The average American diet tends to invite a consistent array of foods and eating habits that promote poor health and thus poor functioning organs. In order to maintain proper health, our organs need to be in good shape to be able to perform their functions. Let’s discuss one of our more important organs: The Liver.
The liver is a large lobed organ, the largest among our internal organs. It rests underneath the right ribcage, occupying the majority of the abdomen. This organ has a long list of very important functions, all of which are vital, but its main function is to filter and detoxify the blood. Almost 2 quarts of blood passes through a healthy liver in one minute, making it very efficient and hardworking.
Another important function of the liver is bile production. Bile is a substance that is secreted into a specific part of the digestive tract. It is used to break down fats and create a healthy environment for pancreatic enzymes to function. With insufficient bile production, digestion often suffers.
Given the plethora of unhealthy eating habits in modern america, liver stones, much like gallstones, can form within channels throughout the liver. Liver stones are composed of bile and other substances like cholesterol and bile salts. When liver stones form, they place added stress on the liver, block bile flow, and ultimately cause a variety of unfavorable side effects, including:
Stomach ache after ingesting fat (i.e. Sluggish Liver)
And in extreme cases:
Almost everyone will form liver stones at some point in their lives, but the size, quantity, and severity will vary greatly in relation to age, genetics, diet, and various other factors. Many times the stones are small and relatively insignificant, however a large quantity of these stones, or large stones themselves can lead to chronic health problems, including the ones listed above.
Major causes of liver stones include:
Snacking in between meals
Eating larger meals for dinner, or right before bed
Insufficient water intake
Consuming too little amounts of fat
When we overeat, our bodies often struggle to produce enough digestive juices to break down the food. As a result, we often have partiallydigested food that travels through our digestive systems. When this happens over and over again, organs like the liver struggle to keep up, resulting in poor bile flow and bile compaction into stones. This is also true when eating larger meals for dinner or before bed. The height of digestion is usually midday, thus the largest meal of the day should be lunch. When we consume larger amounts of food in the evening, we are perpetuating the cycle of partiallydigested foods, and thus liver stone formation. Contrastingly, when we eat too LITTLE amounts of fat, our liver and gallbladder aren’t forced to utilize the bile, thus it remains in the liver (or gallbladder where it is stored), and begins to compact there. This can lead to both liver and gallstones. Diets that consist of low or nonfat foods tend to cause the most problems. I myself experienced gallbladder “sludge” after years of having very little or no fat.
Ways to help prevent liver stone formation are as follows:
Eat a light breakfast and dinner, limiting snacking in between
Eat a healthy amount of fats on a daily basis (Don’t be afraid of fats, they’re good for you. See my post on healthy fats).
Drink plenty of water
Perform a liver cleanse
If you think you have a sluggish liver, or you just want your liver in tip top shape, a liver cleanse is a great way to clear out stones. There are several different types of cleanses that work for this purpose, but the one that I utilize comes from a wonderful resource called “The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse” by Andreas Moritz.
This book outlines the various causes of stone formation, prevention, and includes an effective recipe for cleansing the liver. It outlines everything you need to know about the cleanse, answering common questions from people who have performed the cleanse, and who are hesitant to do so. I highly recommend it.
In a nut shell, the cleanse requires you to ingest:
192 oz of apple juice (32 oz/day, 6 days leading up to the cleanse)
4 TBSP Epsom Salt or Magnesium Citrate dissolved in three 8 oz glasses of water
1/2 C Olive Oil
2/3 glass fresh Grapefruit Juice
Drink 32 oz apple juice per day, 6 days leading up to the cleanse
Cease any unnecessary medication the day of the cleanse, and perform a colonic or enema the day of the cleanse.
Avoid any cold liquids during the entire week leading up to the cleanse
On the day of the cleanse, eat a light, simple breakfast with some fruit. No proteins or fats. Finish the last 32 oz of apple juice. Stop eating past 2:00pm.
At 6:00pm, mix 4 TBSP of Magnesium citrate into 3 8oz containers. Drink 3/4 of one now.8:00pm drink another 3/4 of Magnesium Citrate9:45pm mix the olive oil and grapefruit juice until wellcombined.10:00pm drink the entire oil/juice mixture quickly, lay in bed on your right side, and try to sleep.
Don’t get up before 6:00am. At 6:30am, drink another 3/4 glass of Magnesium citrate.
At 8:00am, drink the final glass of Magnesium Citrate.10:00am drink some juice.12:00pm begin eating lightly.
Perform this cleanse once a month until you no longer find liver stones in your stool. The liver stones will appear to be bright green, and they will often float in the toilet. Perform this cleanse twice a year (spring and fall) to maintain a healthy liver and prevent future liver stone buildup.
Note: please take caution when performing a liver cleanse. Refer to the Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse book for a more detailed version of the cleanse. The version above is simplified and should not be performed if you are ill, have an infection, or are weak.
Other less strenuous cleanses may be utilized, including shortterm fasting paired with various citrus and cayenne mixtures, warm water with lemon juice, and even detox drops that support healthy liver function.
Regardless of whether or not you suffer from severe or mild digestive issues, supporting a healthy liver will do your body good. My advice is to limit alcohol consumption, increase healthy fat consumption, eat lighter meals, drink plenty of water, and try a liver cleanse once in a while. You might be surprised by the results.