your liver is NOT fine, don't assume it is

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Catseye, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    I'd like to turn your attention to your liver for a moment because you have probably been neglecting it if you feel like crap. Liver congestion and stagnation are common liver problems but conventional medicine has no test to detect them. Only in the case of inflammation (hepatitis) are enzyme levels elevated in the blood because of ruptured cells wich contain enzymes. In liver congestion, liver cells are still intact and enzyme levels are normal.

    Some things liver does:

    Circulation: stores and regulates blood and is responsible for nourishing every cell in our body.

    Excretion: formation and secretion of bile for digestion and blood cleansing, removal of ammonia from blood and excretion of toxins filtered from the blood.

    Metabolism: carb, protein, fat, mineral and vitamin metabolism, manufactures and stores nutrients like glucose and vitamins, production of heat.

    Protection: removal of foreign bodies from the blood, detoxification by conjugation, methylation, oxidation and reduction.

    Production: of urea, serum albumin, glycogen and blood clotting proteins like prothrombin, fibrinogen and heparin, also red blood cell destruction.

    Regulation of hormones: inactivation and elimination of hormones through bile or urine. Estrogen and androgen stimulate cell division. If the liver fails to remove them, they build up in blood and accumulate in tissue. This can cause cysts and cancer as in breast and prostate. Excessive estrogen is most common cause of painful menstruation.

    Liver also regulates body functions which affect emotional and mental activities. Blood storage and regulatory dysfunction can result in bleeding or clots. Norishment to tendons and blood vessels is halted, joints become stiff and muscles become spasmodic and numb. Blood deficiency can lead to stroke, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, deafness, fainting and convulsions. Bowels can become constipated and sleep may be disturbed causing nightmares and insomnia.

    The bile, which is manufactured in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, is of extreme importance in all areas of the body. Many back problems are the direct result of inadequate bile flow. The synovial fluid around all joints will decrease is bile flow is low, sometimes causing terrible pain. Also, poor assimilation of fat-soluble nutrients (bile digests fat) may cause eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, falling hair, tendonitis, night blindness, accumulation of calcium in tissue and sometimes prostate enlargement.
    The liver is the most emotional sensitive organ and its weakness is often connected to emotional sensitivity. People who are emotionally sensitive are more prone to weak liver even if they have a good diet.

    A congested liver can obstruct the venous blood flow to the heart causing palpitations or even heart attacks. Without a well functioning liver, blood is not filtered clean. Dirty blood loaded with toxins and waste causes poor circulation and reduced capacity to carry oxygen and nutrients for energy production and organ maintenance. Then tissue and organ cells are undernourished and the cells will eventually deteriorate and age. Every organ is affected. The eye and brain cells are especially affected because the blood flow is against gravity. In the Jan '88 issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, malfunction of the liver and kidneys was mentioned as one of the causes leading to Alzheimer's along with brian tumor which physically blocks blood flow to the brain. If the liver is overloaded with toxins and can't catch up, the kidneys end up being overworked also.

    Weakening and eventual toxicity of the liver can take a long time. Usually, the only sign of liver weakness is poor digestion, low energy level and itching. Don't think you need to wait for yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, pale or light colored stools, bleeding from GI tract, mental confusion and fluid retention in the abdomen to make it obvious you have serious liver issues.

    Okay, so your liver is down and you've maybe even been kicking it while it's down. Don't panic, there is light at the tunnel's end!

    The liver is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate and completely repair the damage. With most organs, like the heart, damaged tissue is replaced with scar tissue. The liver, however, can replace damaged tissue with new cells! Once scar tissue has developed, though, as in cirrhosis, it is very difficult to reverse.

    There are some things you can do, besides the obvious cleaning up your diet.

    This is something we should be making but since we're "broken", we're probably not. I'm taking it and noticing remarkable results from it.
    SAMe, the amazing "super-nutrient," can single-handedly normalize liver function. How? SAMe is the central player in liver biochemistry. It does two crucial things: It methylates, and it transforms itself into the liver's most vital substance, glutathione.

