Oh I hope you’ve come to appreciate your liver and its clues as I do mine! The three most important health decisive organs in the human body are the heart, brain, and liver. The liver really acts as a body guard and protector for the entire body, and it “takes one for the team” 24/7/365, no matter if it feels sluggish, dehydrated, or filled to overflowing with toxins.
🙌Ideally, we would eat the perfect liver friendly diet, balance stress, avoid petrochemicals (including plastics, gasoline and engine oil, exhaust fumes, chemical solvents and standard household cleaners, paint, and even carpet!), chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. We would ferociously protect ourselves from chlorine and fluoride (something that is highly toxic to the liver), and run from artificial sweeteners, MSG, and preservatives of all kinds. We’d wean off caffeine, alcohol, and gluten and throw anything cooked with canola oil in the trash. In a perfect world, viruses and other harmful pathogens (The liver has to work so hard to clean up after those litter mongering microbes. ) wouldn’t exist, and medications wouldn't wreak havoc on the liver (and other organs).
🙌We’d improve our air quality by ditching “fragranced” candles, toxic air fresheners, (oh please tell me you’ve already done this, or I feel I may have failed you!), commercial hair sprays, hair dyes, and conventional cosmetics. Dry cleaning would be a bad word, and conventional laundry detergent would be an unwelcome house guest.
I’m exhausted writing all of this and frankly a little depressed☹️ just imagining how many people unknowingly cause their liver such serious harm. The reality is that we can’t possibly avoid all the things that cause liver distress, but we can avoid complacency. Ignoring the toxin truths☠️ (and solutions) will get us nowhere fast, and will ultimately lead to a slew of liver related symptoms that you now know as “clues”.
We just have to do the best we can and fix what we are able to control. Plug in your diffuser, swipe a drop or two of Stress Away across each wrist, and take a look at all the ways you can support your liver.
*Ditch known toxins and switch to healthy alternatives within your sphere of influence wherever possible. Young Living makes this incredibly easy to do without worrying about reading labels or being duped by companies who “greenwash” their product line…. a form of trickery that is just pure evil.
*Eat liver healing foods such as organic apples, apricots, artichokes, asparagus, kelp, bananas, beets, berries, carrots, celery, cherries, cilantro (binds to toxic heavy metals!), coconut, cruciferous veggies, cucumbers (very hydrating to the liver), dandelion greens, dates, figs, eggplant, garlic, grapes, hot peppers (eat them red, not green!), kiwis, leafy greens, mangoes, REAL maple syrup, melons, mushrooms, onions, oranges, tangerines, papaya, parsley (helps dislodge poisons, and has a healthy effect on gallbladder sludge), peaches and nectarines, pears, pineapple (helps dissolve gallstones), sweet potatoes (feeds the liver and helps the liver regulate hormones), radishes (disinfects the liver), raw honey/ pollen (provides fuel, minerals and other nutrients to the liver), tomatoes (lycopene helps the liver detox red blood cells), turmeric (helps with purging toxins deep within the liver), winter squash, and zucchini.
*When taking a supplement that is deeply impactful to the liver, consider taking it with a piece of fresh fruit🍏🍊🍐🍉🍇🍒🍓 to enhance the delivery to the liver.
*Young Living’s Juvatone is an amazing supplement designed for liver support. I opt to do a cleanse of some sort a few times throughout the year, and several years ago, one of those cleanses resulted in a skin rash that I could not shake off…..and I had tried nearly everything! My liver just could not handle the toxin load that was being rattled loose from this particular cleanse. It wasn’t until I gave it the support of Juvatone, that I (and my liver!) came to appreciate💃 the liver love in these tablets, and my six week long rash disappeared in just a few days.
*Remember, as toxins build, common side effects often appear throughout the body. Skin conditions, rashes, fatigue, mood swings, digestive disturbances, brain fog, muscle / joint pain, and dizziness are only some of the most common clues. Every one of us is built differently and are exposed to a different array of toxins that must be disposed of. Sometimes clues may pop up during a cleanse, while in other situations, liver overload clues are a daily occurrence.
