Poor liver function may increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. If the liver does not regulate fat metabolism efficiently, weight gain tends to occur around the abdominal area and a protuberant abdomen (pot belly) will develop. – Sandra Cabot, MD
Proper liver function is critical to our overall health and well-being. Conversely, improper liver function can manifest into a myriad of symptoms; some of which are life-threatening. The responsibilities of the liver are multifaceted, and include:
– Production and excretion of bile
– Excretion of cholesterol, drugs, and hormones
– Activation of enzymes
– Protein synthesis
– Detoxification and purification of blood
– Metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
We’re going to focus on the last (certainly, not least) item on this list. Poor dietary/nutrition habits can cause the liver to become enveloped in fatty tissue. This development can adversely impact liver function, including the effective removal of toxins.
When the toxin removal function of the liver is inhibited, mechanisms can be set in place that stimulate physiological responses promoting weight gain. Of course, this can result in several undesirable (and potentially dangerous) effects.
First, we’re going to name and discuss some potential signs of suboptimal liver function. Second, we’ll go over a few things you can do to promote a healthy liver.
Here are five signs that your liver is toxic and is making you gain weight:
1. “Brain fog”
Brain fog is a general term used to describe suboptimal cognitive function. Symptoms of “brain fog” often include: inability to concentrate, lack of awareness, memory problems and slow response times.
Per the American Liver Foundation, it is possible for toxins to accumulate in areas of the brain. When this happens, the abovementioned symptoms of brain fog often surface. Also, progressive mental confusion can be an underlying symptom of liver disease.
2. Chronic fatigue
Chronic fatigue – tiredness that is abnormally long in both duration and frequency – is one of the most common symptoms of liver toxicity. Physiologically, toxins in the liver often disrupts muscle metabolism, which can result in aches, pains, and physical tiredness.
Worse yet, chronic fatigue can often manifest into emotional and mental instability (ex: brain fog). Sometimes, the condition can lead to more severe mental health issues, such as depression.
3. Allergy symptoms
A healthy liver will produce antibodies that will, in turn, seek out and eradicate allergens within the liver.
However, an unhealthy liver will instead store allergic substances instead of eliminating them. This buildup of allergens causes the brain to initiate a defense mechanism against perceived threats; which it does via the creation of histamine. This response systematically loops, resulting in buildup of the chemical. When this occurs in someone with a fatty liver, allergic symptoms – headaches, itchiness, skin irritation, etc. – often surface.
Someone with a fatty liver is more likely to experience hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure). However, the real danger lies not only in the symptom, but its effect on the body. A liver covered by fatty tissue, combined with elevated blood pressure, can either: (1) promote liver disease, or (2) signify advanced states of a liver condition.
Compounding the problem is the fact that hypertension is often accompanied by high cholesterol. This can lead to blood clotting – a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition.
5. Profuse sweating and/or body odor
The liver is a disproportionally-large organ. When it becomes overworked, it naturally releases a large amount of heat. This is a common occurrence in someone with a fatty liver.
Of course, elevated heat transferred throughout the body results in sweating, as the body attempts to regulate its temperature and cool itself. Excessive sweating leads to unpleasant body odor…and the heat, sweat, stink cycle repeats.
What you can do…
Fortunately, the liver follows the trend of other organs in that it can self-heal to a degree. We’re going to give you a few ideas on what can be done to initiate this healing response. Of course, these ideas are also beneficial for maintaining liver health.
– Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. This point simply cannot be emphasized enough: dietary and nutritional habits have a large impact on liver health. As such, try to prioritize a good balance to your diet: fiber sources, high-quality proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, etc.
– Lay off the booze. Even moderate amounts of alcohol and significantly damage the liver. In advanced stages, the liver becomes scarred and swollen (known as cirrhosis) – a condition that can be fatal.
– Know your medicines and supplements. An array of drugs exist that include liver problems as a side effect. Many of them say so on the packaging! Supplements are unregulated, which necessitates caution as well. Research, research, research!