The liver and gallbladder
As we have seen, digestive health is key to health. Stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and baking soda are essential for healthy digestion and heart health. But the health of the entire digestive system also comprises two organs that have to be working pristinely for the whole digestive process to be effective. These are the liver and the gallbladder. They both assist in detoxification and digestion, especially the digestion of fats, which as we have seen are essential for heart health. They also can get overloaded because of the very important functions they have in the body. Let us focus on the liver and gallbladder as we continue our journey through the digestive system.
Next to the heart and the brain, the liver is the most important and multifunctional structure in the body. It is the largest organ inside the body and it has a role to play in every single thing the body does. Any long term health challenge in the body will ultimately affect the liver and vice versa, an overloaded liver will affect the rest of the body. Because the liver is a key digestive organ, it is the jumping point between digestive health and other systems in the body (heart, brain, bones, muscles, etc). But the liver does a lot more than digest food. The liver:
- Is a great detoxifier
- Makes cholesterol
- Makes bile
Because of this, the liver can get overworked very easily.
The liver and digestion
The liver is a digestive organ. After food is broken down in the stomach, it goes to the intestine where it is absorbed into the blood, from there it goes to the liver. Everything we eat has to be processed by the liver: fats, proteins, amino acids, glucose, fructose, etc. This means that the more we eat, and/or the more toxicity that comes to our body through food, the more work the liver has to do. Food additives, pesticides, insecticides, preservatives, antibiotics in food, alcohol, etc all of them have to be broken down by the liver. Which also means that the best way to give the liver a break is to change the way we eat: less refined carbohydrates, less processed food and caloric restriction will give the liver a break. Fasting regularly will also take a load off the liver so it has more resources to do its work. Other things like an imbalance in gut bacteria (Disbiosis) will also put a load on the body’s detoxification system. Taking care of the digestive system like we saw in our previous blog, will also take a load off the liver.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Something that is specially burdensome for the liver is sugar. Of the two major kinds of dietary sugars, glucose and fructose, fructose, is exclusively processed in the liver. White sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose, so it does not have processed by the liver completely. High fructose corn syrup is only fructose, which means it has more fructose than regular sugar, making high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and fruits very problematic for the liver.
Since HFCS came out in the market in the late 70’s, there has been a rapid increase in the incidence of fatty liver disease. The average American is getting an around 80-90 pounds of HFCS every year, which has translated into 30 % of Americans suffering from fatty liver disease. According to a News Max Health article from January 2015 titled “Fatty liver disease: America’s silent epidemic””A major health crisis is emerging in our nation that is flying under the radar of even health-conscious Americans.” (1)
The problem with this is that human body is not equipped to process so much fructose. When it is overloaded this way, the liver starts forming fatty deposits that are known as ‘fatty liver disease’ or NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, now also called non-alcoholic cyato-hepatitis, NACH). The term ‘non-alcoholic’ points to the toxicity profile of fructose being similar to that of alcohol.
Fatty liver disease is hard to diagnose, but because it has a blood sugar component to it, we can assume that any problem with diabetes or sugar metabolism, will predispose us to it. To diagnose it, doctors will first perform is a palpation test, then they will perform a biopsy. In my opinion, there is a lot we can do to take care of our liver before anything as serious as fatty liver occurs. By changing our diet and taking supplements like the ‘Liver Compound’ from Healthy Hearts Club, we can take care of many other health problems including heart disease. In addition, garlic, a key ingredient in the Heart and Body extract can have tremendous detoxifying properties for the liver. Being high in sulfur, garlic acts like a magnet to attract and ‘pull’ poisons out of cells so it makes it a great liver and body detoxifier.
The liver’s detoxification system
Apart from being a digestive organ, the liver is also a great detoxification organ. It is so effective at detoxifying that it can adjust and up regulate itself to the level of toxicity we subject it to. It accomplishes this by producing more enzymes when needed. These enzymes break up all sorts of poisons the body produces like old hormones, (which is why menopausal women should pay close attention to the health of their liver), drugs, environmental poisons like chemicals, tobacco, etc.
