The Rainforest That Is Your Gut - Part 3 - Your liver and why it is your best friend
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
I want to discuss your party recovery organ known as your liver. Most of us only think of our liver in relation to alcohol. We often drink while commenting about how our liver is going to hate us for this one.
That's true in some sense as your liver has to work hard to process alcohol, but what if I told you it is part of your digestion process along with sex hormone processing – your liver is the primary site of metabolizing estrogen – hello estrogen dominance in men and women.
The liver also is responsible for helping the conversion of T4 to T3, the active hormone of your metabolism.
As you can see, your liver is a fat-burning, muscle-building machine. Would that make you reconsider what indeed is the powerhouse of optimization for your health and body in terms of the way you treat it? Well, if not, let us dive into it and get rocking!
Most people who drink usually have poor eating habits and often eat not the most nutrient-dense food. This will, of course, lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
When the liver does not have proper nutrients, it cannot break down estrogen. If the liver is harmed by continuous alcohol use (2+ drinks a day), it will have further issues metabolizing estrogen.
Men and women who drink often have signs and symptoms of excess estrogen and poor gut health.
It is crucial to remember that estrogen is metabolized in your liver and removed from your gut via a bowel movement. If your bowels are off, estrogen can be reabsorbed back into your body.
Okay, so it probably would be nice to know that your liver is the 2nd largest organ in your body and is mostly known for detoxification. But what if I told you that is not the only thing your liver does that kicks ass.
Your liver makes and secretes bile, which helps certain enzymes break down and emulsifies fats, lipids, and fatty acids by coordinating with small intestine what's going on in there and cleansing and purifying blood before entering the small intestine.
The nutrients that you consume are absorbed through your small intestine and sent back to your liver again for detoxification. Another role of your liver is putting together amino acids (protein) for your body in the repair process and using it for energy. Finally, your liver sorts glucose and glycogen for energy use.
Now let's talk about detoxification and your liver Your Phase 1 & 2 detoxification pathways.
You often hear people say you do not need to detox your liver as it already is a detoxification organ. While yes, that is true that the liver does detoxify itself, it is also true that it can be bogged down by a barrage of things from xenoestrogens, processed foods, poor micronutrient dense food, estrogen dominant state, to name a few.
Given the environments we live in now with food being in an abundance, social drinking/eating scenarios, exposures to human-made chemicals, etc., it is easy to see how your liver could take a beating and have a hard time recovering. Enter your liver detoxification process.
There are two phases your liver goes through, and they are known as Phase 1 and Phase 2.
The summary of this process is your body takes toxins things, such as metabolic end products, micro-organisms, drugs, alcohol, pesticides, food additives, to name a few, which are fat-soluble. Then phase 2 turns these by intermediates into a water-soluble form for your body to eliminate from the body via your gall bladder, which creates bile then stools and your kidneys creating urine.
The liver also processes a demon named in the media, known as "cholesterol," which helps creates your body's sex hormones. Cholesterol synthesizes in a variety of tissues in your body, but the adrenal gland and reproductive organs mostly produce your sex hormones, with cholesterol being the messenger. Cholesterol converts to pregnenolone called "the mother of all hormones," and this starts the hormone cascade and subsequent conversions.
One really cool thing most overlook is the liver is the site where thyroid conversion happens. Your body converts T4 into T3, which is the active form of your body's metabolism. When leaky gut happens as I discussed in my earlier articles (Part 1 & 2), your body becomes stressed due to inflammation; your body will begin producing more cortisol, thus causing your metabolism to decline naturally.
When your body has too much sympathetic nervous system dominance, other known as fight or flight, the response is to downgrade your thyroid hormone from the conversion of T4 to T3, the active hormone responsible for metabolism to something known as "Reverse T3." When reverse T3 is created, this is an unavailable bioform of energy. Your body cannot use this for power, which, as you can see, leads to a metabolism that becomes "sluggish" as people often will refer to it. Usually, you can bank on having a hypothyroid (sluggish) if you have gut issues as the gut and thyroid are tied together.
The remedy: stop drinking for a while. Eat as much organic food as you can to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals for your liver to be optimized and healthy. You should also work a gut health protocol that includes your liver, too, as your liver is part of your digestion process, not just your weekend party organ.
In closing, these are just some of the cool things your liver does contribute to your body in maximizing fat burning, muscle building, and detoxification of your day to day environment. When your liver is optimal, it will lead to a better metabolic rate and better health by giving your liver a break.
About Jeff Black
Jeff is a nationally recognized health and fitness coach, public speaker, podcast host for The Excellence Cartel, owner of Iron House Strength & Conditioning, bodybuilder, and Osteogenesis Imperfecta Advocate. He is also a roundtable expert on IntenseMuscle.com.
Today, Jeff works collectively with some of the top coaches in the health and fitness space presenting to other coaches and individuals on health and fitness. He has a passion for leadership and serving others to help them be their own hero. He is recognized for his results, but above all else, the passion he has for the coach’s heart he holds dear.