In this article we wish to consider briefly the symptoms of a malfunctioning liver and some of its direct results. Many of the symptoms that we shall mention here are seldom ever related to liver problems. They are usually treated from the point of view of relieving the immediate symptomatic annoyance with various suppressive drugs. This approach only continues to place an added burden upon the liver and in the long run will increase the annoying symptoms. The cause must be ascertained and corrected for long-range help.
Sleeping Patterns – A congested liver will often result in difficulty in sleeping – especially in the early hours of the morning. During the daytime there will frequently be a desire to sleep, especially right after meals.
Urine – More frequent urination during the night than in the daytime is sometimes symptomatic of liver malfunction. Poor urination in general is frequently the case as the kidneys are not receiving the necessary stimulation when the liver is sluggish. Oftentimes the urine will be cloudy or on the other hand too clear, indicating that the biliary pigments are missing and natural elimination of poisons from the body are not as they should be.
Gas – An insufficiency of bile causes putrefaction of the food in the small intestines and a resulting release of putrid gases into the intestines and sometimes a painful swelling of the abdomen.
Painful Joints – Inflammation of the gall bladder and consequent gall stones because of insufficient bile will often result in sharp pains below the ribs on the right side of the body or pains around the area of the right shoulder blade and shoulder itself.
Headaches – Liver problems frequently cause constipation and then the poisons begin to back up throughout the entire body causing a feeling of heaviness in the head. Sometimes mental fatigue, nervous depression and dizziness also result.
Nausea – Frequently the cause of nausea is due to a liver disorder and rising of the bile. The person will think he has heart trouble in some cases.
The Mouth – Excessively bad breath, a bitter taste and a “stickiness” in the mouth are often present. The tongue will sometimes be coated. Too much salivation may indicate an inflammation of the gall bladder.
Red Nose – Deficiency in bile flow can result in a red nose. Habitual drinkers often have a red nose because of the damage that alcohol does to their liver.
Spots – The presence of dark spots on the face and on the back of the hands as well as at times on forehead and around the nose can be symptomatic of liver insufficiency. The skin will often appear to be dirty.
DIRECT RESULTS OF MALFUNCTION
Bad Digestion – The total process of digestion from the mouth to final evacuation from the large intestines runs about 19-30 hours. Food is under the influence of bile all but about three hours of this total time. So if bile is inadequate much indigestion will result along the way.
Poor Elimination – Bile is necessary for the lubrication of the intestines and to stimulate their peristaltic movements. Constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhea, often indicates inadequate biliary function. In some cases the feces (as well as urine) either lose their color altogether or are too heavily colored.
Intestinal Spasms – The intestinal walls can become overheated through a lack of bile and go into a state of spasm.
Balance of Intestinal Bacteria – If the bile is weak or inadequate in supply, , the balance among the various kinds of intestinal bacteria may be thrown out and cause a dangerous proliferation of pathogens or unwanted bacteria.
Worms and Parasites – When the supply of bile is adequate and when it contains all of the normal and required elements, worms and parasites cannot proliferate. Thousands of people suffer from parasites and do not know it because of poor liver function. The primary measure in combating these parasites over the long haul is to build good liver function.
Inflammation, Infection, Fermentations – As a result of incomplete digestion of certain foods resulting from inadequate bile in quantity or quality, irritation of the mucous linings of the intestines can result, creating an inflammatory condition that becomes a breeding ground for infection. This putrid fermentation of partly digested foods can result in a dangerous state of permanent irritation in the colon until the liver function is restored again.
Anal Itching – The accumulation of toxins in the body through inadequate digestion results in eruptions through the skin in an effort of the body to throw off the toxins. These eruptions may appear around the anal area causing unpleasant itching. This problem usually indicates an advanced state of toxicity in the body which will take some time of good liver therapy to correct. Oftentimes worms are present in anal itching but, again, as we have already noted, the liver must be returned to normal to resolve the worm problem.
Chills – People who frequently have chills, especially soon after eating, seldom relate this problem to the liver. An overworked liver trying to handle the food cannot handle the other functions connected with the control of body temperature and so chills can result.
Heartburn – Symptoms of heartburn usually indicate congestion in the digestive tract due to an insufficient bile secretion. The remedy lies in relieving an overburdened liver from wrong foods and building liver function through natural means.
Demineralization – An inadequate secretion of certain substances by the liver such as biliary salts and enzymes can impair the transformation of food into the elements needed by the body. Minerals in particular will be missing and thus vitamins will not be properly assimilated. The solution is not in taking high powered supplements to supply the minerals, but in using natural healing procedures to aid the liver in breaking down the food and extracting the needed minerals from it. Certain types of herbal mineral supplements are excellent to use – but it is more important to use herbs that will restore and build liver function so that the minerals in the food you eat may be utilized. An intake of too many high potency supplements can only result in aggravating some of these problems because this tends to overwork the liver.
Anemia – The liver helps to destroy old red blood cells and secretes a substance to help create new ones. Also a malfunctioning liver can sometimes lead to the destruction of red cells, both old and new. So in all cases of anemia liver function must be considered to obtain lasting results.
Diabetes – The liver produces glycogen which is transformed into glucose (sugar) for the use of the body. The sugar is either passed into the blood when needed or stored by the liver. If the liver produces too much sugar or cannot handle what comes from the intestines there can be an excess in both the blood and the urine.
Overweight or Underweight – The liver has to do with the metabolism of fats and in some cases is not capable of destroying excess fats or on the other hand of being able to produce the fats which the body needs. Excess intake of foods throws a heavy burden upon the liver which it may not be able to handle and this can throw the body metabolism out of balance resulting in either underweight or overweight.
Appendicitis – Much of appendicitis is the direct result of a congested, overworked liver. The appendix can only become inflamed when the bile is insufficient either in quantity or in quality.
These are some of the direct results of a malfunctioning liver. We would also like to mention in passing some of the more indirect results that can take place as a result of poor liver function. These results would come about largely as a result of a back-up of toxic materials in the body because the liver is not performing its detoxifying function as it should.
Some of the indirect results of poor liver function that could be mentioned are: visual difficulties, ear trouble, swollen legs, rheumatism and arthritis, glandular difficulties, skin diseases of all kinds, menstrual discomfort, nerve disorders, swollen adenoids and tonsils, sinus trouble and head colds, chronic bronchitis, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, tendency to hemorrhage, over-reaction to insect bites, tuberculosis, cancer, sterility, and impotence.
Thus we can see that a host of common healing problems relate either directly or indirectly to a sluggish liver. In dealing with these problems let us always consider the building up of the health of the liver through various methods. In natural healing we cannot over-emphasize the importance of proper liver function.