*The combined ingredients in Juvatone promotes and supports healthy liver function. The Essential Oil Desk Reference suggests using Juvatone in tandem with Comfortone or ICP. Indeed, this makes for a great partnership, and creates a highly efficient “exit strategy” for those unwanted toxins!
What ways have you best found to love on your liver?
www.goodmedicine.info (👈if you need help finding ways to show your liver love)
We think of the liver as the body’s main ☢️☣️detoxifier, and THAT it is for sure. Did you notice that the liver is also a storehouse with many rooms? We all have at least one junk drawer, or junk closet in our homes, right? If you were to take a tour of the liver, you’d find nicely organized “rooms” filled with glucose and glycogen (for energy), vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as well as helpful hormones and phytochemicals to be released and used as needed.
Deep inside the liver lies the body’s “junk closet” where it keeps it’s darkest stash of the truly “bad boy” toxins☢️☣️. The liver is not a hoarder… quite the opposite! It is doing its best job getting rid of trash and debris as fast as possible. Sometimes, either the liver can no longer keep up with what the body is exposed to, or the toxin is so nasty that the liver throws it immediately into the far corner of the junk closet.
What kind of junk might you find in the liver’s junk closet?
☢️Petroleum products (including those found in mainstream household cleaners and personal care products)
☢️Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
☢️Aspartame (you may know this as the artificial sweeteners NutraSweet and Equal)
☢️MSG (monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer commonly found in Asian food, canned vegetables, soups, and processed meats)
☢️Viruses and virus waste materials
☢️Certain medications (including opioids)
☢️Toxic heavy metals
If the liver didn’t do this, we’d be a walking hot mess, and frankly, we probably wouldn’t live long or productively as the brain, heart and other organs wouldn’t be able to tolerate the exposure.
We are built incredibly uniquely, and our livers all work in varying degrees according to our genetics and epigenetics (the environment we are exposed to). Many people have genetics that inhibit methylation. Methylation is a chemical process that enables the body to receive, absorb, and utilize key nutrients we get through eating, drinking, and living in a “clean” manner…..ie: lots of fresh unprocessed foods and fresh filtered water and spending time in the sunshine!
Methylation occurs in the liver in tandem with the ileum (the last little bit of the small intestine). If either the ileum or the liver is impaired, methylation cannot occur efficiently. Vitamin B12 is critical to efficient methylation. If you have not yet incorporated 👉Young Living’s Super B👈 into your daily supplement routine, I encourage you to give it a try and see if you don’t notice a difference!
When the “junk closet” of the liver has hit its overflow and begun filling the hallway, the methylation process is affected. However, when you also add in a liver specific virus….one that is in the herpetic family (shingles, HHV-6, cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr).... The real trouble starts. Viral waste buildup is one of the most problematic to the liver and B12 levels will slowly begin dropping in the body. Additionally, the liver’s “ junk closet door” has now burst open and virus byproducts are now in the bloodstream causing inflammation within the body, dermatoxin related rashes, and brain fog.
Major clues indicating the liver is waving the white flag are on today’s graphic, and there are many more. Remember, the liver performs hundreds (if not thousands! ) of tasks. If the liver fails to deliver and the task is incomplete, something didn’t happen in the body that should have. Slowly over time, these incomplete tasks will begin adding up until eventually you have a clue so big, you’ve had to make an appointment with your favorite health professional😬.
Other clues indicating significant liver burden include:
🔎Random aches and pains : The liver purifies blood and produces new blood. When not enough “clean” blood is available to reach tendons, muscles, and other tissue, it may result in decreased flexibility, pain in upper back, and even dry eyes!
🔎Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) : may show up as random pain in the back or on the upper right side of the abdomen, kidney, or shoulder blade (referred pain).
🔎Spider Veins: If the liver cannot properly clean the blood, then clotting issues near the surface of the skin result.
🔎Darker Urine (see a health professional please!)
🔎Darker Emotions: An unhealthy liver exacerbates predisposition to depression or negative mood swings.
