a position of being able to carry out these functions, in the absence of an initial improvement in overall metabolism.
This kind of vicious cycle or feedback loop becomes far more difficult to override as fat released from storage is increasingly polyunsaturated in composition, due to the ability of the more highly unsaturated fats to promote thyroid dysfunction and blood sugar dysregulation in a chronic and inflammatory manner.
A regular influx of tasty, sugary foods, like sweet ripe fruit, for example, can be a potential fix, or a way in, enabling metabolic energy systems to begin to return to more ideal performance.
When thyroid metabolism is interfered with, however, digestive processes tend to slow down, and this is another important part of the inter-related nature of this story.
It’s probably worth noting that one crucial role performed by the liver involves the detoxification and gradual excretion of toxic substances, released from storage in the fat and muscle, as well as through the intestines, protecting vital organ systems (including the brain), from unnecessary and damaging exposure.
As digestion slows, more and more food becomes available to bacteria, causing an eventual increase in the release of endotoxin, as well a subsequent rise in serotonin secretion.
Although some of the initial beneficial effects of a fast or cleanse, can be a temporary reduction in digestive system toxins, the eventual slowing of thyroid function, particularly when sugar is restricted, leads to a decrease in intestinal barrier function, allowing greater amounts of toxins as well as larger sized food particles to pass through to the liver.
As the liver is overloaded, it becomes less able to carry out its detoxifying role, allowing more and more inflammatory substances, including endotoxin, serotonin and estrogen to pass into circulation.
Apart from the inflammation and stress promoting nature of these substances, what they also do, in a variety of ways, is interfere with thyroid function and blood sugar regulation, further promoting the release of cortisol and the polyunsaturated free fatty acids, once again preventing the liver from doing the things that it needs to do in order to help deal with the exact same things that are preventing it from doing what it needs to do…and sometimes it just can’t do it…that was a mouthful!
In order to avoid getting too caught up in the doom and gloom downward spiral nature of all of this, it’s possible to see it from a more encouraging slant. Once the holistic quality of the functions of the body become illuminated, knowing where to start in order to improve metabolic capability, and increase the potential for healing and regeneration, can require less diagnostic precision.
You can approach many symptoms from the perspective of an attempt to reduce inflammation, or improve digestion, or liver function, or possibly by looking at blood sugar regulation or thyroid metabolism, and in almost every case the same manner of solutions will be appropriate. This is not intended as a prescription, but rather as a guide, or mindset to take into experimentation.
Is it possible to reduce exposure to the more highly unsaturated fats? How much protein is required and where is it coming from? Are mineral and vitamin needs being met? Can stress of a variety of kinds be taken into consideration and minimized? Is there a way to satisfy metabolic requirements, whilst minimizing bacterial issues and reducing the secretion of stress related substances?
Inextricably tied to all of this, is the importance of maintaining glycogen stores, via the continuous provision of easily assimilable sugar sources, providing the fuel required to energize the liver, and enable it to do the jobs that it is specifically designed to do (both in relation to detoxification and thyroid metabolism), central to the achievement of many of the above considerations.
Contrary to the very popular anti-fructose hype machine, sugar from fruit, also known as sucrose, is the perfect metabolism enhancing, liver energizing, thyroid promoting substance. The fructose component of fruit sugar powerfully stimulates the storage of glycogen, and any small amount beyond what is synthesized or burned (which generally ends up being very little due to the rise in metabolic rate directly resulting from the effect of an increase in sugar consumption) gets converted into the anti-inflammatory and highly protective saturated fats.
Although I am not going to go into this in any detail right now, this conversion of excess sugar into triglycerides, as saturated fats, for storage in the tissues, is another layer relating to the anti-stress, pro-metabolism role played by the liver when untroubled and in good spirits.
There are a number of other things, such as the B vitamins, Selenium, and sufficient protein for example, which are directly involved in the process of ensuring that the liver is properly enlivened. An important takeaway, however, is that the best kind of ‘cleanse’, is that which is happening from moment to moment, when the cleansing organ, the liver, is properly fueled and working.
This, of course, will not happen in any ideal kind of way, when thyroid function is suppressed, blood sugar is dyregulated, digestion is slow, and metabolism is generally sub-optimal. In reality, or one possible version of it, there probably isn’t really such a thing as ‘liver’, as opposed to ‘metabolism’ or maybe even ‘organism’, but the idea certainly can be useful.
A diet avoiding the polyunsaturated fats, and limiting difficult to digest fibrous and starchy carbohydrates, whilst getting protein and nutrients from milk or cheese, some eggs and gelatinous meat, with plenty of fructose from sweet ripe juicy fruits, fruit juice, honey and white sugar, is one possible approach to improving the state of the liver, helping it to do what it does best.
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