    SAMe is the product of a biochemical reaction between ATP and methionine. Half of all methionine in the body is used in the liver to make SAMe. SAMe has been compared to ATP in its importance for the body. It is used in many different cellular processes, from replication to biochemical reactions that create melatonin and phosphatidylcholine. SAMe is particularly important for the liver because glutathione is synthesized from it. Glutathione is crucial for liver function. A good portion of liver SAMe is turned into glutathione. Glutathione is the liver's natural antioxidant.


    Because fibromyalgia is often treated with antidepressants, scientists tried using SAMe as a substitute treatment. They discovered that SAMe reduced the number of pain
    trigger points, reduced fatigue, reduced morning stiffness and improved the mood in fibromyalgia patients. One double-blind crossover study of 17 patients with fibromyalgia found that patients who were injected with SAMe for 21 days demonstrated significant reduction in the number of trigger points and painful areas and improvements in mood. In another double-blind study, SAMe was orally administered to a group of 44 patients who suffered from fibromyalgia. Patients given SAMe demonstrated reduction in pain, fatigue, and morning stiffness. Not surprisingly, the SAMe produced no side effects. Also good for heart disease, depression and arthritis, among other things.

    for liver and fibro 200-400mg 2 times daily

    Avoid fats that overwork liver and gallbladder: dairy products, margarine, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, animal skin, fatty meats. Stick to good fats like olive oil, fish and fish oil, avocado and flax oil.

    Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme often referred to as the body's "master antioxidant" due to its central role in protecting the body's cells from free radical damage. Glutathione is composed of the amino acids cysteine, glutamine and glycine and is concentrated in the liver, although it carries out its work throughout the body. This important enzyme is involved in protecting cells from environmental toxins, drugs and alcohol as well as toxins produced by the body itself as a result of normal metabolism. So important to health is glutathione that it's depletion leads to cell death.

    Also of note is the influence glutathione levels have on immune function. Like all cells, immune cells rely up on glutathione for defense against free radicals. Glutathione is also required for the activation of natural killer cells and for many other functions of specific immune cells.

    The health of the gut has a substantial impact on the health of the liver as everything absorbed from the intestines passes through the liver so that harmful substances can be detoxified before the rest of the body is exposed to them.

    Yeast in particular produce a large amount of ethanol (drinking alcohol) which is highly toxic to the liver, in fact alcohol is the single most toxic substance to liver cells. As well as producing increased amounts of toxic substances for the liver to deal with, yeast or bacterial overgrowth also causes damage to the intestinal lining causing leaky gut.
    If the liver is overwhelmed by toxins from the gut and from chemicals in everyday use it won't function correctly and may even become damaged and inflamed. As a result, not all toxins entering the liver are detoxified and gain access to the bloodstream to travel anywhere in the body. These toxins and the excess of free radicals (highly reactive forms of oxygen) caused by poor liver function can cause direct damage to tissues and also initiate allergic or auto-immune reactions. Un-neutralized toxins are also expelled into the bile in this situation and can further damage the intestinal lining, setting up a vicious cycle in which gut dysbiosis and leaky gut cause poor liver function which in turn worsens the gut dysbiosis and leaky gut.

    The liver requires large amounts of energy and nutrients to function efficiently. If the liver is overwhelmed by toxins, these nutrients can become depleted and the liver will function inefficiently resulting in numerous symptoms and problems throughout the body. Many of these nutrients can be replaced by supplementation, improving the functioning of the liver. There are also a number of herbs and other methods that can heal a damaged liver and improve detoxification functions.

