Taking Care of Your Liver for Optimal Health and Performance

We now live in a world where our food, water, and air are soiled by toxins. With the amounts that we are exposed to daily it is inevitable for them not to have an effect on our bodies. The body has to detoxify over 10,000 toxicants every single day. The organ that is responsible for handling a majority of with these toxins is the liver. As we continually place stress on the liver it can become overburdened and begin to function at suboptimal performance. If your liver is over stressed common warning signs you may experience are: fatigue, digestive problems, weight gain or trouble losing fat. All of these symptoms are fundamental to our general health as well as optimal physique enhancement.

The Liver Is One Of The Major Fat Burning Organs In The Body

The liver controls fat metabolism by multiple pathways. Because all of the blood leaving the digestive system passes through the liver, it is responsible for metabolizing carbohydrate, lipids, and proteins into materials useable by the body.

1. As the fatty acids in the blood pass through the liver, they are absorbed and then metabolized to produce energy in the form of ATP. Glycerol, another lipid component, is also converted by the liver into glucose through the process of gluconeogenesis.

2. The liver is also a reservoir for glycogen acting similar to muscle in its storing ability. When we go for periods without eating, the liver can supply sugar by turning glycogen into glucose in a process called glycogenolysis.

[Note: Items 1. and 2. are how the liver keep your circulating blood sugar levels and other body fuels steady and constant.]

3. The liver also acts to produce bile, which aids in digestion. Hepatocytes in the liver produce bile, which then is stored in the gallbladder. When a fat reaches the duodenum, it stimulates the gallbladder to release the bile. The bile acts to emulsify the large masses of fat. The emulsification process turns the large clumps of fat into smaller pieces and are therefore easier for the body to digest and then excrete.

For optimal health and body composition it makes sense to keep your liver operating at the highest level possible. Many individuals go as far as suggesting extensive cleanses and other programs to rid your liver of the build up of toxins. Just as with the other areas of health and fitness, I don’t personally believe in a 1-2 week plan solving liver toxicity issues. Liver health is just like other avenues of fitness in that it is a daily process over a long period of time. Most of the items that will keep our liver healthy you may already be doing as part of a health conscious lifestyle. Below are a few items you should ensure are in your daily regimen to keep this fat burning organ at 100%.

Healthy Proteins & Fats

  • Make sure you eat enough healthy fats and that your diet is void of of trans-fats. Include organic animal sources like grass-fed beef and wild caught fish to increase your omega 3 intake.
  • It is important choose natural organic sources when eating meats that contain fats. Fat soluble compounds cross biological membranes easily and build up in the fatty tissues of these animals we are eating. When we consume them, we are consuming the toxins they have in their system and it ends up in our cells.
  • Avocados are also an additional good fat to consume for liver health. Avocados have been shown to protect the liver from galactosamine, a toxin shown to produce a liver damage much like human viral hepatitis.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Lemon juice in hot water, upon rising, is a great wake up call for the liver. Morning is the perfect time for this cocktail as the body is already in a state of cleansing from the overnight fast. By using warm water it will aid digestion. The lemon juice contains vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps calm liver inflammation and protect against free radical damage. The sourness of the lemon triggers nerve and hormone activation to the liver and digestive system. The combination of these items makes it the perfect the start to the day to aid in liver health.
  • Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts, contain glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are sulphur containing compounds that protect the liver from damage and improve its ability to eliminate toxins. These are foods that are naturally part of a healthy lifestyle, but will also keep the liver fresh.
  • Bitter Greens including arugula, and spinach stimulate the digestive process with their bitter taste. The bitter greens will increase natural bile production and aid in keeping the body toxin-free.

Special Herbs & Spices

  • Garlic contains sulfur compounds that can help activate enzymes in the liver. It contains allicin and selenium, which are both good for liver protection as well.
  • Tumeric has anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body. This also includes the liver as it will encourage regeneration of liver cells. Also similar to bitter greens, it increases natural bile production and aids in keeping the body toxin-free.
  • Cilantro can help remove heavy metals from the body, something your liver could be struggling with right now.
  • Hot pepper sauce contains capsaicin, which boosts blood flow and certain enzymes responsible for detoxifying your liver.

The liver is not only pertinent to our health but also to our optimal body composition. Be sure to follow the above tips to keep your liver functioning at the highest level. For overall health, as well as the liver, eat foods that are natural, unprocessed, non-GMO and organic . The easiest way to keep toxins out of your system is by not putting them in.

About the Author

DSC_9331Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.

It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.

Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.