🔎Eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes, breakouts, or itchy skin
🔎Allergies and asthma
🔎High blood pressure
🔎Erratic blood sugar or diabetes
🔎Compromised immune system (including autoimmune disorders)
Once the liver “junk closet” is full…. It’s full and unless someone starts a cleanup process, the spillage will only continue. Have you ever cleaned the house while someone went right behind you and tracked in more dirt, left dishes in the sink, and oh…. Forgot to flush all the toilets?😱 That’s what the liver feels like if it’s burdened to the point of overflow and someone decides to clean it up on the inside, but does not stop exposure to all of the petrochemicals (standard household, personal care, and skin care toxins), pesticides, processed foods, contaminated water, etc. If you have not yet ditched your liver saboteurs, I encourage you to begin today. 🌿Thieves Household Cleaner, the entire line of Young Living body and personal care, and Savvy Minerals cosmetics are all liver friendly! 🌿
Thankfully, the liver is incredibly resilient and forgiving with the right care and TLC, and is able to regenerate itself and regain function. It can do this even when it’s been compromised by more than 60%. The caveat to that factoid is this: permanent and thorough damage cannot be undone…..precisely the reason we want to avoid walking to the end of that road.
Happy liver, happy life!
Liver Clues Part II
I’ve always thought it rather humorous that the liver is called the “liver”. A body can be kept alive for days (or even years) with an artificial heart or a “dead” brain, but if the liver were to shut down, a body would likely die within a day. We keep going because our liver helps us live! 😁
Tho it’s the largest internal organ (our skin is the biggest!) and an integral component of the digestive system, we tend to take its existence for granted…… until something goes very wrong. Just ask anyone who has advanced liver disease.
I’ve got some sad stats to share with you. An estimated 10-30% of Americans have some form of liver disease, and most are unaware of their problem. Roughly 90% of us (myself included!) have overburdened livers. #thestruggleisreal
It didn’t used to be this way for the poor liver, but decades of polluted foods and beverages, pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide exposure, medication use, the air we breathe, the water we bathe in, and all the toxin laden skincare and standard issue household products have definitely taken their toll. Babies👶 are born with a chemical burden their livers negotiate from Day One. One study found over 280 toxins☠️ in the blood of umbilical cords of an average infant at birth.
To understand clues a burdened liver leaves us, it’s important to first recognize the profound multitasking machine that it is.
In addition to being the primary detoxifier of the body, the liver also stores the worst☠️ of the worst ☠️toxic substances deep within itself. Animal livers do this too, and heaven knows, they are exposed to a myriad of toxins in commercial farming situations. Liver was a healthy organ meat for our ancestors, but not for us in the 21st century unless you are able to find a certified “clean” source (uncommon, but they are out there).
Other tasks the liver performs include:
*Vitamin and mineral storage system
*Storage and filtration of blood
*Secretion of bile (go back and review the gallbladder for more info on that task!)
*Conversion of sugars into glycogen (energy storage packets)
*Synthesis of serum proteins, albumin (which regulates blood volume), coagulation factors in the blood
*Filters and destroys bacteria
*Helps maintain a balance of sex hormones in the body
*Helps maintain a balance of many neurotransmitters
Ultimately, there are well over 500 (some researchers have said as many as 2000! ) functions the liver performs. As the inner Sherlock Holmes within you may suspect, the clue possibilities are vast!
We’ll cover some very specific clues next week, but in the meantime, imagine what might happen within the body (and mind) if an impaired or sluggish liver shows up for work. Since 90% of us have overburdened livers, shouldn’t we be showing our liver some serious love and living like we care about it daily instead of remaining indifferent or flat out abusing it?
Use your “clean” alternatives! Thieves Household Cleaner is liver friendly, as are the Savvy Minerals cosmetics, shampoo, deodorant, body wash, toothpaste, hand soap, and laundry detergent that Young Living has designed for us. #nolabelreadingnecessary
Love your liver and it will reciprocate!
Gallbladder Clues (Liver Part I)
The gallbladder is a literal bountiful bag of body clues! It’s a small pouch that sits just under the liver, located in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. It’s a little bag with a big responsibility! 💪
The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile produced by the liver. Bile digests fat and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E & K) and fatty acids (think omega 3/ 6’s). It becomes extremely important to take a quality Omega-3 supplement if your gallbladder is MIA. #Omegagize3forthewin.
