Although your body works as a holistic organism consisting of multiple systems, it is important to look at various organs and systems in order to learn how they affect the overall health of your body. In this installment of “Organ Examination,” we will be looking at your liver. This is appropriate, as readers of The Beauty Detox Solution read how much I talk about it!
Anatomy of the Liver
Your liver sits in the upper right-hand side of your abdominal cavity. It is protected by the rib cage, and sits just in front of the gallbladder. It rests on top of your stomach, just below your diaphragm. It weighs around three pounds, and is a dark red color. Your liver has two lobes, separated by a series of ligaments. In each lobe, the liver contains lobules that connect via a complex duct system, which transports bile produced in the liver to the gallbladder and duodenum.
The liver receives blood and oxygenation from two sources. The hepatic artery brings oxygenated blood to the liver, while the hepatic portal vein delivers nutrient rich blood.
The liver is part of your biliary system with the gallbladder and bile ducts, which creates, transports, and stores bile for digestion. It is also part of the digestive system, which breaks the foods you eat down into smaller, more accessible particles. Other organs that work with the liver in the digestive system are the stomach, pancreas, and intestines.
Your liver performs more than 500 vital functions in your body. While I am not going to list all of them here, I will share some of the most important roles the liver plays.
- All blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver.
- When that blood reaches the liver, it processes it, converting nutrients and medications into more usable forms.
- The liver contains about 13 percent of the body’s blood at any given time. As the blood passes through the liver, the organ balances the blood’s chemical composition and produces bile from the waste products.
- Bile carries those waste products away from the liver, allowing it to continuously detoxify the blood.
- It is your body’s main fat burning organ, regulating fat metabolism and carrying fat out of the body via bile.
- The liver produces blood proteins necessary for plasma, which is an essential component of blood.
- The liver produces cholesterol. While many people think this is a bad thing, cholesterol actually plays an important role in the body. It is the precursor for testosterone and estrogen. Cholesterol also supports cell structure and helps maintain healthy neurological function. Note: This is different than foreign cholesterol, which is derived from animal products.
- The liver further detoxifies by removing bacteria from the blood stream. This is essential for healthy immune function. Additionally, a healthy liver produces immune factors that fight disease.
- It regulates blood clotting. Inefficient blood clotting can lead to bleeding disorders and anemia, while overabundant blood clotting can lead to an array of health and clotting disorders including embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
- It detoxifies, removing harmful medications and toxic substances from your blood.
- The liver stores iron, which it processes from hemoglobin.
- It converts blood sugar (glucose) to glycogen (stored energy), and then back to glucose (active energy).
- It regulates amino acids in the blood.
Effects of an Unhealthy Liver
What happens when your liver doesn’t function properly? An unhealthy liver may obstruct bile flow, resulting in inefficient toxin removal. Resultantly, the liver may fail to remove bacteria from the bloodstream, leading to decreased immunity and increased illness. It may also fail to break down the nutrients you need for health. In some cases, the blood may even bypass an unhealthy liver, turning medications toxic. In extreme cases of liver damage, the liver may develop scarring called cirrhosis, and it may function poorly or not at all.
Substances that Damage the Liver
With all of those functions and negative effects of an unhealthy liver, it’s easy to see why it is so essential to keep your liver healthy. The Beauty Detox Solution is designed to minimize toxins in your body, which supports liver function and keeps you healthy and strong. Some substances, however, can cause liver damage.
- Chronic alcohol intake
- Overuse of prescription and over the counter medications
- Excessive use of herbal remedies
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Refined sugar and fructose (including agave)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial flavors
- Food dyes
- Deep fried foods
- Processed foods
Protecting Your Liver
Your daily habits can help protect this valuable organ.
- Eat an organic, plant-based diet rich in Omega-3 fats.
- Cut out caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup at all costs.
- Drink plenty of pure water to flush your liver.
- Avoid animal products and processed foods.
- Drink water with organic lemon every day.
- Start your day with a Glowing Green Smoothie
While cleansing should be an ongoing process, you can incorporate certain foods for a deeper cleansing.
- Make detox tea from lemon, ginger, and cayenne and drink it throughout the day.
- Eat only raw dark leafy greens for an entire day, cutting out fats and oils, salt, vinegar, and other substances.
- For even more detoxification, add cayenne to your vegetables to get your blood flowing as you detox.
- Drink plenty of pure water (not tap water), avoiding any water from bottles made from bisphenol A.
- Continue with The Beauty Detox Solution diet.
Now that you know a little more about your liver, you probably understand why maintaining the health of this vital organ is so important. By cleansing your liver and eating a diet that supports healthy function, your body will be much better able to eliminate toxins, fight off disease, and process nutrients from the foods you eat. The cleaner your liver, the more clear and beautiful your skin will become as well.
Very Interesting. The liver can also be damaged from eating too little, as i recently learned after my blood work came back abnormal.
Wow, the liver is such an amazing organ! Thanks for the great tips on liver detoxing, Kim!
Great post, and thanks for the info! I would just note that the HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) folks are also trying to re-name/re-brand it as “corn sugar” with paid actors in commercials claiming that “the experts” told them it’s perfectly safe and “sugar is sugar.”
I have yet to see “corn sugar” listed on any product labels as an ingredient, but, I bet that’s what they’re trying to do so they can mislead folks ~ which would mean the food product manufacturers would be lying to us, too.. :sigh: …. 🙂
Thank you for this, couldn’t have come at a better time, I’m 22 and have a slender frame but have noticed cellulite on my butt and all over my upper legs. I’ve been told it is caused by my liver not functioning well. Hopefully this guide will help, as it’s summer in New Zealand!!!
Hi, Kimberly! I’ve read your book last year and I loved it. Recently however, I’ve also been reading “paleo” articles and I’m very confused. What are your views on paleo diet (I guess the thing about removing gluten & dairy is same)? …I’m just so confused!!
I to am confused. I have been incorporating a combination of your smoothies and detox beliefs along with the paleo diet and have been having the best blood work results in years.
I just *bleeping* love your book your blog you are my inspiration I want to be just like you but a male version thank you
Hi Kim! I do not understand why fructose in agave is bad but fructose in fruit is good. Can you explain or point me to the pages in the book? A raw chocolate bar I like contains agave and I don’t want to give it up….the alternative, stevia to me is bitter and has a horrible aftertaste!
I have your book and have been following your blog for quite awhile. I was wondering what, if any, advice you would have for someone that no longer has a gallbladder? I had to have mine removed nearly 13 years ago following the birth of my first child. I had been living a low-fat life prior to that pregnancy, then over the years had transitioned to a traditional body-builder type diet (I am a fitness professional). I looked good on the high protein/low-carb diet, but my digestion (among other things) was a wreck. I am trying to find what will ultimately work best for my body. I do feel as though that surgery was what triggered a change in how my body operates, but perhaps it’s not that at all? Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
My blood work has shown I have high AST liver function, and my dr doesn’t know why. She said stress and exercise can cause this, is that true? I am already drinking my smoothies, and am eating only healthy unprocessed food, I do not smoke or drink. Is there anything else I can do to help this?
If you don’t drink, I recommend you see a Gastroenterologist and get a Hepatitis test. It’s standard practice in the US to test for Hepatitis any time their are elevated Liver Enzymes.
I know from experience. I battled Hepatitis C for several years. The test you need is a Hepatic Function Panel, CBC and HCV Quant (how much is there, assuming you might have Hep).
Hope this helps,
Great article on an important subject, the liver is amazing and it performs many critical functions to sustain life. In today’s world, the liver is at constant risk of contamination from environmental toxins and over-processed foods infused with unnatural chemicals.
If the liver is not at it’s optimal performance it can lead to fatigue, weight gain, water retention, and many other health issues. A liver cleanse can help with regularity, bloating and flatulence.
Adding these items will supercharge your liver cleanse diet: dark green leafy vegetables, artichoke, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, onion, grapefruit, mangos, garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger and cilantro.
A liver cleanse diet combined with a liver cleanse will have your liver functioning at its best.
Thanks for the brief lesson on how the liver functions. Would you happen to know how a castor oil pack helps detoxify the liver, I learn this from my acupuncturist, but she could not tell me how it works.
Hi Kimberly, I just read through your book and I am really excited to get started on the program. However, I have a question. I work out as soon as I wake every morning. Right now I drink a glass of OJ and banana because I feel very weak without anything in my stomach. In the book, you recommend not eating until you are hungry but I cannot wait for that. How should I handle this issue? Should I drink the Green Smoothie as soon as I wake? And how long would I need to wait before I exercise? Thanks in advance for your help with this.
I love reading blog posts like this, so I’m glad you choose to include them, realizing that there are a lot of people who are interested in the inner-workings of the body, and how what we put into our bodies in the way of food is really having an effect! I just wrote a somewhat related post about coconut, and how its fatty acids are more easily oxidized by the liver than some other types of fats that many people seem to consume on a regular basis.
Please, please, PLEASE continue to write about all of these things that are really important to our health…I know I’m not the only one who is grateful for it! =)
Hi Kimberly! Very interesting post. I have been told my liver doesn’t function optimally. I am currently working on healing many things and am following your book very closely. I am doing blossoming beauty (candida issue) and have been for a few months now. I was wondering, is there a way to tell if your liver is starting to function better? What would the most obvious signs be?
I have been getting very hungry late at night and been eating 1 slice of gluten free rice bread with avo, after vege sticks. Will this slow my progress in any way? Also, the rice bread I buy contains brown rice (not organic), rice flour (not sure if white or brown), rice leaven, sunflower oil and sea salt. Is this ingredients list ok Kimberly?
Thank you so much.
I’m on bb stage and I have candida badly and I’m doing everything that your wonderful book says, which I LOVE! My question is recently my (what I think) thyroid is enlarged. Do you know why or what can I do/eat to decrease its size? I already incorporated sea vegetables like you mentioned in your thyroid blog. You are so inspiring to me and many other. Keep up the beautiful work!
Could you please explain more about what you mean when you say:
Excessive use of herbal remedies
I’ve just read your book and I love it! I am not a vegetarian, but I’ve always eaten a lot of dark, green leafy veggies and often have large salads as meals, with very little animal protein. (Salad has never been just a “side” to me). I have a question though; I started in phase 2, because I can easily tolerate fruit and I eat mostly veggies anyway, but you recommend a lot of supplements. In this article you say excessive use of herbal remedies can harm your liver. So, I’m confused. Are probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements not considered herbal remedies?
Hi Kim I’m following your program n dropped back to blossoming beauty been there for 4 weeks now moved to radiant beauty last week but dropped back cause think I may still have candida I’m at a stand still with my weight what should I do.? Thanks Jess
Hi Kimberly. Quick question – what is your opinion on organic lime in water instead of lemon? I like to switch it out once in a while. Thanks!!!
Hi Kimberly! I absolutely ADORE your blog. I’m so happy I found it, finally someone who really gets me and thinks the way I do about food. Right now I’m making vegetable and fruit juices everyday and I feel so energetic! It’s incredible.
But I have a little question for you. I know agave is not a good sweetener because its 90 percent fructose. I have tried stevia before, but I have to admit that I don’t quite like the taste of it. But recently I have heard about coconut sugar from the coconut palm tree buds. It is said to have a low glycemic index and contain minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
I have tried it and loved the taste of it but I’m not sure it’s healthy. Hope you can help me. Thanks
First wanted to say I’m a huge fan and love The Beauty Detox Solution. I do have a question for you. I was wondering what your opinion on the blood type diet is. The concept makes sense to me but as an O blood type it says I need lots of animal protein, slightly more acidic diet, while avoiding things like cauliflower, cabbage and grains. As someone who has been vegetarian for several years, always seems to do well with gluten free grains, and has certianly increased fruit and veggie intake since your book, I would be interested to hear your opinion. Thanks Kim!!
Hi Kimberly I do “Liver Flush” drink once a day for three days every two months or so. The drink is something I picked up in Thailand and contains raw lemon, orange, cayenne, olive oil, garlic n ginger. I don’t feel noticeably different just do it because I think it is good for me but with no real proof that it is. What are your thoughts on the drink and this practice.
Live for your blog! Really important article but i am concerned about the how things that cab harm your liver include “Excessive use of herbal remedies”. Can U specify some of these herbs? my mom has IBS (Irrtble Bowel Syndrme) and makes difft herb teas everyday to help keep her digestion going, along w/probiotics and Omeprazole. concerned she may be harming her digestion by using herbs such as Mallow, Pericon (aka Mexican Tarragon or Marigold), cinnamon, etc. any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Kimberly, Thanks for the great information on the liver. Liver health is so important to overall health and its great to find your blog and have you share fantastic info on taking care of our liver. I am a holistic chef so I really strive to eat foods which are healing to the body.
All The Best,
Shelly I am glad to see that you understand the importance of taking care of your liver.
This is very attention-grabbing, You’re an overly skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and stay up for seeking extra of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks
How about milk thistle? how safe is this herbal supplement. I don’t have liver problems but it just happened that my baby shihtzu did – to a point where she started to have serious nose bleeds. This was two years ago. The Vet wanted to give her meds but I research and found out about milk thistle. I am not a proponent of these herb stuff but three months after giving her thistle supplements her upper chest decreased in size and the bleeding stopped. She’s going 14yrs now and still looking healthy. She,… I mean , we, have been taking thistle as a daily part of our diet. After reading your article, those substances listed are actually what I am exposed to everyday. — God help me.
Milk thistle is said to be very supportive of the liver. One of my herbal teas contains it. If it works for you/her, great!
Along with a healthy diet, EThistle is formulated with physician recommended doses of antioxidants, milk thistle and vitamin E promote a healthy liver. Milk thistle and vitamin E have been a part of several recent research studies, which focus on liver wellness. EThistle™ combines milk thistle and vitamin E for the first time into one liver health supplement.
so drinking green tea two times a day every day can hurt me??
I am shocked to learn on your website that agave is so harmful to our health.i am throwing out my agave bottle in the trash can ASAP!
hi kimberly! thanks so much for all that you do. its fantastic work and I am grateful to you for it. Does the liver have anything to do with water retention /leg swelling. Also, I wonder, what specifically do you mean by “Excessive use of herbal remedies”
You said: ”
Avoid animal products..” Where is the scientific evidence that animal products harm the liver in and of themselves? Could you please cite some citations? Lions, tigers, dolphins, and the traditional Inuit must all have some really unhealthy livers I suppose.
I have been drinking 2Tbls of apple cider vinegar for some time, should I stop.
Just wanna remark on few general things, The website design and style is perfect, the content material is really wonderful. “War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military.” by Georges Clemenceau.
I am surprised more people have not commented here because this is excellent work
Drink pure water. What a joke. Educate yourself. Thanks
I have been a big supporter of RVCA from day one and considered it to be my favorite labels until RVCA began supporting UFC and the metro meat heads that follow it.
Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after going through a few
of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking
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Turmeric greatly improves my sluggish digestion and impossible constipation, and I take a tablespoon with each meal. It is a fact that certain spices such as cinnamon and cloves can cause significant liver damage if used in excess.