Whole Life Magazine

October/November 2014

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Page 18 of 43

Download current and back issues of Whole Life Times at www.wholelifemagazine.com www.wholelifemagazine.com B itter greens may not always be best for the thyroid, but for liver func- tion, cruciferous vegetables are an important component. The liver is our largest gland, weigh- ing about three pounds, and is one of the body's vital organs. It performs more than 500 functions, including: synthesizes plasma proteins, cholesterol and vitamin D, stores glycogen and iron, destroys old blood cells, makes and breaks down hor- mones, regulates blood sugar, and most importantly, drives the detoxifi cation of harmful toxins. One of the liver's primary functions is fi ltering the blood. Almost two quarts of blood pass through the liver ev- ery minute on its way from the intestines, and it is often loaded with bacteria and other toxic substances from our environ- ment. When the liver is working optimal- ly, it clears 99 percent of the bacteria and other toxins from the blood before it re- enters circulation. The liver also produces and secretes bile, which serves as a carrier for many toxins to be eliminated, as well as emulsifi es fats and fat-soluble vitamins, improving absorption in the intestines. All of us are living with some degree of environmental toxins in our bodies, and concerns about bloating, belly fat, acne and hormone imbalance can all be traced to a toxic, congested liver. One source of toxins, identifi ed by a study conduct- ed in the UK, estimates that the average Western woman applies more than 500 chemicals to her body during her beau- ty routine. Chemicals such as parabens (a synthetic preservative in everything from toothpaste to shampoo) and phthalates (a class of chemicals found in many "fra- granced" lotions, perfumes and deodor- ants) are classifi ed as potent hormone disruptors called xenoestrogens, which disrupt the normal function of hormones and cause a host of problems, from weight gain to slow metabolism and lack of sleep. Xenoestrogens have the ability to mimic natural hormones, specifi cally estrogen, causing a condition quite com- mon among both men and women called "estrogen dominance." Since the liver produces and breaks down hormones and other environ- mental toxins, it is extremely important to consume foods and supplements that support liver function. A sluggish, toxic liver can and will contribute to major health problems. —Marita Schauch, BSc, ND, has a clinical practice and is the author of Making Sense of Women's Health and co-author of The Adrenal Stress Connection. She is a women's health educator for Natural Factors. The best way to clear toxins is to love your liver By Marita Schauch, B.Sc., N.D. KEEP YOUR BODY CLEAN HERBS & SUPPLEMENTS FOR LIVER HEALTH • Milk thistle is the single most important herb for supporting liver function. It contains a group of fl avonoids that have a protective effect on the cells of the liver as well as detoxifi cation. • Indole-2-carbinol, DIM, sulforaphane and cal- cium-d-glucarate are potent compounds that help reduce excess estrogen in the body by binding harmful estrogen metabolites (16-al- pha hydroxyestrone) and safely eliminating them out of the body. • N-acetyl cysteine increases cellular levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from environmental damage. • Alpha-lipoic acid also stimulates glutathione synthesis and has shown to protect against liver and nervous system damage from heavy metals and other environmental toxicity. • Adrenal support is absolutely critical to re- duce stress, especially when dealing with the environmental insult that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Some stress-busting strate- gies are: adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, suma and ashwagandha, B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. B vitamins also help support many of the detoxifi cation pathways in the liver. Learn what foods particularly support liver health at www.wholelifemagazine.com. october/november 2014 19

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