Did you know your liver has over 500 jobs in your body? From cleansing your blood, detoxification, hormone function, digesting your fats, to converting the carbs you eat into stored energy, the liver is extremely important! With all it’s important jobs in the body, it’s sad that it often gets overlooked. I have always been fascinated with the liver because I remember learning in college that if you cut half of the liver away, it will grow back. I don’t know what other organs have this ability, but one thing for sure, if the body grows back a liver – it must be pretty dang important. Besides, if your liver stops functioning it can lead to death – which accounts for about 31,000 deaths in the U.S each year alone. I never took much thought to my liver and kind of “took it for granted” until I started having problems, which is my inspiration for writing this post. Since the liver is extremely important and extremely overlooked, I think it’s wise to share some of my research with you so can start considering what shape your liver is in.
I am currently in my last month of my first pregnancy. About 6 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a pregnancy condition called Choleostasis. After researching and researching and finding that there was no exact “explanation” for the exact cause of this, I was not satisfied. I am a strong believer in the human body and I know that things like this don’t just happen. Besides, I was also finding there was no “cure” during pregnancy and that it just went away afterwards. That didn’t sit right with me, especially because me and my baby were now at high risk she had a high chance of going into fetal distress.
I started finding some natural doctors who had a lot of expertise on Choleostasis, along with continuing to research and connect with my inner self to heal my body and protect my baby. One of the dangers of Choleostasis is that it can lead to a high risk of still born (something that I have actually had happen to a few close friends, due to this condition). Many mothers are induced prematurely to avoid the risk of still born, but bring with it a new bag of complications due to the early and non-complete development of their baby. I was only at 28 weeks but had been having a lot of contractions – which made me nervous about the safety and health of my baby.
My questions stemmed from how this had happened to me because I hadn’t been drinking, doing drugs, or eating any unprocessed foods. But, instead of being upset, I looked at it as a learning opportunity and felt the need to share what I learned for others who might some day come across this condition.
Symptoms of Choleostasis (pregnancy related)
- severe itching (especially on palms of hands and soles of feet)
- loss of appetite
- lack of energy / extreme fatigue
- kidney infection or pain
- liver pain (described as abdominal pain)
- yellow skin and eyes
- thyroid problems
Symptoms of Liver Trouble (non pregnancy related)
- weight loss
- extreme fatigue
- nausea / vomiting
- thyroid problems
- kidney problems (infections, etc.)
- alternating between constipation and diarrhea
- tendency to bruise easily
- swollen limbs and feet
- abdominal pain
Most people live with these conditions for a long time without realizing what is going on. Even after being diagnosed with Choleostasis in pregnancy, women are given medications to help but are not treated for cure. After doing my research and trying everything I found that felt right for my body, my body is healed and completely rid of Choleostasis in only a few short weeks. Here’s what I did and what I would suggest anyone (pregnant or not) to try if they are experiencing these symptoms of liver problems and want to try to heal it instead of masking the symptoms that your body is sending to get your attention.
1st. Go vegetarian. My first thoughts on this were a little scary considering I don’t eat much meat and am trying to get a lot of protein in for my baby. But after a few minutes of contemplation, I knew it was very possible to get enough protein for my baby and I was willing to try anything. All meat carries toxins which have to be transported and cleaned through the liver. If your liver is being over worked, meat will only contribute to the problem. I only eat grass-fed, wild-caught and non-gmo organic meats, but I still felt the need to cut out meat in order to heal my liver quickly. Needless to say, I felt a difference almost immediately and am planning to stay off of meat for a long time because of how much more energy I have!
2nd. Go green. There are SO many superfoods that God designed specifically to cleanse our liver. The top two of these being beets (including the leafy tops – buy organic only) and dandelion greens. I started doing green (like really green) smoothies every morning when I first woke-up. I included beets (tops and bottoms), dandelion greens (you can purchase these at health food stores or pick them in fields that are not sprayed with pesticides), other bitter greens (kale, arugula, spinach), and then adding in fruits to balance out the bitter. This combination of superfoods helped to get my liver cleansed quickly and gave me energy that was much needed.
3rd. Cut out all saturated fats. This was a hard one for me because I only eat extremely healthy fats, but found out that even healthy fats were putting a taxing job on my liver as it was struggling to breakdown fats and communicate with the gall bladder. I cut out grass-fed butter, avocados and coconut oil for about 3 weeks while I gave my liver a break. However, olive oil has a very unique healing property for liver and gallbladder healing, so I used olive oil excessively and could feel it working.
4th. Eat artichokes, limes, lemon and olives. Does this sound like a Greek salad to you? All of these 4 foods have amazing abilities to detoxify the liver and gall bladder. I added them to my salads and snacked on them throughout the day.
4th. Increase your dosages of Vitamin C, D and E. Because my liver was not working properly, I was struggling with a lot of vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin D is especially linked to liver problems because of the body’s inability to process it. I upped my Vitamin D supplements (liquid form because they are absorbed better) to 2000 IU to ensure my body was getting enough of it. I also increased my Vitamin C and E intakes to help keep my immunity as strong as possible while my liver wasn’t able to.
5th. Rest. I have a hard time with this one, but especially as my body was healing and my liver going through some serious detoxifying, I felt the need to sleep a lot more than usual. Your gall bladder meridian functions from 11-1 a.m. and your liver meridian from 1-3 a.m., so sleep is especially important during those times when those organs are resetting. These are also good indications that you might have a problem with these organs if you tend to wake up during those hours in the night. Give yourself permission to stay down and allow your body the restorative time that it needs.
6th. Homeopathics. This was a new one for me, but I kept feeling strong impressions about pursuing this option. A lot of medical advice out there was to take anti-itching pills or creams to relieve the pain and itching, but to me they seemed counter-intuitive as they themselves were full of toxins and chemicals. I chose to try homeopathics for the first time (the doctor prescribed me two, specifically for my liver and spleen) and within one or two days of taking them, all my itching and pain went away. I also found that rubbing some anti-itch essential oils on my body also helped relieve the pain.
7th. Let Go and Forgive. Our body holds onto emotions and processes them just as simply as it does food. In Chinese medicine, each organ holds onto different emotions that if not processed – can lead to imbalance and disease. I had over 7 organs that were all being affected by my liver and that were all contributing to my Choleostasis. Each of these organs were holding onto anger, resentment and frustration. I had to do a lot of emotional therapy and was surprised at all the emotions surfacing that were trapped because I had suppressed them. To me, releasing these was one of the most important steps to cleansing my liver. Ask yourself if there are any feelings you hold that are unresolved or any anger you need to allow to release and forgive.
8th. Faith. I wouldn’t have been completely honest if I didn’t put this important step in my healing here. I am a strong believer that God can heal all and as I turned to Him, He led me step by step on all of the above things that my body needed to heal. He is, afterall, the creator of our bodies and spirits, and knows the very best methods to restore them to 100% health. Turn to Him, trust Him, and allow your faith through Him to work miracles.