Love Your Liver
There is much more to liver function than just processing alcohol and storing glycogen. The liver metabolises alcohol and medication, it makes fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K), it helps to safely eliminate fat soluble toxins such as pesticides and environmental chemicals, it produces bile which is vital for fat digestions and crucially it play a vital role in excreting excess hormones and metabolites.
A sluggish liver may become a big contributor to oestrogen dominance due to a build-up of harmful oestrogen metabolites. Optimal Liver function is key to female hormonal balance and managing the peri menopausal and menopausal symptoms that many women experience in mid -life.
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An overview of the wide range of functions performed by the liver and what areas we cover in this episode:
1. The impact of sub-optimal liver function on a mid-life female runner.
2. What potentially could be congesting your liver?
3. Nutritional support for liver health and hormonal balance
4. Our top 2 lifestyle tips to help support optimal liver health
We look at how the liver detoxifies and eliminates hormones and toxins
The impact of sub-optimal liver health may be an underlying reason for hormonal imbalance.To be a great female runner, who is energetic, injury free and enjoying their training and racing it goes without saying that you have to be a HEALTHY WOMAN. When we hit mid-life we have a lot going on in our lives, our responsibilities for family and work, and our bodies start to change as we approach peri menopause and menopause. Being a Healthy Woman Healthy Runner requires taking a holistic look at your overall health and adapting your nutrition and lifestyle to support the hormonal changes you’re experiencing and in turn that’ll underpin the health and fitness you require for running.
A look at potential toxins and how they may be contributing to your toxic load i.e. compounds in foods, drinks, medication, plus toxins from packaging, skincare/cleaning materials, and environmental toxins which we may be exposed to where we live or work.
When considering the starting point to reducing your toxic load, it’s all about choosing to do things within your control and every contribution you make will help reduce your toxic load
- Food choices – choose fresh, unprocessed foods and unpackaged foods. By making those choices you’ll be minimising additives and potential toxins from packaging.
- Drink choices – choose filtered water and minimise soft drinks, alcohol and caffeine.
- Cleaning materials or personal care products – check the label and choose one that doesn’t include synthetic chemicals – a great website to check is www.ecw.org it’s a US website with lots of great information which will help you.
Nutrition to support liver function and in particular detoxification pathways and the benefits of a gentle nutritional detox plan.
There are some basic things everyone can do e.g. drink lots of filtered water, eat fibre in the form of fruit, vegetables and whole grains – to promote regular daily bowel movements. More specific suggestions include:
- Eat 3 portions of Cruciferous/ Brassica vegetables every day – e.g. cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, rocket, cauliflower, kale – these foods contain indole-3-carbonol and sulforophane which promote detoxification of excess oestrogen
- Eat Vitamin B-rich foods – whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables/salads – used in all detox processes
- Add Bitter Green leaves to your salads and veggies e.g. rocket, dandelion, frissee, kale, endive are some suggestions - to promote bile production which will help with excretion of toxins
- Eating choline rich foods such as eggs and avocado to support to methylation pathway to support clearance of oestrogen and heavy metal toxins
- Having eggs, onions, garlic to support the sulfation pathway also important in the clearance of sex hormones as well as others
- ·Glutathionine is a potent anti-oxidant “known as the master detoxifier “ it’s made up of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine and cysteine, so eating an optimal amount of protein will support production of glutathionine alongside cruciferous veggies, onions, garlic and vitamin C rich foods which will promote glutathionine
- The list of foods is not exhaustive, but these will give you a good foundation to support detox pathways
Our Top 2 lifestyle tips to support optimal liver health:
a. Reduce your exposure to plastic via food packaging and storage containers. Plastic materials may contain endocrine disrupting chemicals which act as fake hormones and are potentially dangerous.
b. Add a sauna, lymphatic massage and skin brushing to you weekly routine – this encourage elimination of toxins via your skin – considered to be an important endocrine organ.
Key Take Aways:
1. The 4 foundations of hormonal balance are Optimal Digestive health, Optimal LIVER health, Blood Sugar Balance and Managing Stress.
2. One of the liver’s key functions is to safely dispose of hormones and toxins that the body does not require using 2 detoxification pathways – known as phase 1 and phase 2.
3. LIVER FUNCTION may be compromised by TOXIC LOAD i.e. Our toxic load = equals Our Total Toxic Exposure minus Our Ability to Detoxify & Excrete Toxins
4. When considering reducing your TOXIC LOAD choose to do things easily within your control e.g. food, drink and packaging choices as well as what personal care and cleaning products you use.
5. Foods such as cruciferous vegetables, bitter greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, avocados, onions, garlic and protein rich foods will support detoxication and elimination of hormones.
6. Avoid plastic packaging – swap to glass containers, beeswax wrappers and silicone bags.
7. Have a sauna, do skin brushing and magnesium baths to promote excretion of toxins via the skin.
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.
Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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