    milk thistle - flavanoids that are powerful antioxidants that stimulate healing and production of new liver cells, common dose 200mg 2/3 times per day

    burdock - contains nutrients important to liver, b1,6,12, vit e, and contains arctin which improves liver and gallbladder function

    dandelion - protective against lipid peroxidation and free radicals, cleanses liver and increases production of bile

    n acetyl cysteine - amino acid, major componenet of glutathione, used to treat tylenol overdoses, 500-1500 mg per day in divided doses, use small doses if liver is already compromised

    taurine - amino acid, essential for formation of bile, also a detoxifier and antioxidant

    methionine/SAMe - very important, starting point for glutathione production, methionine is a chelater - binds to heavy metals and prevents fat build up in liver, if liver is already impaired, use SAMe because liver's ability to convert methionine to SAMe is compromised

    arginine - amino acid, neutralized ammonia which builds up in impaired liver function

    polyenylphosphatidylcholine - very important for detoxification and integrity of cell membranes, SAMe is required for synthesis of phosphatidylcholine so supplementing both allows stores to regenerate and glutathione levels to increase

    alpha lipoic acid - powerful antioxidant used to treat diabetes, liver disorders and neuropathies, 600 mg per day or more for liver disorders

    B vitamins - essential for detoxification pathways, injections of b12 and folic acid may be necesary as they are not well absorbed, especially in the presence of unhealthy gut flora

    vitamins A, C, E - antioxidants used in detoxification pathways

    undenatured whey - raises glutathione

    raw liver extract - helps cells regenerate

    MSM - important to liver function, kills yeast, protects intestinal lining

    Chineses bitters - gentian root and bupleurum root - relieve liver congestion - also discusses the famous liver/gallbladder flush with several tips for preparation, the best I've seen. If I was going to do it, I would do it using their guidelines. I'm actually going to try to dissolve my stones first, slowly, using the gold coin grass.

    liverdoctor - I came back and added this one, I forgot there were so many good things about the liver her.

    Sorry this is so long, but I started recovering when I paid close attention to my liver and started supplementing with things that it uses. I take all of these things except for the whey because of dairy intolerance. The symptoms of poor liver function go along with symptoms of cfs.

    My liver doctor insisted for 1 1/2 years that my liver was fine. But they just look at a few enzymes, they don't check to see if it's doing all of its 500 functions. Look at your symptoms and decide for yourself.

    happy xmas!

    karen[This Message was Edited on 12/17/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 12/18/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 01/02/2008]
  2. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    bumping 'cause i finished it
  3. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    Karen, this is an excellent post. Thanks for putting so much work into it!

    A couple of comments:

    1) Traditional Chinese Medicine is generally recognized as being really excellent with regard to helping the liver. A good Chinese doctor can help to identify liver problems and to address them extremely effectively if they exist. Chinese herbs for the liver almost inevitably include one called bupleurum, which has been shown in American studies to indeed have a positive effect on the liver. This may be better in combination with other herbs, but is (as the scientific study showed) effective on its own. Obviously it's not available in most health food stores, but is available on the Internet as well as through Chinese doctors. (My husband had some elevated liver enzymes for several years, but they permanently went away after one course of the bupleurum combination. The stuff has some magic power in it.) I have not used it, but definitely would if I thought that my liver was becoming problematic.

    2) I have found ProImmune Rx to be effective for helping my own liver. This helps the body to create glutathione. (I have not found energy benefits from this, however.) For instance, side effects from medicines (slight rash, bad taste in mouth) have disappeared when I have started taking this.

    3) Most pharmaceutical medicines are quite toxic to the liver---at least as much as moderate amounts of alcohol. This is a good reason to limit medicines to just the ones that are really needed or useful for specific purposes.

    4) While SAM-e is helpful for liver functioning and increases mood, it can be very problematic for people who are inclined toward even mild manic-depression. Even with my mood stabilizer, I cannot tolerate it. Obviously it's quite expensive as well.

    5) Note that the Chinese never drink iced beverages. A TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) recently told me that patients with low yang (which defines CFS) especially should avoid cold drinks. Warm or room temperatue is fine, she said.

