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Liver D-Tox

The Importance of a Liver Cleanse

Spring is finally here after a long winter and as typical Canadians we feel rejuvenated and begin to think about spring cleaning. This usually includes our lawns and backyard, the house and especially the garage.
However, after a long cold winter filled with not as much exercise as we would have liked and too much comfort foods that are not good for us, it is time to think about cleansing our bodies.
So where do we start first? It is very important to know that the only organ of your body that is responsible for detoxification is your liver. It is the principle place where all substances are detoxified and then later eliminated through your urine, feces or skin. So this is where we start.
If you are a very healthy person, ate a very good diet through the winter and exercised regularly you may still need a liver cleanse just to kick off the spring season. If you take prescription drugs, a lot of Tylenol (acetaminophen), marijuana, eat more fast food than you should and drink more than a glass of wine a day, you really should give your liver a break and do a cleanse.
Your liver is a very resilient organ but it was not meant for most of the damage we inflict upon it. The following all have a negative effect on your liver.
Prescription Drugs
Pharmaceuticals are designed to be detoxified by your liver. When you swallow a drug, your body treats this as a totally foreign substance and sends it to the liver for detoxification. However, drugs are designed in such a way so that when this happens, the drug is actually activated by the liver and sent out into your blood stream to perform its function. After spending its half-life (half the dosage) lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol or treating your depression, it is returned to your liver for further detoxification. Once again, this process sends the drug out into your system for another 6 to 12 hours or until it is all dissipated. The active forms of the drug that are circulating in your body are called metabolites. Most drugs have two liver passes but if you remember the arthritis drug Vioxx, it had seven liver passes and caused over 29,000 deaths before being withdrawn from the market. The drugs that are hardest on your liver are Coumadin (warfarin), Acetaminoiphen, Eliquis, Pradaxa and Xarelto (the last 3 are all blood thinners).
All of these drugs are detoxified at a specific site in your liver known as cytochrome P450 and most liver cleanses that contain milk thistle as their main ingredient will help make this process more efficient and cleanse the liver of any residual metabolites that are still there. Once you have done this, your skin colour will look healthier and you will feel much more energetic.
Marijuana
Now that this drug is becoming legal and many people are getting legal prescriptions for marijuana for pain, eyes and other conditions, we now have to take into account how this drug affects your liver.
Unlike most drugs that last from 6 to 24 hours, the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can last in your body for 7 days. Many elderly people take this drug in the form of a cookie at night for pain and sleep but do not realize that when they get up the next morning to drive their cars, they are still under the influence of this drug. Using a liver cleanse will help get it out of your system much faster and could make you a safer driver. If your reflexes are slowed down by marijuana, you could have a serious accident.
Many people in the work force who use marijuana recreationally may be subject to random drug testing. And even though you used it on the weekend, it could still be in your system on the following Wednesday. Another case for detoxifying your liver with either straight milk thistle or a liver cleanse.
Acetaminophen
Many people use this drug for headaches and pain but it is in many over-the-counter preparations for colds, sleep and arthritis. Next to Coumadin (warfarin) it is the most difficult drug for your liver to handle and many people who have to take warfarin daily actually combine acetaminophen with it unknowingly and are doing great harm to their liver. Because we replaced baby aspirin for children years ago with Tylenol (acetaminophen), this drug is the main cause of overdosing and poisoning among children at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Now many parents have switched to Advil solutions for their baby’s fevers.
If you have chronic pain and take Tylenol # 2, or Tylenol # 3 constantly you are getting huge doses of acetaminophen into your system which can be very dangerous. Once again, milk thistle every day and liver cleanses once a month are a necessity for you.
Fast Food
We all know how bad this is for you and the best solution is to stay away from these places. However, if you still frequent these so-called restaurants you will be consuming food that is remarkably high in sugars and fats. These sugars and fats are converted to a product called glycogen and stored in your liver. This causes all types of problems such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides and even blood sugar problems. Your physician will know you are eating out a lot because your blood test will show elevated liver enzymes which are a very bad thing. Most people know that alcohol causes cirrhosis of the liver but are not aware that large amounts of fast food can have the same result.
Once again, you have two choices; stop eating at fast food restaurants or do liver cleanses on a regular basis.
Alcohol
Yes, I have saved the best for the last. If you drink alcohol in moderation, that is, one beer, one glass of wine or one scotch once a day then you will not have a problem. In fact this small amount of alcohol actually increases your good cholesterol (HDL). However, if you drink excessive amounts of alcohol you are putting a very large strain on your liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is the direct result of heavy alcohol consumption. Once again, you have choices. Either stopping drinking alcohol altogether or reducing your daily consumption would be ideal. But once again, milk thistle daily and a liver cleanse once a month is mandatory for heavy drinkers. I should add that if you consume large volumes of alcohol, you deplete tour body of thiamine or Vitamin B1, so it is important to supplement with at least 100mg a day if you cannot stop drinking.
There are many cleanses available for your body but this spring, let’s start with the most important one; a liver cleanse to help out the one organ that is responsible for all the detoxification in our bodies. When you do this it is very important to increase your fibre content. That way, when the toxins are removed from the liver, they are absorbed into the extra fiber to form the stool. This ensures a proper elimination of all your toxins. An extra glass of water with that fiber and you will be good as new for the upcoming spring.
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