Have you ever heard of the term "Spring is liver detox season"? This is because according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) spring is the time of the year that the liver and gall bladder are the most active. These two organs together govern the flow of energy (Qi) throughout the body. Gentle flowing Qi enables us to both physically and emotionally be balanced easier so as long there is no stagnation in those two organs.
The goal in doing a detox isn't to just cleanse or detoxify but also rejuvenate to ensure optimal physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
So how do we do this? There are a couple of ways, all in which depend on the person that is attempting the cleanse. Not everyone can go on a harsh detox for it can deplete their energy levels or have them lose nutrients, whereas others can afford to stress their body out a bit more. That being said, here at Upgraded Formulas, we don't believe in harsh detoxes, but rather providing the body the building blocks it needs so it can function optimally on its own.
If you think about it, our body does detox itself, all through our emunctory organs such as our liver, kidneys, gut, skin and lungs. However, in order for us to be able to "detox" we need energy and direction. So how do we receive energy and direction? Minerals.
Considering it is spring, and there is a focus on the liver, today we'll be diving into what can help optimize liver health and provide it some extra boosts with the upcoming season of "liver detoxing".
1. Bitter/Sour Foods
These tastes in foods help stimulate our natural digestive juices as well as enhance digestion by producing hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile. In terms of liver support, the taste of bitters sends a signal to our vagus nerve which tells the liver to prepare itself for food. In addition, it also helps with the production of cholecystokinin, a hormone, that stimulates the gallbladder to contract. Once the bitters are absorbed, their antioxidant-like compounds help with bile synthesis and metabolism. You can also add some medicinal herbs to this mix such as milk thistle, dandelion and nettle- all in which support liver detox and function.
2. Optimize Bile Flow
Following off from the first point, bile flow is essential when supporting liver health because bile acts as an antimicrobial and binds to things like metals, toxins, bacteria, hormones and other harmful substances that could harm us and cause liver damage. It also triggers glutathione production (master antioxidant) and is responsible for balancing blood sugar and absorbing fat soluble nutrients. Best way to support bile flow is to stay hydrated which you can do by optimizing sodium and potassium levels, as well as adding our Upgraded Trace Minerals in your water, reaching for sulfur rich foods, and reaching for those bitter greens.
3. Think B Vitamins
B vitamins such as your B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, choline, and inositol which are all vital for Phase 1 of liver detoxification. This is when toxins are turned into fat soluble compounds, thus less dangerous to handle and remove out of the body. B vitamins support energy function in the liver. They are what provide stimulation to the organ, which makes sense because when we take any b complex supplement we get a burst of energy right? Providing the liver enough energy to push out the waste it needs helps with the removal process.
4. Re mineralize
Of the many minerals that the body requires, there are a few that we need for proper liver function and optimizing detoxification. This would include magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium and manganese. We actually have a whole blog all a bout the importance of magnesium and liver health which you can find here, but essentially, it's been shown that individuals struggling with non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) see drastic improvements in simply supplementing magnesium. Copper serves as a cofactor for many different enzymes involved in cellular energy metabolism, antioxidant defense and iron transport- which if hindered can negatively affect the liver. Zinc as well, important for many enzymatic reactions that the liver is responsible for and is required for phase 2 detoxification in the liver which is when the free radicals and fat soluble compounds are neutralized. Selenium and manganese both act as antioxidants which further protect the liver from damage whilst detoxing and removing toxins. Both are also required for glutathione synthesis.
5. Consider Coffee Enemas
Despite coffee being a stimulant and can be over whelming or even over powering for individuals with weak adrenals and/or thyroid problems, when entered through the rectum it can be quite beneficial. What coffee enemas do is that they help stimulate bile flow and the liver to increase production of glutathione S-transferase (GST). This is a detoxifying enzyme that binds and flushes out toxins from the body. It is a bit stimulating and can provide a rush of energy, so if you are sensitive, start with the first 4 steps above and then build your way up.
6. Red Light Therapy
Lastly, red light therapy is something many people wouldn't think of when trying to detox their liver because it isn't a pill, they're not ingesting it, they're simply exposing themselves to a different hue of light. Red light specifically though has the ability to support detoxification via our skin which is connected to our lymphatic system and blood (both in which process through the liver to be eliminated through bowels or sweat). Red light has also been shown to help with energy levels by recharging the mitochondria, and just like any other place on your body, your liver is covered in cells, so sitting in front of a red light lamp, shirtless, with your right side exposed could help.
Hoping these 6 tips helped with your liver cleanse!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach