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[This is a guest post from Kristin Merizalde, BS, of Sassy Holistics, about how to heal your liver to help you lose weight and keep it off. She shares some great tips and information for anyone interested in improving their internal health and losing weight.]
When you think of weight loss, what is the first thing you think of? Diet and exercise right?
What if I told you that there is so much more to weight loss than we’ve ever been told?
One of the biggest factors in sustainable weight loss is something that most people have never even thought of: your liver!
I have had countless clients over the years that have said, “I barely eat and I exercise so much, but I cannot lose weight!”
This is because we have been taught absolutely nothing about how the body works and how we actually lose weight.
We get stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle of starving ourselves, pushing ourselves to the limit with exercise, and then gaining the weight right back when we stop the “diet”.
What if there were a better, safer, more nourishing way to lose weight for good?
Your liver plays a huge role in weight loss, and for most people it is the most important aspect to heal to see lasting results.
What is the Liver?
The liver is one of the most crucial organs in our bodies, having over 500 functions.
We can function with as little as 1/6th of our livers–this is why it can take years, even decades, before we even notice any apparent liver dysfunction.
Many clients have said to me over the years, “I don’t have liver pain, so I must not have liver issues.” This unfortunately is not a good way to gauge liver health at all!
These days, we are bombarded with environmental toxins in our food, air, household products, and even our furniture.
Part of the liver’s job is to filter out toxins and convert them into less toxic substances so they can be excreted.
However, when the liver gets bombarded by toxins, and if we have a nutrition deficient diet, it cannot do its job correctly.
Toxins get stored up in fat when the liver cannot do its job well, and this can continue until we stop the cycle and start paying attention to liver health.
Health issues will continue to decline or new symptoms will arise if we do not start to address our liver health.
When it comes to weight loss, the liver’s most important job is to help with the detoxification of excess hormones, toxins, heavy metals, parasites, and more.
A healthy liver creates an entire quart of bile a day which is needed for fat metabolism, fat soluble vitamin absorption, and detoxification.
When the liver is overloaded and stressed out, then we store up these toxins until it finds the energy to get rid of them.
Toxins cannot get out fast enough, our hormones become imbalanced, and our entire body can suffer if the liver is struggling.
This is what leads to many chronic symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, hormonal imbalances, and skin issues.
The liver gets sluggish due to toxins and nutritional deficiencies. When we start to become depleted, this is when the liver starts to store up toxins in fat.
Chronic illness and chronic symptoms like the following sets in for many people around this time:
- thyroid or adrenal issues
- brain fog
- and so many other symptoms start.
When you give the liver the support it needs then toxins can be eliminated and weight can start to normalize.
Weight loss isn’t just about the weight- it’s about being healthy!
The Most Common Symptoms Associated with Liver Dysfunction:
Sign # 1: Acne
The skin is a reflection of the liver.
If your liver is sluggish, then we can start pushing toxins out through the skin.
Acne is the most common issue, but it can also be rashes, eczema, cherry angiomas, or even just itchy skin.
Sign #2: Hormonal Imbalances
Have you been told you have estrogen dominance?
Or are you low in many of the main hormones? Then your liver needs love!
Our liver regulates our hormonal balance, and if it’s overloaded then it cannot do all of its jobs properly.
A healthy liver makes enough bile to clear out excess hormones.
Sign #3 Constipation
If you run on the constipated side, you’re not alone.
This is one of the most common symptoms people are dealing with these days.
The biggest reason is due to a sluggish liver.
As mentioned above, the liver makes our bile and a healthy liver should be making about a quart a day!
Bile is part of the process that takes toxins out of the body effectively.
Sluggish bile = poor bowel movements!
If you are not going to the bathroom daily or if you’re dealing with rabbit pellet type poo, then you are constipated.
Sign # 4 Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
A sluggish liver can lead to either an inability to gain or lose weight.
Most people are leaning on the overweight side these days.
This is because if the liver cannot process toxins, excess hormones, etc. then these get stored up in our fat!
Our bodies hold onto it until we’re strong enough to actually eliminate it.
Sign #5 Poor Sleep
The liver works hardest at night.
If it’s stressed out, then it is very common to have sleeping issues.
Night sweats, waking up constantly (especially around 3-4 AM), having anxiety right before bed, and fitful sleep are all common signs that your liver needs more support.
Sign #6 Chronic Health Issues
If you have a chronic illness of any kind, then you need to support your liver.
Whether it is an infection like Lyme, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, or autoimmune illnesses, you need to be sure you’re loving your liver!
Sign #7 Thyroid Problems
It’s a little known fact that the liver plays a role in thyroid health.
BUT most people don’t realize that the body works as a whole- everything is connected.
If the liver is sluggish, then it is hard for important thyroid hormone conversion and utilization to take place.