Additionally, without a gallbladder, vitamins A,D,E &K become poorly absorbed from foods, and it is prudent to supplement with these vitamins as well. #MasterFormulaandSuperDforsupport A well functioning gallbladder also helps the body excrete fats and fat soluble toxins. Fat soluble toxins☠ are sadly found in common household cleaners, personal care products, food, beverages, and even in cosmetics. To keep the ☠toxin load☠ down, make the most of your Thieves Household Cleaner (All things Thieves really! ), the wonderful personal care products Young Living has available for us, and the Savvy Minerals cosmetic line. There are hundreds of fat soluble toxins to avoid, and Young Living has done the hard work so that our bodies may enjoy a decreased toxic burden!
Gallbladder removal is THE most common surgery in North America. Gallbladder symptoms (clues🔎) don’t evolve overnight…..there are years of foundational “sludge” building up beforehand that may have been unintentionally ignored. Most people are under the impression that if the gallbladder is removed, the pain will stop.While the immediate pain will likely go away, it will ultimately be replaced with a different set of pain points and problems.
People without a gallbladder become even more prone to digestive problems. If the offending diet and lifestyle is not altered, gallstones can still occur..…. they just stay in the liver.. Risk of developing fatty liver dis-ease is also greater in people without a gallbladder. In the absence of a gallbladder, bile slowly trickles into the intestines and never becomes concentrated enough to digest fats well. Often this results in diarrhea, nausea, bloating and heartburn-like symptoms.
If your detective gears are moving, you’ll have just read a wealth of clues 🔎for those people who may be missing their gallbladder and are still struggling. Here’s the biggest clue of all…. A gallbladder’s health is dependent upon the liver’s health….. So while the gallbladder became the “fall guy”, the liver was (and still is!) actually screaming for some support. A poorly functioning liver will produce sludgy bile. That’s as gross as it sounds. Sludgy bile eventually will eventually cause stones or, like a sewer pipe, a significant clog.
A compromised diet is at the heart of most gallbladder dysfunction:
💥Having a diet high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup (learn to look at labels… sugar and HFCS hide everywhere!)
💥Having a diet high in “modern” grains. This leads to fatty liver (we will talk about that soon), which will eventually lead to an unhealthy gallbladder too. There is some pretty compelling research linking gluten intolerance to gallstones. This is another reason Gary was so adamant about getting us our YL Einkorn products!
💥Having a diet high in “bad fats”. (think processed food/ “fast” food)
Other clues indicating an unhappy gallbladder is on the horizon:
🔎Regular use of Aspirin (we have many natural alternatives friends ….. Use them!)
🔎An existing or suspected diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO, or candida overgrowth. Remember, the liver is an important part of the digestive system, and all parts are ultimately affected when one part begins to falter. The majority of people with gallbladder dysfunction have had poor digestive health for years and have not modified their diet and added supportive digestive enzymes (Essentialzyme-4!) and probiotics.
🔎Gout flare ups
🔎Seemingly common bouts of “food poisoning”. This is a sign of weakened bile flow. Strong bile flow kills pathogens and assists in a healthy and harmonious digestive tract.
🔎Common “strep” infections. (“common” is a relative term…. In this case, even once a year would be considered common)
🔎“Hot flashes”. We often only think of this clue as hormonal, but there is a correlation between a toxic liver and a gallbladder that can’t keep up with eliminating the toxins.
🔎A mysterious “come and go” chronic pain in the abdomen or rib cage area. (The gallbladder doesn’t usually have gallstones at this point, it has toxic sludge that has become so heavy the gallbladder actually droops from its original position putting pressure on some very sensitive nerves around the liver. The “drooping” also causes a pulling on the neck of the gallbladder)
🔎Chronic constipation and “slow GI” transit time.
The gallbladder really is the "canary in the coalmine" when it comes to liver health. Ultimately….. If the liver ain’t happy, the whole body ain’t gonna be happy eventually either.
Consider starting and ending your day drinking a glass of water with a few drops of YL lemon or lime vitality oils to support “decongesting” lymphatic tissue. Other ways to support healthy lymphatic drainage include lymphatic massage, dry brushing, exercise, eating fresh fruits and leafy greens, drinking plenty of water, deep breathing exercises on the regular, avoiding “reloading” with toxins, and wearing loose clothing that is not binding.