According to Web Md, in their article ‘Hep C now leading U.S. infectious disease killer’, “The number of hepatitis C-linked deaths in the United States reached a record high in 2014, and the virus now kills more Americans than any other infectious disease, health officials report.” (2)
There is hepatitis A, B, C and D, of which C is acute hepatitis. In all cases, liver enzymes are elevated, which is a manifestation of liver cells exploding, dying and releasing their enzymes into the blood stream. Hepatitis can be considered as liver inflammation caused by various sources like viruses, alcohol, drugs, toxins. In any case, they all point to an overtaxed liver that cannot do its job. In practical terms, it doesn’t even matter where the virus comes from, what matters is that the liver can be strengthened so it can take care of viruses. This is where we have control. Liver inflammation increases with age, but this doesn’t mean we cannot do something about it. We can start changing our diet and use supplements like the ‘Liver Compound Extract’ and the ‘Heart and Body Extract’
A major role of the liver is to make cholesterol. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride in her book “Put your heart in your mouth”, cholesterol has such a key role to play in the body that it doesn’t need to come from food, the liver can manufacture it by itself. When organs like the brain or the adrenals need cholesterol to perform their functions, they signal the liver to produce more cholesterol. This is so important to understand, in my opinion. First of all, the brain is mainly cholesterol, therefore it is, to put it in Dr. Natasha’s words ‘like a sponge for cholesterol’. She mentions studies where patients on a low cholesterol diet displayed increased aggressive behavior. Similarly, people on cholesterol lowering drugs show to have a similar change in personality, as well as increased anxiety. Secondly, the adrenals, which are our stress management organ, need cholesterol to produce hormones that help us handle stress and repair the body in times of stress. What this means is that in stressful situations, our body will be in more need of cholesterol. In the case of surgery, for example, it is normal to find higher levels of blood cholesterol, she explains, which the body uses for healing and repair. Cholesterol is so tightly regulated by the body that there is no need to artificially manage it. A balanced diet high in healthy fats and low in refined carbohydrates will naturally lower cholesterol levels. This points to another factor, sugar is perceived by the body as a stress, which means a diet high sugar diet increases cholesterol.
Liver problems will also affect bile production because the liver makes bile, although it is the gallbladder that makes most of the bile in the body.
Bile is our biological soap, it frees up fatty acids from foods: fatty vitamins, phytonutrients like lutein, beta carotene, zeathantin, flavonoids and all the 100 different carotenes found in vegetables. Bile is held in the gallbladder, and it is important to remember that it is made out of cholesterol. A cholesterol lowering drug will shut down bile production, which is why the most common side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs are digestive disorders like nausea, diarrhea, constipation, loose stools, etc.
Bile in digestion
After food leaves the stomach, a little valve connecting the stomach to the intestine opens up and releases bile from the gallbladder into the intestine. This bile helps remove all the fatty substances out of the food. Bile also prepares the way for digestive enzymes in the pancreas to do their work. So bile passes through the pancreas, where the digestive juices released by the pancreas are mixed with bile, and this works on food further. Without the gallbladder releasing bile the pancreas is not going to be able to release pancreatic enzymes either and food is going to sit there, enzymes then will back up, causing pancreatic problems like pancreatitis.
Like an engine cleaner
When bile works properly, after it has been used in digestion, it goes back into the intestine and gets absorbed by the liver. It does a big circle and goes back into the intestine, then the liver again. It does this big circular movement several times until it has cleaned itself, cleaning out the intestine and the liver as well. In this fashion, the bile that is cleaned can be recycled for further use. A little of this bile, together with waste is not recycled but goes to the large intestine to be eliminated in the stool by the action of fiber. This is how toxins that are fatty or tend to accumulate in the fatty part of the body (heavy metals, old hormones, excess estrogen, etc) get eliminated out of the body. This two-way system makes sure bile is used not only to digest fats but also to remove toxins.
Garlic and bile
The element that accounts for bile amazing detoxification properties is sulfur. Sulfur is a highly electrical compound that makes fats more soluble, it magnetically attracts (chelates) toxins, heavy metals, viruses and microbes. Sulfur is needed to make bile. This makes the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ a great product for detoxifying the bile system. Garlic is also a great source of cysteine, which is part of the powerful tri peptide antioxidant molecule known as glutathione. (3)
In addition, insulin chemistry depends on sulfur, the more insulin the body is using, the more sulfur it needs. Diabetics would be wise to use it.
An overloaded, toxic body will put a load on the bile system, making bile sticky and unable to flow properly. This will cause the little stones known as ‘gallstones’ to clog up the tiny tubes in the gallbladder and keep bile from flowing when it is needed to digest fats. It will also cause the pancreas to not have access to bile, which will cause pancreatic insufficiency. An average of 20 million Americans have gallstones. They are not a reason to have your gallbladder taken out, even though they can be very painful. We can prevent this from happening by taking care of our bile system: Avoiding the wrong kinds of foods, food toxins, heavy metals, drugs, etc and supplementing with the ‘Heart and body Extract’, lecithin, enzymes, bile salts, and bile stimulating foods like stomach bitters at the beginning of a meal. Fasting can give your whole digestive system a break, and allow the body to save energy to keep the digestive system working better.
