The Liver and your Bones

The liver plays a big part in keeping your bones strong. So how does that happen?

Well, the liver synthesises a digestive fluid called bile, composed of bile salts, water, cholesterol, and a yellowish pigment called bilirubin. Bile gets stored in the gallbladder until it is released in the small intestine for the digestion of fats.

Bile also helps to absorb essential nutrients such as Vitamins E, K, A, and D, all the nutrients that are so important for bone health and strength.

The liver is the body’s detoxing organ, it is the filtration system for the body. It filters out viruses, chemicals, pesticides, alcohol, parasites, bacteria, and drugs. If all of those substances were left circulating in your system unchecked, your pH would be highly acidic, damaging your bones. In addition to this critical function, the liver also acts as a storehouse for minerals, vitamins, and glycogen, a molecule that holds energy for future use.

Studies have linked decreases in liver function with decreases in bone density. Partly because the liver is struggling to clear all the toxins, and also because the liver produces osteoprotegerin (OPG), which inhibits osteoclast differentiation, leading to increases in bone density. However with reduced OPG production, bone mass suffers.

The liver has to cope with the stress of living but has the ability to regenerate a limited amount of mass lost to damage. So even a damaged liver can recover to a healthy well-functioning liver if looked after.

Many foods can help you to protect your liver and promote its continued health or recovery. Some of the foods are alkalising and many contain vital micronutrients and phytochemicals. So which foods are good for the liver?

1. Cruciferous vegetables have a cleansing effect on the liver, in particular, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They help the liver to detox and metabolise hormones too.
2. Walnuts have a high omega 3 content which is valuable in bone protection and helps non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
3. Coffee, when consumed in moderation can have a positive effect on liver health and because it contains polyphenols and antioxidants is safe for your bones even though it is an acid food. Don’t add milk or sugar though because that defeats the good effect!
4. Blueberries are abundant in antioxidants and protect the liver and the whole body from oxidative stress and acute injury.
5. Ginger has been shown to protect against alcohol-induced liver toxicity and liver cancer in rats. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to prevent chronic inflammation that damages your bones and your body.
6. Artichoke has been used for medicinal purposes in Europe since the 1700s, and its antioxidants and its impact on plasma lipid levels offer protection to liver cells.
7. Avocados are awash with antioxidants, vitamin C and E and other liver protecting nutrients and bone building supplements.
8. Asparagus stimulate both the liver and the kidney and help the body’s filtration system. Extracts of asparagus were found to protect liver cells from toxic substances.
9. Green Tea contains many healthful compounds, including catechins that have anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects. That’s good support for your liver and your bones, but be sure to sip in moderation because it also contains fluoride and caffeine.
10. Garlic is a powerful therapeutic plant with anti-tumour and anti-microbial effects. Garlic boosts your immune system, alkalises your pH, and is a rich source of bone-nourishing minerals including zinc, manganese, and Vitamins B6 and C.
11. Beets are instantly recognisable due to their dark purple colour. The source of that colour is a pigment called betalain that protects the liver from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
12. Fish contains taurine and Omega 3s that are essential for proper liver functioning. Animal proteins are acidifying, so consume fish in moderation to balance it with alkalizing foods.
13. Egg yolks help process fats and cholesterol, which detoxifies the liver. Even though eggs are acidifying, they have been shown to have positive effects on bone metabolism.
14. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful compound that is used to treat liver disorders in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies have shown that curcumin prevents liver inflammation and damage. The bone-protective power of turmeric is doubled by curcumin’s remarkable antidepressant effects.

Osteoporosis is not a disease but rather the body trying to correct an imbalance. It is not inevitable, you can prevent and reverse it without taking drugs. Your bones are “living” tissue that can regenerate and strengthen themselves. In fact 5-10% of all our bone tissue is renewed during one year! Drugs such Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast, etc. stop new bone from forming and leave you with old dried-up and brittle bones that are more prone to fracture. Yes, your bones may be harder and denser, but they are also dry and brittle.

Vitamins and minerals are important in bone health such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, boron, Vitamins A, D3, E, and C and K2 which is vital for getting your calcium to your bones rather than to your kidney or gall bladder.

So make sure you are eating good fresh and organic foods and take your vitamins and minerals too!

Wyndham Health