The liver supports almost every organ in the body and is vital for survival. Unfortunately, due to its major role, the liver is prone to many conditions and diseases. The most common conditions that affect the liver include liver toxicity and fatty liver as well as infections such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.
One of the main functions of the liver is to remove toxins and other harmful substances from the bloodstream. This process can be disrupted if toxins enter the bloodstream at a rate faster than the liver’s ability to break them down, resulting in toxic liver and poor liver function.
Generally, the liver purifies harmful substances in the blood stream making them harmless to the body. Waste products are either converted into bile to be removed in the stool or filtered back into the bloodstream to be expelled in urine. When the liver is functioning normally, waste products are removed as they come in preventing liver toxicity. Consuming excessive amounts of harmful substances can overwhelm the liver’s purification ability and begin to accumulate, creating a toxic poisonous environment in the liver. When the liver overloaded with these toxins, its ability to secret bile, breakdown fats, filter harmful substances, store nutrients, remove pathogens, resist infections, and make important life-giving substances such as cholesterol, glucose, and albumin, is greatly compromised.
Causes of Toxic Liver
Many common circumstances can hinder the liver’s ability to function properly, causing it to accumulate high levels of toxic substances and compromising its health.
A toxic liver can happen as a result of the following:
The connection between heavy alcohol consumption and liver disease has been recognized for centuries. Alcohol can damage the liver cells and lead to a fatty liver. If the alcohol consumption is excessive and/or repetitive the damage can sometimes be irreparable. In the United States, excessive alcohol consumption is the number one cause of liver disease.
Over exposure to chemical solvents and cleaning products, can injure the liver thus rendering it ineffective to rid the body of these toxins.
Cigarettes are not only harmful to your lungs and heart, but they can also severely affect your liver. The toxins in cigarettes overburden the liver causing inflammation and scarring.
Lack of exercise
A lack of exercise is associated with obesity and decreased blood flow to the tissues of the body resulting in congestion of the liver.
The liver is responsible for converting drugs into forms that can be readily eliminated from the body. Any medications or drugs you ingest need to be filtered through your liver. This includes prescription medicines, over-the-counter medications, supplements and recreational drugs. The more you take in, the harder your liver has work and is therefore more likely become overloaded. Some of these substances can contain ingredients that are quite harmful to the liver. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is known to be especially toxic to the liver in excessive amounts. Your liver breaks down acetaminophen into a toxic metabolite but uses glutathione to prevent the poisonous substance from harming the liver. If you consume too much acetaminophen, your liver may not have enough glutathione to neutralize the poison and will leave your liver vulnerable to damage. NSAID medications such ibuprofen and naproxen have also been shown to be toxic to the liver in excessive amounts.
These synthetic agents are foreign to the body and are processed by the liver in much the same way as drugs and medications.
Over two million tons of industrial pesticides are used each year around the world. Pesticides are not just deadly to pests and insects, but are acutely toxic to human beings as well. Unfortunately, most pesticides end up in our food and water sources. Unless you choose only organic products, your liver has to filter all of the pesticides you ingest; the more pesticides you ingest, the more overburdened your liver becomes.
High levels of heavy metals such as mercury and lead deplete levels of glutathione, narrow the liver’s blood vessels, and increase levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). These heavy metals cause liver cells to become enlarged, die more rapidly, and be replaced by fatty deposits. This results in inflammation of the liver and poor liver function.
A poor diet rich in bad fats, low in fiber, high in simple carbohydrate can put you at risk of developing an accumulation of fats and toxins in the liver cells resulting in a sluggish poor functioning liver.