Sensitive to smells and coffee? High LDL and triglycerides? It can be your liver.
The liver is the largest organ of the body. Do you know where is it found? Put your right hand over the end of your right rib cage, just below the diaphragm—your hand is now over your liver.
Your liver performs about 500 vital functions, most of which are vital for good health. Detoxification of the blood, protein synthesis, excretion of bilirubin, hormones, cholesterol, drugs, and production of bile, an alkaline compound which helps in digestion through the emulsification of lipids, are some of the important functions that the liver performs.
How Do You Know if Your Liver is Sluggish?
Many people tell me that their doctor told them that their liver “is fine” based it on their blood work. The reality is: liver abnormalities in your lab work often appear not at the onset of the problems but after years of suffering from a sluggish liver.
Here are some early signals that your liver might not be in the best shape:
1. Cholesterol and Level of Fat
One of the main functions of the liver is to maintain a healthy level of fats in the bloodstream. For an average person, approximately 80 percent of the cholesterol is generated by the liver. A sluggish liver will show up as:
- Elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad cholesterol”
- Reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or “good cholesterol” which is the precursor for your hormone production
- Elevation in the triglycerides
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
2. Digestive Problems
Out of the many functions that the liver performs, the most important is to produce bile, which helps in digestion through the process of emulsification of lipids. A sluggish liver produces less bile, causing many digestion problems for the affected individual, including:
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Inability to digest fatty foods
- Loss of appetite
3. Skin-Related Allergies
The liver plays an important role in eliminating toxins from the body, and maintaining the efficiency of the body’s immune system.
If the process of eliminating toxins is hampered, as is in the case of a sluggish liver, skin irritation or skin allergies occur, which are considered the first sign of liver damage. A person in such a case would develop:
- Boils, acne, or moles
4. Fluctuation in Blood Sugar Level
One of the main functions of the liver is to maintain the sugar level in the blood. A sluggish liver fails to do so, and would fluctuate the sugar levels to a great extent. In such a condition, a person would show symptoms such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or dizziness
- Low energy level
- Abdominal pain
5. Hormonal Imbalance
The liver is responsible for filtering out mutated hormones. A person with a sluggish liver would be quite affected by the hormonal imbalance and would exhibit symptoms such as:
- Sleep and mental disturbance
- Mental confusion
- Sensitivity to medicines
- Heavy or clotted menstruation in women
- Irregular periods
- Fibroids in breast or uterus
- Hot flashes
- Cysts on ovaries
- Mood swings or any menopausal problems
Helpful Resource: If you think you have a hormonal imbalance, take our quiz here.
6. Other Symptoms
Apart from the sluggish liver symptoms mentioned above, individuals suffering from this condition may also show other symptoms, such as:
- Intolerance to alcohol (this is a big sign!)
- Intolerance to coffee (this is a big sign, too!)
- Swollen feet or abdomen
- Easy bruising
- Yellowing of the eyes
- Dark urine and stool
- Bad breath
- Sensitivity to chemicals in paints, petrol, bleaches, etc.
- Body odor.
Here is the good news: the liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. Provided you give it the right support.
We explore our liver and how to support it on our information-packed workshop, The Thyroid Detox, a step-by-step protocol tailored to women with thyroid and autoimmune conditions. Join the Thyroid Detox here.