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Your Guide to Liver Cleansing

Part 1: How Does Your Liver Function to Cleanse and Detox Naturally?

Liver and digestive organs

Your liver acts as your main biochemical synthesizer and detoxifying organ. It's responsible for cleaning toxins and wastes from your blood, and separating out the useful nutrients to synthesize hundreds of biochemicals that your body needs for daily functioning. Your liver also activates and regulates important hormones.

After your digestive system has broken down your food, the small particles enter your blood from the intestine and are routed to your liver for filtering. There your liver separates the nutrients needed for building blocks from the waste chemicals that need to be removed from circulation. The liver converts amino acids into proteins to build lean muscle mass and enzymes. It produces bile that squirts back out through your gall bladder into your intestinal tract to digest fatty foods. The liver also stores energy from sugar as glycogen for later release. Your liver works like a factory that receives, filters and then repackages substances for use in the body or for safe removal of any toxic wastes.

Out of the hundreds of functions your liver performs, ensuring toxins are safely removed from your blood is one of its most critical jobs. Toxins enter your body when you are exposed to harmful substances like pesticides, but they also result from normal digestion. For example, when your body digests protein, ammonia is released and your liver converts it into the less toxic substance called urea that is eliminated through your urine. Any wastes your liver cannot use are converted and either carried out by bile into your small intestine or carried by the blood to your kidneys.

Your liver detoxifies harmful substances in two steps. The first step uses enzymes and oxygen to burn toxins, especially fatty ones, so they are more water soluble, making them easier for the body to eliminate. The second detox step combines partially processed toxins with sulfur or amino acids so they can be removed through bile or urine.


It's important for both steps of the detoxification process to be in balance, with enough nutrition for each step to work. If toxins aren't broken down fast enough during the first step, they are recirculated through your blood until the liver has the material it needs to handle them.

On the other hand, if toxins are broken down quickly in the first stage, but the packaging in the second stage isn't able to keep up, the partially-processed toxins build up in your body.These free radicals can do more harm than the original toxins. When you're exposed to a heavy load of toxins through the environment or diet, especially over a long period of time, the nutrients needed for the second stage can become exhausted, preventing your liver from handling the load.

Your liver also breaks down or deactivates certain hormones - like insulin, estrogen and cortisol, the stress hormone - and clears them from your blood. Your liver also converts Vitamin D, which is actually considered a hormone, into a more useable form that activates the immune system, supports calcium absorption and other crucial functions.

Stored energy - glycogen

Did you know your liver helps to regulate blood sugar too? When carbohydrates are broken down during digestion, a type of simple sugar called glucose is created. Glucose is the main source of energy for your cells. When the liver filters your blood after you eat, it converts the left-over glucose into glycogen and stores it for future energy needs. Your liver quickly changes the glycogen back into glucose when you need a quick burst of energy, sending it out into circulation once more to feed your cells.

So you see, a healthy liver is essential to your life. You need to support it, and repair it when stressed, for optimal health. Nutrition from fresh produce and herbs are critical for all liver functions including detoxification. Next: Signs Your Liver Could Use Support ...

Your Guide to Liver Cleansing
Part 1 | Part 2: Signs Your Liver Could Use Support | Part 3: How to Cleanse Your Liver

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