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Chapter 4: Love Your Liver



The best advice that I could give you for a long and trouble free life is to ‘love your liver’. If we look after our livers and take good care of them we will live longer and our life will have far more zest and joy.

 

Of all the topics to be discussed at a friends’ gathering, the liver would have to be considered the lowest in popularity. Understandably so because it is hard to look at a liver and feel very attracted by this organ, despite it being the largest in the body, roughly the size of a football, and arguably one of the busiest and most active with a wide variety of important functions to carry out.

 

The most popular reference at parties regarding the liver may be in relation to the excessive alcohol consumption which everyone knows will not do our liver any favours. nor enhance in any way its task of keeping us healthy. Apart from that, some will be aware that the liver may be responsible for the not so brilliant cholesterol readings on their last blood test.

 

Deep down however, we all suspect, even if not knowing the exact functions that the liver performs, that a poor liver cannot be a good health asset to aim to possess, and we have all heard the concerning side effects that certain drugs have on the liver, of alcoholic livers, fatty livers and liver cancers. The no longer so common expression as it once was, ‘feeling liverish’ includes feeling disagreeable, nauseated and irritable. However, despite our liver often ‘talking to us’ to give us feedback on its condition, most people often will not suspect that their feeling ordinary is linked to their liver, until their blood test returns elevated readings on their liver enzymes.

 

The most common messages that a dysfunctional liver may send us will be in the form of constipation, flatulence, fluid retention, headaches, abdominal pain or swelling, itchy skin, dark urine colour, loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, pale or bloody and tar-coloured stools, and at its worse jaundice, cirrhosis or cancer.

The liver is estimated to be performing a staggering number of over 500 functions


These include the storing and metabolising of sugar in the form of glycogen together with fatty acids and proteins, as well as of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, also vitamin B12, and the minerals iron and copper; filtering our blood; creating bile for digestion and storage in the gallbladder; metabolising important hormones; filtering as well as purifying and clearing of toxic waste products and drugs; synthesising proteins such as prothrombin and fibrinogen important for blood clotting and albumins which are essential for maintaining the right environment in our blood to ensure the right balance of water in our cells,  as well as cholesterol and sugar.

 

The liver also plays an important role as part of our immune system through the Kupffer cells, a type of white blood cell only found in the liver, which assists us to maintain our health, by capturing and destroying bacteria, fungi, old blood cells and foreign substances that have found their way in the blood because of injury or illness, or simply worn out cells due to the normal ageing function.



Despite being so busy carrying out so many tasks, the liver still remains capable of regenerating itself quite quickly, so in most cases of toxicity (including alcohol), by stopping taking it, the liver will often recover and the patient will feel well again. In fact the liver has the greatest capacity for regeneration than any other organ in the body. You could lose up to 75% of your liver tissue and the 25% remaining healthy liver cells will be able to regenerate the lost tissues again.

 

Our present lifestyle, nutrition and environmental factors seriously affect the liver by placing enormous stresses upon it. The pesticides which enter our food cycle, food colourings, plus an increasingly large number of chemicals that can be added to foods, means there are estimated to be as high as some 40,000 different substances that the liver may need to deal with. These have a gradually increasing detrimental effect on the liver the older we become.

 

Children’s sensitive livers become affected too and it is natural for parents to be worried as their children fuss and pick their way slowly and with difficulty through healthy foods, such as protein-containing foods. When the liver is not healthy the person usually lacks appetite, feels full and prefers junk food, which does not contain any substances that have to get the liver too engaged, cereals for breakfast being one example, and nutrients lacking snacks during the day another.

 

Without healthy nutrients, a liver cannot produce bile of the correct pH. Without bile we cannot digest and therefore absorb and excrete our foods properly.

 

Many of my patients when asked at their first visit what they would normally eat for breakfast will often say either sugar-loaded cereals or perhaps not even that, but just a cup of coffee, usually using excuses like “I am too busy” or “I do not normally get hungry until after lunch time”. Not surprisingly, when I tell them that their breakfasts should consist mainly of healthy animal protein, I will at times get strange looks and hear comments like “Protein? Are you sure? How ghastly!” This is unfortunately often just an indictment on their liver which is still deeply asleep in the morning and just the thought of consuming protein is enough of making them feel sick, let alone the thought of eating it. The concept that they can easily eat a large meal for dinner, often late in the afternoon or evening and then just go to sleep with it in their stomachs appears to make more sense than starting the day the right way by eating a healthy egg.

 

This poor eating pattern then induces further health problems, and so gradually one body-system after another begins to malfunction and eventually breakdown. Adults grow to rely more on cups of tea or coffee laced with added sugar to raise their own sugar levels and fire up their energy by borrowing on their adrenal glands. We are breeding a more and more ‘liverish’ population of poor or non-breakfast eaters, who are mostly tired, fatigued or exhausted and cannot focus until mid-morning, lunch, or a cup of coffee.


