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Improving liver function - the key to solving your health problem

posted on 8 June 2004 | posted in Health Articles


Toxins are widespread in the modern environment and are known to cause numerous health problems.

For example they are implicated in causing: acne, allergies, alopecia, anaemia, arthritis, asthma, ataxia, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease (specifically rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, myasthenia gravis, diabetes, thyroiditis), bronchitis, cancer, cellulite, chronic flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, constipation, criminal behaviour, Crohn's disease, depression, dermatitis, diarrhoea, dizziness, eczema, emphysema, gastroenteritis, headaches, hyperactivity/learning disability, immune disorders, indigestion, inflammatory conditions, kidney disease, liver disease, mental confusion, mental disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, muscle pains/weakness, nausea, pancreatitis, Parkinson's disease, poor co-ordination, premature aging, psoriasis, senile dementia, stuffy nose, tingling in extremities, tinnitus, tremors, ulcerative colitis and watering eyes.

Indeed the ability to detoxify and eliminate toxins largely determines an individuals health status. Little wonder that many naturopaths advocate a periodic bodily spring clean, just as they do a periodic parasite cleanse.
Herbalists say that ' If we were toonly treat our patients' liver , no matter what their complaint was, 75% of them would get better.' This just illustrates the importance of taking care of liver function. From our own clinic experience we would agree with this too.

Toxins may be classified as follows: xenobiotics (pollutants, drugs), heavy metals, toxic food constituents, microbial-dervied toxins, toxins derived from pathological processes, and waste from physiological processes.

These are all detoxified (i.e. rendered harmless or excretable) principally in the liver by a two-step process:

Phase 1 detoxification

(Mainly hydroxylation by mono-oxygenase enzymes, principally cytochrome P-450 species)

Phase 2 detoxification

A: Conjugation reactions
  • Glucuronidation
  • Sulphation
  • Glutathione conjugation
  • Amino acid conjugation (chiefly with glycine, but also taurine, glutamine, arginine and ornithine

    B: Sulphoxidation
    C: Methylation
    D: Acetylation

    The efficiency of liver detoxification varies widely between individuals (up to five-fold differences have been observed). Fortunately sub-optimal liver detoxification can be improved by dietary measures, nutritional supplements and herbs.

    We use a number of remedies to help the liver to detoxify and to support the liver.
    Broccoli Formula
    Broccoli Formula belongs to the latter category and contains dill, caraway, broccoli and milk thistle.
    Dill and Caraway - these herbs contain limonene, which is a strong inducer of both phase 1 & phase 2 (glutathione conjugation, glucuronidation) detoxification pathways. We have seen these herbs rapidly restore a dog's vigour after failure to recover from the sedative effects of diazepam.
    Broccoli - raw broccoli is a veritable treasure trove of nutrients, providing quercetin, alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, beta carotene, lutein, vitamin c, chromium, sulphur, glucarate, sulphoraphane, indoles and fibre.
    Sulphoraphane greatly stimulates the activity of several key detoxifying enzymes including phase 1 enzymes and glutathione conjugation, glucuronidation and sulphation. The broccoli used in detoxrejuve is standardized with regard to its sulphoraphane content.
    Milk Thistle - this herb is renowned for its liver tonifying effects. Milk thistle contains a mixture of bioflavonoids called silymarin, which have been shown to increase the glutathione level in the liver by up to 35%. Not only is glutathione extremely important in enabling liver detoxification, it is the most important antioxidant for the purposes of neutralizing the damaging free radicals that are inevitably produced during phase 1 detoxification.

    Dandelion & Parsley Combination
    Dandelion and Parsley Combination historically is used to cleanse, detoxify and nourish the liver and provide support for the gastrointestinal tract.

    Peony and Cinnamon Combination
    Peony and Cinnamon Combination is a Chinese herbal combination containing 12 herbs that the Chinese collectively call 'tiao he', which means 'harmonising'. Its primary herbs help normalise the nervous system during tension and distress and normalise the upper digestive tract. It would be classed as a liver support remedy.

    Milk Thistle - Time Release
    This remedy provides a consistent supply of silymarin to the liver, which may help protect the liver against ingested toxins. Milk thistle (silymarin) may help stabilise cellular memberanse preventing the intake of some toxins and therefore prevent tissue damage. It also stimulates protein synthesis in liver cells and has antioxidant properties

    If nutritional support for liver detoxification is required, the following nutrients can be used:
    A good multi vitamin and mineral formula that has a base of herbs including broccoli and rosemary. This contains all the important vitamins and minerals required by the liver for detoxifying and other functions.

    Protein is vital for amino acid conjugation. All the amino acids (the end products of protein) in a base of fruits and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli) can be got from SynerProtein Drink. This is really useful for vegetarians or for people who don't eat a protein breakfast.

    The by products from poor liver detoxification cause free radical overload. This damages tissue and ultimately can damage DNA. Ensuring that the body has a rich source of antioxidants is really important for liver and brain health, particularly. A high ORAC drink is Zambroza. Read more about Zambroza

    Other liver support that should be considered include:
    C vitamin 1g
    Magnesium Supreme 100mg
    Bifidophilus (Milk Free)(25% of the detoxification that occurs in the body is believed to occur in the gut, and is mediated by intestinal bacteria, which possess a P-450 enzyme system.
    Finally, as the liver excretes its water-soluble toxins to the kidneys, it is helpful to the whole body detoxification process to support the kidneys as well. We find the Juniper and Parsley combination is a remedy of choice.
     


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