These health clues are sooooo important friends. There’s no sense crying over spilt milk or a missing gallbladder! Work with what ‘cha got! 😘 You didn’t know. But now you do, and the good news is you now know you’ve got some serious but entirely doable work to give your liver its best life, so that you can lead your best life too! And thank the good Lord (and Young Living) we’ve got the tools to do it!
www.goodmedicine.info (interested in a complimentary health chat?)
ICP: Supplement Appreciation Spotlight📣
Perhaps one of the biggest clues🔎 of all isn’t a part of our body. Rather, it’s what’s being put into it! How did we (as a nation) become among the sickest (even when compared to 3rd world countries) despite the vast amount of food available? The answer…. processed food 🍩🍕🍟and eating too few fruits🍅🍒🍑🍓🍠 and vegetables.
Food has been a source of healing for thousands of years, yet in the last 50 years, food in the USA has become an enormous source of illness, mostly due to what we choose to eat and also what we choose not to eat.
The average American doesn’t get adequate soluble and insoluble fiber in their daily diet. Half a century ago, this would not have been a problem, but today it’s a HUGE one. Soluble and insoluble fibers are found in plants🌱 we eat….. And if you aren’t eating enough unprocessed plants, there will be a fiber deficiency.
When soluble and insoluble fibers are combined in the duodenum (the very first part of the small intestine), a gel is formed which binds bile, TOXINS, and other undigested material. Heaven knows we are exposed to all manner of ☠️toxins on a daily basis, but this is especially true of modern day food and beverages (pesticides, herbicides, processed food ingredients…. Including sweeteners). This binding of toxins protects the rest of the body and helps keep the liver from getting overwhelmed….. And if the liver’s unhappy, the rest of the body will follow suit.
Other benefits of soluble and insoluble fiber:
*Soluble and insoluble fibers also feed the good bacteria in the gut…. Which is good for them and great for us!
*Soluble and insoluble fibers slow the breakdown of starches. Without getting too technical, this too is very helpful for the liver (and us!), as the liver also takes excess starch and turns it into fat. This translates into keeping insulin response down and fat within the body from building up.
*Soluble and insoluble fibers promote a faster transit time thru the intestine, causing a specific hormone to be released into the bloodstream and sent to the brain….. Where it tells us “hey, you’re full….. Quit eating!”.
*The “good bacteria” in the gut return the favor, after having been well fed by these fibers, and begin producing byproducts that reduce inflammation in the body.
*Finally, these two fiber types also act as a gentle cleansing agent in the colon….. Dislodging and sloughing off old dead cells. This is HUGELY important in reducing colon cancer risk (currently the 3rd most common cancer).
My first suggestion will always be to heal and protect yourself with quality nourishing food. You’ll never be able to “out supplement” a bad diet. #thatsafactjack
ICP stands in the gap for those who need a little extra digestive system help and who have realized that their health clues point towards a need to better love on their gut and liver.
In addition to a stellar soluble/insoluble fiber blend (psyllium, oat, fennel, rice bran, guar gum seed, Mojave yucca root, and cellulose powders), ICP also contains digestive enzymes to specifically break down fats and proteins at various pH points in the gut.
Aloe Vera, Fennel, Anise, Ginger, Lemongrass, and Rosemary oils round out the ICP recipe…. This combination is helpful in supporting digestion, promoting a healthy inflammatory response (as opposed to the runaway train variety), and in creating an inhospitable environment for “the less desirables” that may want to lurk within the depths of your intestines.
If previous health clues have been pointing towards showing a bit more TLC to your digestive tract, ICP may be a welcome addition to the supplement shelf!
Psst...... Hey there friend! I see you and your struggle between patience and frustration, perhaps even moving between anger at being cooped up and concern for the welfare of others. You are not alone in this. Hardly. Let's chat a bit, shall we? 😘
Springtime is the season of new and pent up energy bursting forth... it's that way in nature, and we humans also have that tendency.