    I now am taking two medications that I imagine have a substantial effect on liver functioning---Lamictal (an anti-convulsant) and Famvir (an anti-viral). For the time being, I am supporting my liver primarily with ProImmune Rx (denatured whey protein), which seems to be very helpful.

    If I continue on the Famvir, I am going to do a consultation with a TCM doctor and see if a bupleurum combination would be appropriate. (Hopefully I can find a good TCM doctor---many are hidden in the Chinese community, and the one I used to use has moved away. If not, I may just try the bupleurum on my own and see how it feels.)

    Thanks again for your post, Karen!
    [This Message was Edited on 12/18/2006]
  4. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    Bump, cause lots of good reading here, thanks.
  5. kirschbaum26

    kirschbaum26 New Member

    Dear Karen:

    I really enjoyed all the liver info you provided. I have a few questions, and not sure if you can answer.

    1) Can RA damage the liver? I have RA and was told that I cannot take many of the usual RA meds due to the toxicity that they could cause to my liver (methotrexate in particular).

    2) Can long term, high dose advil and tylenol use damage your liver? I have been taking more than 3000mg of advil every day for more than 7 years. I have also been taking at least 1300mg of tylenol daily. My PCP told me that my kidneys were fried and so was my liver. That concerned me, as she has known how much of these OTC meds I have been taking and for how long.

    3) I seem to have much inflammation in my liver, lungs and possibly now my heart. I also have atrial fibrillation and wondered if it was due to my liver not working properly to get rid of the toxins in my blood?

    Thanks...and it was very interesting reading your post.

  6. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    If your liver was a vampire, tylenol and advil would be the sun! Yes, they can and will absolutely fry your liver over the long haul! Half the reason mine is so bad is from using darvocet and vicoprofen. I stupidly switched from the darvocet (with acetaminophen aka tylenol) to vicoprofen years ago because I thought that ibuprofen would be better for your liver than tylenol. Incidentally, when the pain reliever ends in "cet", it's because it has acetaminophen in it. When it ends in "profen", it's because it has ibuprofen. The narcotic pain relievers always work better in conjunction with NSAIDs (like acetaminophen and ibuprofen) so they usually come in one package like vicoprofen (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) or tylenol #3 (acetaminophen and codeine).

    I was so wrong! My liver doctor was stupid, too. I once asked him for another pain reliever without either one and he gave me something (can't remember, too long ago) and as soon as I looked it up, I realized it had tylenol! This was long before I liver-educated myself.

    Methotrexate causes liver damage so they don't want you to take it but they haven't recommended that you quit advil and tylenol??!! Or at least taper down to a reasonable dose!! My friend works at a hospital and runs some of the cat scan and xray machines and she says tylenol kills people. Funny how it's the #1 doctor recommended pain reliever in hospitals. They neglect to mention that tylenol is supplied to the hospital for free and at huge discounts for them to say that.

    I've never heard of tylenol or ibuprofen withdrawal but can you stop taking them or at least cut way down? MSM is supposed to be a great pain reliever for arthritis, at least in some people. And serrapaptase is an anti-inflammatory that I've used. If you go to, you can see what other people are using for whatever ailment and they rate them and talk about their experience. I've gotten good hints about supplements there. The 2 I mentioned are things that won't harm the liver. There are others, those just are ones that come to mind because I've just bought them recently. And maybe check out prickles' advice for pain.

    You definitely need to start worrying about liver and kidneys. One thing I always figured about my liver, that when it starts suffering any damage, I'll know it and that's when I'll worry about it. Well, I went from normal to bedridden in less than 12 hours when my liver finally let me know it wasn't happy. I went to the ER the next day, thinking I was dying and they said there was nothing wrong with me and sent me home. Apparently, your liver can really ruin your day and it's possible it won't show up in any blood work. I spent the next 1 1/2 years in bed.