 

To maintain adequate liver function the nutrients methionine, choline and inositol are required in sufficient quantities. Their protective influence against damage to the liver is invaluable. Methionine can be used again and again in an enormous variety of nutritional reactions within the body. Without methionine and choline, cholesterol is not changed into bile acids and heavy deposits are laid down in the arteries, fats are not burnt for energy and lecithins are not produced for cell and nervous system utilisation. Without sufficient methionine in the bile acids, duodenal ulcers may form. It has been demonstrated that during infectious diseases the production of white body cells, lymph cells and antibodies has been substantially increased by the addition of methionine in the prescribed treatment.

 

If fingernails split, are thin, break off, won’t grow or are spoon-shaped, the suplhur containing amino acids such as methionine may be needed.

 

Chronic constipation may occur unless sufficient bile salts are produced to keep the chyme emulsified on its long passage through the small intestine and large colon. As more and more moisture is extracted from this material the further it travels, it is essential to keep it well softened with bile of the correct pH. Otherwise hard lumps of insoluble soap are formed from undigested fats. Colitis and diverticulosis may appear and pain and inflammation is then present. Chronic cystitis and nephritis affect millions of women and indicates a condition of kidney damage, but the liver may be the real culprit.

The liver nutrients methionine, choline and inositol may help prevent this problem and correct long standing cases.

 

The lack of ability by the liver to metabolise fats because of insufficient methionine, choline and inositol means that Vitamin A is not utilised and dead epithelial cells may clog kidney tubules. Infections may then occur.

 

Puffiness and darkness under the eyes, headaches, frequent burning urination and high blood cholesterol may occur. These symptoms may be reversible by utilising the correct combination of nutrients. Help yourself to sensible living, eat plenty of vegetables, raw or lightly cooked, some fruit and animal proteins.


Contrary to popular opinion, juicing is not as good for you as you may have been told


Juicing predigests the fruit and vegetables thus liberating the sugars and even worse, fructose into the watery substance. Apart from lifting sugar levels quickly high and making you more predisposed to adult onset diabetes, the liver will not get as much benefit from the juicing as you may imagine. The liver is a bowl of grease and requires sulphur containing amino acids which are found in animal protein such as fish, meats, poultry and eggs to energise the liver’s cells, the hepatocytes to perform their functions well and perform their work efficiently.

 

Also, as known since ancient times and confirmed by hundreds of clinical studies, the herb silymarin, a flavonoid derived from the milk thistle plant, has been shown to possess hepatoprotective qualities, i.e. protect the liver against practically all types of damage, including damage induced by viral hepatitis, as well as hepatitis induced by toxic agents and radiation.



Its uses as a liver protectant, decongestant, carrier of bile, cleanser of liver and spleen and in the treatment of jaundice and gallstones can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and famous Middle Ages herbalists. It has been also proved to help both liver and kidney cells repair and regenerate.

 

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and oxidative stress are major pathogenic risks, leading to the injury of liver cells. Long-term studies of the administration of silymarin showed significantly increased survival time in patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis. It has also shown to protect the liver from chemotherapy-induced damage, making it less toxic and more effective for the liver as well as protecting it from metastatic cancer.

This herbal extract does all this with little risk for the patient.

 

Case Study no. 11 – Ingrid’s personal testimonial.

In July 2013 a small tumour was discovered on my liver; as months passed the tumour grew in size, as did many changes to my body such as weight gain, constantly feeling tired and not being able to eat much food without being sick. February 2014 I had the tumour removed along with half my liver and gallbladder. The surgery was tough as it could not be done through keyhole due to the size. After ten days in hospital I was able to go home and back to normal life. Thankfully the tests showed it was not cancer. As the scar healed and the body healed the weight did not drop off, even though I was hardly eating anything as I was either sick before I ate or after a couple of mouthfuls. The doctor and the specialist said just give it time and my diet shouldn’t change and I should be able to eat like before, as the surgery would not change my eating habits.

 

As month after month went by I noticed eating was harder and I didn’t want to eat, as it was easier not to so I wouldn’t be sick. But now other signs were staring to show that something wasn’t right within me. Yet the doctors and specialists said nothing was wrong. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t healing as I should.

 

Bruno Marevich was recommended to me and I thought I had nothing to lose as I had tried everything else, and why not meet him and see if there was anything that he could do? I had never been to a naturopath and I thought it would be perfect as it could be more natural, as the doctors only wanted me to take tablets and medications.