Western medicine doesn't look that much at seasonal changes and how it affects your body (unless they are discussing seasonal allergies),.... but it is a core feature in Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM looks at the physical (what can be seen), and also the energy (that which might be blocked or sluggish). Too much blocked energy, and something physical will usually result. Free flowing energy results in a higher body frequency which results in a happier healthier you! #highfrequencyrules #bethelight
AT THE HEART OF THE SPRING SEASON FOR TCM ARE THE LIVER AND GALLBLADDER. THESE TWO ORGANS PLAY A TERRIBLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN DETOXIFICATION OF OUR BODY. WINTER WAS A TIME FOR STORING RESERVES.... AND SPRING IS OUR TIME FOR SHEDDING THE ACCUMULATED TOXINS THRU INCREASED MOVEMENT THAT TENDS TO COME MORE NATURALLY WITH LONGER DAYLIGHT HOURS AND A SUN THAT BECKONS US OUTDOORS..... and we need to be doing this!
Grab a bottle of Juvaflex or Helichrysum, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Basil, Rosemary, Frankincense, or Geranium and apply over the liver or use the vitality versions and add a drop or two to your water.
Movement is critical to all parts of the body... but in the Spring season, it's especially important to your liver. Exercise can be done anywhere... even in the comfort of your own home and neighborhood!
Grab a bottle of the amazing essential oil blend, Motivation, and go for a walk today. Your liver will thank you. Promise!
Failure to move makes blood sluggish, and accumulated toxins just don't have the opportunity to leave the body as they should.
Signs that you've maybe not incorporated enough movement in your life recently?
stress related digestive issues
chronic stress you can't seem to shake
an odd feeling of a "lump in the throat "
irritability, anger, or frustration
The liver is also the organ that holds stress. One of the best ways to help your liver emotionally is to practice expressing your feelings. Express... and then let go of them. Don't dwell on them unless they are positive ones! Holding on to your negative emotions ultimately will cause outward irritability, frustration and anger. One sign that you might be holding on to something is feeling like you have a lump in your throat (almost like the feeling you get in your throat right before you cry).
Remember.... different emotions live in different organs..... Anger is held in the liver. But for the "negative" emotion an organ holds, it also holds a good one too.... and we have the free choice to decide which one is going to be expressed. The "positive" emotion associated with the liver is compassion. ..... and ya'll... I'm thinking right about now.... our world could use a little less anger and a little more compassion.
If you are wanting to get rid of anger, first have some compassion on yourself. These are stressful times and stress feeds anger. Instead, try looking for ways to express compassion to get your liver energy flowing:
Offer to go shopping for someone who needs to avoid people due to a health concern.
Clean out your bookshelves and donate books or games to an assisted living community library.
Offer to walk someone's dog for them.
Share what you have with someone who has less than you do at this moment.
Call people to check on them... don't forget about your extroverted friends. They are probably climbing their curtains right about now 😉.
And finally..... seek out ways to nourish your liver... Lemon vitality oil in your water..... beets, broccoli, asparagus, and goji berries are all very helpful ways to support your liver.
Goji berries..... hmmm, where have we heard of those before? You probably have some in your house..... at least I HOPE you do. 😉... Goji berries are also known as wolfberries... and the best, healthiest ones in the world can be found in our NingXia Red! Who knew?
Love your liver, and show some compassion to yourself and to others. We're gonna make it thru this time alone together just fine. You'll see. 😘
Not sure about the science of TCM? If you are like me, you'll want proof. Go do some digging on your own... perhaps start here with a really interesting study: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/409568/
Cholesterol has been heavy on my heart for the last month... haha! No pun intended there... my cholesterol is actually fine..... but I tend to root for the the misunderstood and the underdog when given a choice. (That's probably why our farm tends to be a haven for rescue dogs and cats.... but I digress!)
Did you know that approximately 80% of people with acute cornary syndrome....(ie: reduced blood flow to the heart... often leading to heart attack) have NORMAL cholesterol values? What's up with that?