Gallstones and cholesterol
Under ordinary circumstances cholesterol is dissolved in bile, but if our cells are making too much cholesterol because of a diet high in processed carbohydrates, or you have sticky bile because of too many toxins accumulating, then cholesterol can precipitate out as crystals by coming out of the bile solution causing gallstones.
Cholesterol and lecithin
Lecithin is a fundamental structure found throughout nature, it is in all plants and animal cells. Lecithin is also found in the human body as a active ingredient of bile. If you have digestive problems associated with the gallbladder, if you have had your gallbladder removed or are menopausal, or have any of the other digestive problems we have discussed before, you can benefit by supplementing with lecithin. A sign that fats are not being absorbed is a skin condition known as ‘millia’ or ‘keratosis’ which are little ‘bumps’ on the face or arms. Even adult acne can be a sign of fat mal-absorption. These little bumps are telling you your heart is at risk.
Lecithin has a cholesterol dissolving effect that can be used to prevent heart disease by keeping blood fats and cholesterol dissolved. It can dissolve fatty deposits in atherosclerotic plaques, as well as detoxifying the body by assisting the gallbladder and help us absorb fats.
Lecithin is also a very important component of the cell membrane, so it can keep all the cells in our body healthy.
Bile and good bacteria
As important as we have seen the digestive system is, gut bacteria could be called the core of the digestive system, where everything starts. According to the research done by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, the whole universe of bacteria living in our gut accounts for 90% of the human body, with the remaining 10% being us, just a host to these bacteria. The bacteria in our gut is where the entire digestive process comes full circle. In this sense, there is an important relation between bile and gut bacteria. First, gut bacteria cleans the bile, processes it and turns it into hormones. Second, gut bacteria activates bile and turns it into active chemicals. This modified bile protects the intestine from inflammatory bowel diseases, like ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. and helps support the health of the micro biome in return. In other words, the gut bacteria activates the bile and the bile, in return makes the bacteria healthy. This inter-dependency and inter-connectedness shows once more how everything in the body works together. Everything has a purpose and everything is affected by everything else. This is why it the idea that we can remove organs without health implications, goes against the wisdom of the body.
This means that our beneficial gut bacteria also take part in the digestive process by activating the bile as it does its big circle: from the liver to the gallbladder, to the intestine, to the food, then through the intestine and up into the liver again.
Bile, cholesterol and fiber
The old bile that didn’t get recycled, together with toxins and excess cholesterol are excreted out of the body by the action of fiber. Fiber has a magnetic effect on bile and cholesterol, it sticks to them and as the fiber is leaving the body it pulls the bile and cholesterol. It is the way the body lowers cholesterol without the need of manipulating it artificially. The more fiber you take, the more efficient this clearing process is going to be. Fiber then becomes a very important part of our health as well.
The intestine, bile, probiotics and fiber are responsible for clearing out estrogen. Women produce more estrogen than men, which makes them more prone to auto-immune diseases. If they are on the birth control pill or Hormone Replacement Therapy, they are loading their body with extra estrogen. In this case, it is more critical to take care of the whole digestive system. Fiber can be obtained by making your own vegetable juices at home or by grinding flax or chia seeds.
Lastly, bile is also important for the digestion of calcium and other minerals and vitamin D. In an article from US pharmacist, it is stated that “overuse of PPIs in hospitalized patients makes bile more toxic”. (4)
How the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can help. Kelp and the digestive system
Kelp is a wonderful food that can support the digestive system, the immune system and help with pain and inflammation. It is one of the most well researched substances in all of biology. It is technically known as a ‘sulfated polysacharide’, which means that it is made out of little chunks of simple sugars (not the same as refined white sugar) with a sulfur molecule added. What makes these polysaccharides so special is their ability to trap electrical energy. Because sulfur acts as an electrical igniter, the added sulfur, activates these polysacharides even more. You can find kelp as an ingredient in the ‘Heart and Body Extract’
All this journey through the digestive system has hopefully taught us that the whole process of digestion requires hard work from our body and a lot of energy is spent making sure all the different steps work efficiently. Next time we eat a meal, we can be more appreciative and understanding of our hard working digestive system.
Thanks for reading.