    . You have probably severe glutathione depletion. You can supplement with NAC to start with, that's the first supplement I ever took that helped. It's also what they use to treat tylenol overdose in hospitals. It's an amino acid. It's hard on the liver in high doses if it's damaged so start slow, like maybe 100 mg twice and day and slowly go up to 500 mg twice a day or whatever feels good. About the atrial fibrillation, I don't know much about it but I do know that if the liver is not working well, nothing else will work well either, since the liver controls a little bit of everything. And it will cause stuff to happen that you wouldn't immediately attribute to the liver, like itching. A good whey protein shake should really help unless you have dairy intolerance. Cleaning out the liver and getting the bile flowing properly will help, too. Look at this site also:

    and look up Gerson therapy, it's treatment particularly for cancer but it takes into account the liver and it also mentions RA. Also look at his liver stuff, obviously.

    Good luck, don't wait until you're bedridden like I did!

    happy xmas!

  7. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    It is so true that liver problems, or any organ degeneration, can be happening long before tests will show a problem. I had a very honest and humble doctor who freely admitted that lab tests only show degeneration long after it is well underway. So tests don't show the early signs, when its best to do something about it, they only register when substantial damage has occurred, disease, or organ failure has happened.

    But, the body always gives various signals as to what is happening inside the body.

    A sure and easy sign that your liver is getting congested is when your thumbnails turn yellow. Medical and nutrition courses will cover the many sigals your nails give as to organ health.

    When I see the yellow nails, I always bump up the herbal tea and supplements and pay extra attn. to my diet. Dandelion and catnip tea are my favourite gentle herbs, both are good for the liver/gallbladder as well as gut function overall. I take dessicated liver regularly. All the other supplements mentioned are good, but most are harsher in action a nd can cause me a big fat herx. Dandelion, catnip, and dessicated liver are all very cheap and easy to get too.


  8. Gothbubbles

    Gothbubbles New Member

    Such a simple thing as hot water really made me feel better.

    I don't mean boiling, but like, as hot as my tap can make it is how I have it. I never drink cold anymore.

    Also, is this liver info only helpful for fibro?

    CFS 6 1/2 years --- 25 years old
  9. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    I have cfs, but this liver stuff is basically for any chronic disease. And especiallly for us since alot of us have had infections, that means our RNase-L has been attacking viruses by destroying messenger RNA. Problem is, it destroys our OWN messenger RNA, too. This disrupts protein synthesis everywhere in the body. The highest concentration of protein synthesis is in the liver. Once it's functions are disrupted, the whole body's organ systems suffer.

    Also, most of us have been eating crappy food all our lives and the liver has been cleaning up after it. You may think I'm a conspiracy nut, but I think the reason we don't hear much about the liver and how to take care of it on tv or in the news is because if everybody took care of their liver, there would be an awful lot less illness and drug usage going on. The only thing they tell you is to avoid excess alcohol.

    Anyone on this board can only benefit from taking steps to make sure liver function is helped by diet and supplements. Doctors will not help you with a congested liver or anything less than partial liver failure. And then all they can do is diagnose it for you. There are no drugs that help a diseased liver, that would be like taking a hammer to fix a broken leg. You can be in pretty bad shape with your liver and even a liver specialist like mine will still insist it's in "perfect working order" based on a few enzymes in the blood. He told me I needed a psychiatrist when I told him I was sure it had to be my liver keeping me in bed all the time.

    The only way to tell if your liver is not working properly is to treat it well, stop punishing it and see if you improve.

    It doesn't take long to feel the effects of pampering your liver.

    happy xmas!

  10. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    The book "Optimal Wellness" by Ralph Golan MD has a good chapter on taking care of your liver.
  11. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Thank you for posting this article and information about liver care. I take Darvocet and acetaminophen daily, and do worry about the condition of my poor overworked liver. I hope that eating a clean diet and breathing clean coastal air has helped keep the damage to a minimum.

    However, I will look into some of the liver support suggestions you and others have made.

