Dear Parent, is your liver making you angry?

Dear Parent, is your liver making you angry?

From time to time I want to write something for the parents. Raising children is rewarding, but tough. It tests the limits of patience, time, finances, self-restraint, boundaries and so on, and so forth. Yes, we love our children dearly. Yes, we want the best for them. At great emotional cost sometimes, but hey, that’s the job. Some of us as parents have acquired somewhat unhealthy coping strategies. We try any way we can. We drink too much coffee. Wine. Take medications. Get too little exercise. Eat on the run. The highs and lows are intense and interesting. And we need to stay calm throughout this onslaught of the senses for the sake of the children. Repeat to self this mantra all day: Stay calm. STAY CALM!

In many traditional medicines, the liver is considered to be the seat of anger. A sluggish liver is meant to make you angry; repressed anger is meant to aggravate your liver. Remember the term bilious? It literally means liverish or nauseous. Figuratively it means bad-tempered or cantankerous. Full of bile. This is not a youngster’s affliction. The doctor calls this “eventually”.

Who is in danger of having sluggish livers?
People who are overweight – a degree of fatty liver could ensue. Fatty liver can present in children as young as four years of age. It becomes more prevalent in adolescence; boys are more affected than girls.
People who have type 2 diabetes.
People who drink too much coffee or alcohol. This interferes with the normal 2 stages of liver detoxification process (see below).
Post-pregnant mothers. Pregnancy rearranges your internal landscape to make space for baby. This may interfere with liver mobility and motility. The liver is suspended in the abdominal cavity by 4 ligaments, or regions of peritoneal membrane. These attachments affect liver mobility. Motility refers to the movement of food and nutrients through an organ. Too much compression of an organ interferes with the motility thereof. It may also restrict bile flow, medically known as cholestasis.
People with high cholesterol, because of having excessively high levels of lipids in the blood. Cholesterol in itself does not cause symptoms, but may give rise to other health conditions.
People who have had liver diseases like hepatitis or glandular fever/infectious mononucleosis. This last is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Glandular fever may cause spleen- and liver enlargement in the second and third weeks, and occasionally leads to jaundice.
Anyone on any kind of chronic medication, which needs to be constantly filtered by the liver.

The liver detoxifies the body in two phases. During phase one toxins are turned into sometimes even more toxic compounds. During phase two, these compounds are turned into water-soluble compounds that can be excreted. Zinc is an element that helps both phases of liver detoxification along. Coffee and alcohol on the other hand, creates a prolonged phase one and a shortened phase two. This means toxins are successfully turned into the second, oftentimes more toxic intermediate compound during phase one. But then not so successfully turned into water-soluble excreteable compounds if phase two is too short or interfered with. The excess of toxins are then stored in fat cells. This process, if repeated often enough leads to fatty liver disease. The main symptom of fatty liver disease is fatigue. It has no real symptoms other than vague right-sided abdominal discomfort and a general feeling of being unwell.
Untreated and progressive fatty liver may eventually lead to cirrhosis.

imageOne of the more scientific explanations of the liver-anger connection is this: There is an interesting link between magnesium deficiency and liver cirrhosis. The main symptom of magnesium deficiency is hyperirritability. Magnesium deficiency also causes depression and mood disorders. Magnesium is depleted in patients with liver cirrhosis. It also gets depleted by too much coffee and alcohol in the system. Possible conclusion? Liver problems = low magnesium (or vice versa) = hyperirritability. See how it is all connected.

The liver is the largest organ in the body besides the skin. It metabolises hormones and filters out the excess. Women with post-partum depression should consider a course of visceral manipulation to get the liver back on track. The liver, through its detoxification function and close involvement with magnesium, may affect moods in this way. Sinus problems and liver function go hand in hand. The correlations exist, the studies circle the issue somewhat. So if you have headaches, itchy skin, are fatigued, feel sluggish, irritable, angry, full of sinusitis, have dry eyes, are depressed or hormonal, consider your liver.

What to do for the poor liver?
Drink lots of lemon water to cleanse the liver and digestive tract. Use a straw for the sake of your tooth enamel.
Reduce your coffee and alcohol intake.
Sprinkle your diet with healthy liver foods. For instance: Broccoli, beetroot, flaxseeds, nuts, biltong, chai tea, parsley, full cream plain yogurt, apples, berries and nuts. Juicing some of these together works well.
Visceral manipulation. Visit the Barral institute and have a look. These treatment techniques address organ mobility and motility and the surprising effects of it on seemingly unrelated body areas. Some physiotherapists in South Africa are able to help with this treatment. Consult your local physio and find out more.
Medications for sluggish liver include Milk thistle, Solal SaMe Butanedisulfonate, phospholipids like Essentiale and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). This is for information purposes only. Do not instigate any self-treatment regimen. Always consult your doctor or physician about using supplements or medication.
Exercise helps. Especially stretch and yoga. Cardio-vascular exercise gives you all the circulation, breathing and weight-loss benefits. Stretching and improving trunk flexibility may improve liver mobility.
Take Epsom salt baths.
Improve your coping strategies: Get help around the house, even just for some hours. Join a support group. Get outdoors and active with the kids. Practice mindfulness.

The liver is the only organ that can continually heal itself. Providing the stress on the liver is not so intense that it moves past fatty stressed liver into liver scarring – heading into cirrhosis and eventual failure.

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