Cholesterol is one of those underdogs. Bless its sticky little heart..... it's given a bad rap more so than nearly any other body produced compound. What would we do without cholesterol? That's a good question.... I'm not entirely sure any of us would be around to discuss it if we lacked it in our bodies! It is a major component of cell membranes and is a necessary building block for hormones, fat soluble vitamin D, and bile salts (aiding in the digestion of fats and fat soluble nutrients). Cholesterol is also extremely important to the function of our nervous system. Without it, we'd be bumbling malfunctioning idiots....especially considering that our brains are roughly comprised of 50% cholesterol. So why all the hate?
Our bodies are efficient producers of cholesterol.... producing about 80% of what is in our bodies (the other 20% comes from dietary sources). Cholesterol should not be confused with Triglycerides (perhaps the real bad boys), or the obscure thug that likes to hang on to its buddy LDL..... lipoprotein(a).
Unpacking Cholesterol: The cholesterol in our vascular system is a mixed bag of good and bad. HDL (the good guys) has the job of bouncer.... and it escorts out the shadier gang members, LDL, from our bloodstream. LDL comes in a variety of sizes.... and the smaller sizes (subunits 3 & 4) are really bad news. The bigger ones (subunits 1 &2) are fluffier and are actually pretty helpful. Because they (subunits 3&4) are small, they can easily work their way into the lining of our arteries where the bouncer (HDL) can't reach them. In a whopping 20% of the population (1 in 5) there is something called Lipoprotein(a) that makes LDL 'extra sticky'..... if you carry this genetic characteristic, it is best to know about it early on in life, as it dramatically increases your risk for clogged arteries and blood clots leading to strokes and heart attacks. It is a serious health risk, and frankly.... should be tested for at least once in everyone's life.
While managing total cholesterol with careful eating habits (avoid processed and 'fast' foods) is important, .... the real culprits we should be monitoring are inflammation, triglycerides, and lipoprotein(a).
Triglycerides are produced predominately by the liver. When we eat, the body stores any excess calories as triglycerides in our fat cells. It is particularly fond of doing this with carbs. Later.... between meals.... hormones will signal a need for more energy, and those triglycerides will be released. Herein lies the rub tho..... if you eat more than you exert energy, triglycerides begin building up and you end up with hypertriglyceridemia (HTG), and THAT my friends, is cause for alarm. Even if someone has verified genetic HTG, management can be achieved with responsible ownership of the vessel you reside in:
Lipoprotein(a) is no joke. 73 million people in the USA are estimated to be living with this 'sticky' situation. It is extremely dangerous because the molecule itself is so small, sticky, and it difficult to manage. What makes it even more dangerous is this: most insurance companies refuse to pay for the test that determines if you have it..... and many doctors don't even mention the test to patients because insurance doesn't pay. I have not been able to wrap my brain around the logic of NOT paying for a potentially life saving test.... but there you have it. It's just one more reason to take charge of your own health and ask for the test and pay for it out of pocket, ESPECIALLY if you have family history of heart disease. Nothing..... no vacation, no daily coffee, no new phone.... should be more valuable to you than knowing this information about yourself. Once you know, you have the power to act.... and that can change the trajectory of your life. If you do carry this genetic trait, you will want to have your children tested. They need to learn healthy habits early in life. It's never too young to become a CEO of oneself!
IF you have inherited lipoprotein(a), you'll want to pay very close attention to what you CAN do, because it's time to take your health seriously. Some people do not get a warning, and find themselves diagnosed at the same time their mortality is realized. Lp(a) requires close attention and monitoring. Tools to help in management include:
I realize this has been kind of a heavy post. I'm sorry about that. It's a heavy topic tho. Most people (even healthcare professionals) don't have a clear understanding of exactly what causes the real problems in our vascular system. Hopefully, you can see that cholesterol itself is not the real monster..... it's actually pretty awesome stuff. Too much of a good thing is bad tho.... no matter what it is. Although I only barely touched on inflammation in this post, it's HUGELY important to this topic too. Sticky Lp(a)LDL is especially fond of a chronically inflamed vascular system.
It is my hope and blessing that this helps someone better manage their own health, and to prompt personal responsibility one's own health. I am not a doctor. Information here is for recommendation purposes only, and not intended to substitute for specific medical advice. Please do use this information as a starting point for your own research, and use as discussion points with your personal healthcare provider.
Love and hugs, Liz
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!