An Upbuilding Discourse


Research on Being

What About the Liver?

I’ve done quite a few dietary experiments, supplemental regimens, and herbal remedies. Some of them have worked somewhat, some have not but overall, I have to say results have generally been mixed. Looking at other people’s experiences can often have the effect of producing wonder at how so many others respond so well while I feel so mixed still. What could be the problem?

Diet is important. Exercise is important. Stress reduction is important. However, I believe perhaps I have forgotten the importance of specific organs in all of this and optimizing their function. In some cases, changing diet, stress, or exercise is how you optimize that organ’s function. With the liver this is not necessarily the case and considering that the liver is the master toxin removal system of the body, it seems that its malfunction could have pretty large ramifications.

Thyroid and Liver

A large component of Peat’s approach has to do with optimizing thyroid function as much as possible via diet and supplement if necessary (usually T3), however, problems with the thyroid may be related to problems with the liver considering that the liver metabolizes many of the thyroid hormones. If someone is doing a pro-thyroid diet and having problems, I hypothesize that the liver may be involved as a secondary factor.

Primary factors that can hurt the liver appear to be iron overload, alcohol, and polyunsaturated fats over and above random toxins like pesticides and industrial chemicals. One component of the Peat protocol which I have neglected has been his recommendation to consume coffee to reduce iron absorption (mostly because I don’t like coffee and it makes me very jittery). However, the more I look into it, the more coffee appears as a liver protective compound. This mechanism may be through the inhibition of iron absorption. If this is the case then the most useful things one can do from a dietary perspective is manage iron intake and reduce PUFAs.

There is also the possibility of a doing a liver cleanse/gallbladder flush. Unfortunately, good data on the efficacy of doing this protocol is lacking though most people who do it (~75%) don’t regret having done so. This is why I am trying this out though not in its most extreme form. I’m implementing the gallbladder flush as described in John Pollard’s The Digestive Awareness Diet which consists of 3 days with 2 qts of apple juice a day (plus your regular diet) and then olive oil/grapefruit mixture on the 3rd night and 2 tablespoons of epsom salts the following day.

To put some of this in context, the white tongue that I have had at least since the GAPS diet has followed me through high starch, and now high simple sugars. Sometimes it retreats and sometimes it doesn’t. Some say that the white tongue is a marker of liver function so I shall put this to the test. Since I’ve started drinking the apple juice though, my tongue has been looking redder. We shall see. My working hypothesis is simply that with impaired liver function, the efficacy of supplements, herbs, and dietary changes will be impaired no matter what they are. Consequently, one must optimize liver function in order for everything else to take hold.


Filed under: Cleanse, Coffee, Health, Iron, Liver, Nutrients, phytic acid

3 Responses

  1. Evan says:

    Interesting points here. I’ve also had mixed results with paleo, Ray Peat, and the like. Sometimes my tongues is coated, and sometimes not. Apparently it can be caused by a buildup of keratin which makes me think it’s related to keratosis pilaris (rough bumps on skin) that I have. Do you also have that?

    • jingo says:

      Actually, I do have keratosis pilaris. That’s a pretty interesting connection. If that’s the case then you would think supplementing vitamin A would do the trick.

      • Evan says:

        You would think so….I’ve had some slight improvement since eating beef liver and supplementing extra D and K, but nothing major or permanent. Also, I don’t feel these are addressing the root of the issue. I think thyroid is involved so I’m hoping to find a good practitioner to work with.

        Here’s an interesting site on Vit. A

        It says: “In the absence of vitamin A, these specialized tissue cells secrete a hard protein (keratin) rather than the mucus needed for protection and lubrication. Although keratin is a normal protein of hair and nails, it dries and hardens epithelial tissues. When this occurs, cell function is impaired or halted. The tissue wastes away and becomes susceptible to bacterial infection.(3)”

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