    It is a sad statement of western medicine that symptoms are treated and health is not supported and encouraged at a deeper level. No wonder the docs don't know what to do with us!

    You are very wise. Thank you again for your post.

  12. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Thanks for the great info! My dad has been using milk thistle for a few years, and it's helped his liver functioning tremendously.

    All the best, Erika
  13. shar6710

    shar6710 New Member

    I read this the other day and realized that I still had some SAMe in my fridge that I purchased for my dog who died from liver cancer last summer.

    I don't know if my liver has a problem or not but I imagine it could use a boost because of all the meds I've been taking, and because I think CFS puts a strain on every organ. Plus when I read that it is involved in brain chemistry I thought I would try it. I've only taken 3 doses and I do think it is helping.

    It may be too soon to really tell but I went on errands with my husband yesterday and although I still was exhausted after only 3 hours I didn't feel bad today. I normally need at least one day of recovery anytime I leave the house like that.

    So I'm commited to trying it for awhile in addition to the other things I'm doing. Thanks for the nudge and I'll keep you posted.


  14. Catseye

    Catseye Member

  15. mujuer

    mujuer New Member

    Is the only test by looking at your fingernail? I am not on very much right now but would like to know if I am in trouble.
  16. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    You are pretty much on your own to figure out if your liver's having problems or not. Digestive problems: if you feel overly full after eating, especially protein or fatty foods. Also, yellow stools, tired feeling in chest and right side, hypoglycemia, blood sugar irregularities, food allergies and intolerance, intolerance to drugs like acetominophen (tylenol), itchy skin, depression, irritability, anger, craving for sugar . . . these are some symptoms of poor liver function. Obviously, these overlap with other causes but if you have all of these, then your liver is needing some TLC in a big way.

    I had hep c which damaged my liver and then I ended up with cfs eventually. I don't think you can treat cfs without treating the liver, too. It's responsible for too many metabolic functions in the body. You can clean up your diet and then see how you feel. But getting the liver to function normally again is slow going. You have to be patient and persistent while you baby it. I had to give up wheat and dairy completely and eliminate all junk foods. I eat tons of veggies and lots of brown rice and beans. Red meats are hard to digest and so is fat. There is a liverdoctor you can search for that has alot of detailed info on the liver and what to do. That's where I got alot of my info.

    good luck!

  17. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    liver info bump
  18. annaleeb

    annaleeb New Member

    for all the info on the liver. I found it so helpfull, I worry about my liver all the time!
  19. monkeykat

    monkeykat Member

    Hi Karen,
    Lots of really great information. I've been so ill over the years it's hard to do as much of my own research as I'd like as it's overwhelming, So thank you for sharing with us.
    I feel overwhelmed by this post but I'm going to go back on my SAMe. I'll have to read the other stuff too.

    Keep Hope Alive, Monkeykat
  20. paulmack

    paulmack New Member

    Thanks Karen for this excellent thread about taking care of the liver.
    Over the years with fibro I've tended to look at treating the sore points around the body,such as my neck,back & head problems without any real success with physio,osteopathy,painkillers,antidepressants,relaxants etc.
    To be honest I never really thought about the organs in the body such as the liver & the adrenals & although I always suffered with stomach problems but because the pains in the stomach weren't as bad as my other problems I never gave my liver a second thought.
    But thinking back I can remember taking prescribed drugs & most painkillers i took seemed to make my stomach pains worse & I can now see the point about the toxity of taking prescribed drugs.And alcohol I would agree is also very toxic,I can remember taking too much alcohol recently & it seemed to take the whole of the next day for the alcohol to leave my system.
    Also,from this thread I can now see the importance of a healthy liver & how it affects the whole body.Since the turn of the year I've taken some steps to remove the junk out of my diet.
    And only last week I added Milk Thistle to my supplements so hopefully I can see an improvement in a few months.

    Thanks again for this very infomative thread.

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