Your liver, your friend

Dr. Paul Mach, DN

Sorry about the corny title, but it was just so appropriate. It reminds me of that gooppy stuff that mom used to fry with bacon and tried to feed me. Definitely not my best friend in that form. Inside your body it is undoubtedly an intricate, complex and remarkable organ. It is often overlooked and taken for granted. To a very large extent your health and vitality is greatly determined by your liver and its ability to regulate thousands of intricate chemical computations every moment of every day. If you suffer from fatigue or general malaise, have ever had gallstones or been diagnosed with gall bladder problems, use oral contraceptives or been on any hormonal or steroid prescription medications, have digestive difficulties, elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, PMS or other hormonal irregularities, allergies or chemical sensitivities, skin eruptions or pimples; you may have a subclinical “sluggish liver”.

Your liver performs three imperative functions:

  1. Vascular: The liver is a major blood reservoir and filters over a liter of blood per minute constantly removing bacteria, endotoxins, antibodies, and other unwanted particles from the blood stream.
  1. Secretory: This involves the production and secretion of bile. Each day the liver manufactures approximately one liter of bile. Bile is important for the breakdown and absorption of fats. It is also utilized to eliminate toxins from the body.


  1. Metabolic: There are thousands of metabolic functions performed by the liver daily. It is involved with metabolizing fats, carbohydrates and proteins: storing and regulating vitamins and minerals; eliminating and monitoring the blood levels of hormones, such as estrogen, thyroxine, cortisol, and aldosterone; and the removal of carcinogens such as drugs and pesticides.

Our world abounds with chemicals. They are virtually everywhere. In fact according to the 1993 Toxic Release Inventory Charts and Statements, Published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Whiteside County, IL was the 18th worst County in the United States. It has 15 facilities/factories that emit a total of 533,927 pounds of total air emissions, 3,105 pounds of water surface discharge and 13,970,000 pounds of toxins released on land. This totals out to 14,507,032 pounds of total toxins dumped into Whiteside County yearly. You best beware of where your food comes from and if you are drinking the ground water. These poisons all to frequently end up in your body and must be processed by your liver.

We then add prescription drugs, food dies and colorings, aspartame, saccharine, flavorings, preservatives, flavor enhancers, tenderizers, pesticides and herbicides, chlorine and fluoride, alcoholic beverages, hydrogenated and fake non-absorbing oils all having a massive accumulative affect on your body and especially on our good old filter friend our liver. It is amazing how your liver can survive this constant exposure to environmental chemicals, along with the additional bombardment of carcinogens stuffed into our mouth daily. All this and it still maintains homeostasis and balance allowing us to live.


Your liver is your best friend and you need to treat it as such. The first thing is to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals such as pesticides, especially organic solvents and polycyclic hydrocarbons such as pesticides and herbicides, and don’t breathe the air (just kidding). A good hint is to buy organic foods. As little as one ounce of alcohol produces measurable fat deposits to the liver. All alcoholics demonstrate fatty infiltration of the liver. Prescription drugs and birth control pills also stress the liver and effect bile flow. A diet rich in saturated fat increases the risk of developing fatty liver infiltration, watch what you eat. If there are too many long chemical names on the content label, it is a test-tube food meant for test-tube people, not you. Don’t eat it.

A diet rich in dietary fiber and plant foods helps increase and help with bile flow. Take your nutritional supplements and vitamins. Nutritional antioxidants, i.e. vitamin C and E, zinc and selenium will help protect the liver from free radical damage. Amino acids such as methionine and carnitine are also important support. Most important of all is silymarin, or milk thistle. It contains some of the most potent liver protective substances known and inhibits factors responsible for hepatic damage, protects from free radicals and leukotrienes and stimulates liver protein synthesis.

A blood test is often indicated. Look for slight alterations in your laboratory report on tests such as your SGOT, SGPT, bilirubin, and alkaline phosphatase levels. Always look for subtle deviations. Don’t wait for failure. Think. See a holistic practitioner or doctor.


“You are responsible, not just for your spirit,
but for your body.
It is your temple. You are its co-creator.
You are responsible for your life and your destiny.
These are but outer manifestations of your internal being. Manifest yourself powerfully.”