 

I went to my appointment with an open mind and a list of concerns as long as my arm. I had concerns with my food and not being able to eat or being sick when I did, constantly feeling tired and fatigued, feeling light-headed and having no energy, depression started to affect me. I was up and down with emotions, my hair was falling out, my nails wouldn’t grow and were thin and brittle. I constantly had a sweet taste in my mouth, my legs were constantly sore and muscles were sore, I still had a lot of pain also from the surgery as well as not sleeping well so I guess you could say I was feeling pretty sick all the time.

 

Bruno was great. I felt comfortable as soon as I walked into his office. He was able to see all my symptoms without me even telling him anything and he could even tell me things that I haven’t even told my doctor, all by just looking into my eyes. He explained everything to me and in a way that I could understand it. He then went through what he recommended with a new eating plan as well as some tablets and powders. He said that within the first one to two months I would know if this was right for me. I cried a sign of relief that someone finally had given me some light at the end of the tunnel.

 

The eating plan was going to be tough, as I had to cut out anything sweet (I had been using sweet food especially jellybeans to give me energy and get through the day) as well as dairy foods and other foods such as white bread, coffee, alcohol and selected fruit, but if it meant that I would start to feel normal and back to my old self I would give it a go and follow the new eating plan.

 

Within the first week the eating plan was second nature, was easy to follow and my family joined me on it. I got into my habit of eating breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I just could not believe how easy it was to change my habits. I noticed my energy levels had changed and I was feeling less tired by the middle of the first month. As the month went by I noticed less pain within my legs and muscles.

 

By the second month I noticed less of my hair falling out and I was starting to lose weight. Not only did my energy levels keep up with me but I was now sleeping through the whole night and not waking up fatigued and tired. I also noticed that the pain from the surgery was getting less and less frequent, my stress had also been reduced, and I felt more in control of my anxiety, feelings and emotions. It was also getting easier to eat the right foods and adapt foods when I went out to lunch or dinner. Life was looking good.

 

I have now been seeing Bruno for almost six months and I am still on The Marevich Way program and really enjoying the healthy eating. I am still on the tablets as well as on the powders which we are looking at slowly reducing. My energy levels are now high, I am sleeping through the night and have lost 35 kg. My hair is now back to normal and I only feel leg pain when I have been walking and running around a lot. I still have control of my stress levels and emotions. I guess you could say I’m now getting my mojo back as everyone has noticed a change within me and I am looking forward to a great new year with the new me.

 

I am so glad that Bruno was recommended to me. I have not looked back and I would recommend Bruno to everyone who wants to feel better and get their health and energy back. Ingrid L.

COMMENTS: Ingrid is a good testimony to our liver’s phenomenal innate ability to grow back and function again, often almost as though nothing much had happened, at least so in theory and assuming that the liver isn’t subjected to the myriad of environmental and nutritional problems that almost everyone’s liver has to deal with these days.

 

In reality, unfortunately much of what most people eat, drink, breathe, wear, absorb through their skin and hair – and also without any doubt think and dream i.e. their attitude to life – all of these can and do place extra burdens on an already very busy organ of the body. All of these burdens affect our liver’s ability to work as well as it was meant to, and there is probably no clearer way of seeing this when, as in Ingrid’s case, half or more of our liver has been removed. The liver will now have the extra duty of continuing to do all it is meant to do, with ‘half of its staff away on leave’, so to speak, and additionally, at the same time, regenerate, regrow and rebuilt itself.

 

Ingrid’s poor liver was struggling to come back to normal after her operation. Using The Marevich Way, holistic dietary support and a supplements approach (yes including silymarin, of course), which has and will benefit practically everyone, whether with half or full liver, not only did Ingrid’s health improve rapidly but also the other liver nutrients included in her program supported her liver for it to be able to go back to work relatively quickly and efficiently. When I last saw Ingrid face to face, she was as busy and flat out working as hard as a well-functioning liver, full of happiness and good intentions and I know that she still continues sticking to her healthy eating and a light maintenance program of supplements which her husband collects for her occasionally from our office to keep her liver happy. Love your Liver! 

 

Many years ago, as a young naturopath, I was fortunate to have a brilliant mentor, a wise naturopath, great chiropractor and a real gentleman by the name of Robert Lucy. Robert has long passed away but some of his advice still resonates in my ears. He would often tell me, “If for all the people that come to see you with whatever problem they have, the only thing that you may manage to do is improve their liver, you will without questions have done their whole health a great service.”



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Australian Naturopathics Pty Ltd

Bruno Marevich - Naturopath

BHSc (Complementary Medicine), ND Advanced, NLP (Master), FMCMA
Fellow Member Of Complementary Medicine Association
Suite 2, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill N.S.W. 2154
(02) 9899 5922

We have helped 10's of thousands enjoy greater health in

over 3 decades of professional experience.

Bruno Marevich - Naturopath
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