Other symptoms of poor liver function include:
- cholesterol imbalance
- mood swings
- issues with fat or protein digestion
- gallbladder issues
- brain fog
- night blindness. (1)
How to Test for Liver Issues
There are a few blood tests that can help with determining liver function; however they are not always accurate nor do they really show us what to do to fix the issue.
As a holistic health practitioner, I have a few big ways to determine whether the liver is stressed:
- Current Symptoms and History
Looking at your current symptoms that are common with liver dysfunction is one of the easiest ways to determine if your liver needs some support.
The symptom list above is a perfect example of what to look for with liver issues.
If you have a history of struggling with any chronic illness this is also a huge sign that you will need liver support.
- Blood Tests
If there is an imbalance with copper, ceruloplasmin, zinc, and iron in blood tests this is a huge sign that the liver is struggling.
Ceruloplasmin is a protein that is made in the liver which is essential for proper utilization of copper and iron.
If levels are low then this points to a sluggish and stressed liver.
You can ask your doctor to order these tests or you can order them yourself though an online lab service like Walk In Lab.
- Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis is another way to help with determining the state of the liver.
If we are in slow oxidation, it is a big sign that detoxification is very sluggish.
If we have a copper imbalance or if we are showing heavy metals, then this also tells us that the liver needs a bit more love.
This is the main service that I offer myself and I believe it is one of the most helpful ways to determine the state of our overall health and wellness.
The practitioner matters the most with HTMA as the test needs to be interpreted correctly to get the most out of it.
Easy Ways to Support Your Liver
I personally like to work on healing and supporting the liver to get it to function better as opposed to harsh cleanses or fasts.
Most practitioners push their clients to do intense detox cleanses, or they jump right into detoxing instead of nourishment.
This is something I learned very early on NOT to do!
Our bodies need nourishment, love, and support to function better, not more stress.
Many people need to introduce detox at turtle speed to prevent any issues with overstressing the body.
Since our liver has to work well every day, this method works better in the long run instead of trying to purge or force the liver to work better when it’s already stressed out.
- Dandelion Root Tea
One of the EASIEST ways to help the liver is dandelion root tea.
Go for ROOT for longer term use though, not the leaf (leaf is the majorly diuretic part of the plant).
Dandelion can help those healing from infections and hepatitis, and its main purpose is to help cleanse the body of toxins (2).
It can be helpful for:
- Blood pressure regulation
- Weight loss
- and more…
Dandelion cleans toxicities from the blood, lymph system, kidneys, liver and urinary system.
Since dandelion is a bitter herb, it is amazing for digestion.
I personally love dandelion root tea- it’s easy, affordable, and tasty to make!
- Bone Broth, Gelatin, or Collagen
Protein is basically food for the liver.
We need those amazing amino acids to help with healing and detoxification.
Collagen is my favorite way to get this in, but bone broth is excellent too.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is AMAZING for overall health.
It cleanses the colon, aids in detoxification, reduces histamine and mast cell issues, strengthens the immune system, balances blood sugar, increases bile flow, and SO much more.
- Bitter Herbs
Bitter herbs are especially helpful for bile flow, improving stomach acid, and helps assimilate nutrients.
- Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs are one of the most helpful ways to support liver healing.
They are both gentle and effective, and super easy to do.
Instead of ingesting a supplement, you apply castor oil to a cloth compress and press it to your abdomen over your liver.
I like to think of castor oil packs as a balm to the liver- when it is stressed out, overworked, and struggling then the castor oil will help to calm it down and soothe it.
The Healing Process
As the liver heals, it starts to work better and keeps the toxins coming out more efficiently.
Let’s stop with the fad diets and punishing ourselves, and start working on healing the body.
For decades, weight loss has been about starving ourselves, working out till exhaustion, counting calories, deprivation, and punishing ourselves.
Let’s flip the switch and start nourishing, loving, and healing ourselves instead.
And if you’re ready for a health-focused diet plan perfect for anyone in need of major bodily healing, our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge may be exactly what you’re looking for.
The Challenge focuses on eating lots of real, whole foods–especially veggies and protein–and improving your internal and hormonal health, and it’s perfect for beginners or anyone with a lot of weight to lose.
About the Author:
My name is Kristin, and I’m a Holistic Health Practitioner at Sassy Holistics. I have been on the path to help people achieve better health using whole food nutrition, mineral balancing, and holistic healing principles for almost a decade now.
The body is a whole and we must treat it as such! I have my Bachelor of Science in Natural Health Sciences, certificates in Herbal Studies from Herbal Academy, and I am constantly learning more about holistic health to help my clients and followers.
My goal is to help you unleash your own inner healer! You already hold the power to heal inside you. My role is as a guide to help you realize this potential.