Understanding the Liver, Healing the Healer

By Dr. Anthony Godfrey

In the course of my 20 years of clinical practice, one of the main imbalances that I have observed most frequently is an overactive liver. The overactive liver is burdened by a combination of the physiological detoxification that is related to environmental pollution and the detoxification of the endogenous by-products that arise from the stressful lifestyle. HepatoDR™ has been a mainstay of my practice during this time. This remarkably effective formula both nourishes and supports liver and bowel function, thereby effectively bringing the body back into balance. – Anthony J. Godfrey, B.V.Sc., D.T.V.M., PhD, N.D.

The Role of the Liver

Did you know the many critical roles played by the liver, a body organ that has an almost infinite capacity for regeneration?
  • Sits at the center of the body’s bloodstream network.
  • Affects the health of e very part of us – immediately.
  • Takes nutrients in and releases new or recycled, life-giving molecules into the general bloodstream.
  • Responsible for the lion’s share of the body’s work of detoxification.
  • Processes toxins in huge quantities every second.
  • Facilitates the free flow of bile, without which we cannot live long.
  • Manufactures lipoproteins, which are key to the healthfulness of our cholesterol status.
  • Stores the body’s critical supply of iron as hemoglobin.
  • Stores crucial vitamins like vitamins A, D. and B12.
  • Responsible for amino acid metabolism and the synthesis of many of the proteins needed by our bodies.
  • Maintains the clotting factors of the blood and the metabolism of vitamin K, also essential to blood clotting.
The Common Pitfalls of Modern Life That Can Overwhelm and Poison the Liver
  • Constipation, which causes the body’s toxins and excess bile salts to be returned to the liver.
  • Imbalance in the bowel microflora, which produces inflammation, antigen-antibody complexes and toxic waste, all of which ad to the burden of the liver.
  • The direct consumption of food that contains toxins which create a cumulative load that not only challenges the capacity of the liver, but actually poisons it.
  • The indirect consumption of a host of waste drugs and chemicals in our environment through inhalation and skin contact, and inadvertently by food and water contamination. These toxins come from things we use every day: pesticides, glues, solvents, cleaners, texturizers, plastics, fire retardants, laundry products and son on – the list is dauntingly long.
  • The consumption of foods that are wrong for our blood or metabolic type.
  • Stress creates a massive extra load for the liver, especially through the impact it has on digestive efficiency.
The Consequences of an Overwhelmed Liver
  • Bile ducts that go into spasms, causing pain and backup of bile into the liver.
  • Inflammation and thickening of the gallbladder and pancreatic ducts.
  • Impaired digestion, producing symptoms like burping, acid regurgitation, and hiatus hernia.
  • Increased risk of ulcers in the stomach and duodenum.
  • Fatigue and malaise, because we cannot make as much energy as usual and the little energy we have is used up in our attempts to neutralize and excrete toxic molecules.
  • Mental/emotional symptoms. Altered moods, especially anger, irritability, hostility and their flip side, depression, are a common effect of toxicity. Headaches often accompany these symptoms. Paradoxically, drugs like aspirin and Tylenol increase the load on the liver to a considerable degree. Along with depression and headaches, systemic toxicity also causes cognitive impairment, what we often call brain fog, resulting in poor memory and concentration.
  • Neurological symptoms. The chronic state of liver overload is now known to contribute to a large number of amorphous neurological symptoms, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Immune symptoms. The amounting levels of inflammation associated with generalized toxicity continually over- stimulate the immune system. Autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease are examples of this over stimulation. We also run the risk of increased susceptibility to eczema, hives, bronchial asthma, runny nose, itchy eyes and heightened environmental sensitivity.

Signs of an Unhealthy Liver
  • Elevated Liver enzymes in the blood because liver cells are dying in large numbers.
  • A fatty liver that has become enlarged and pale looking
  • Cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver, in which over time, toxins cause liver cells to be killed and replaced by fibrous tissue, which can cut across bile ducts or blood vessels with dire results.


The Importance of a Healthy Liver

A healthy liver is essential to a sense of physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. It is estimated that approximately 100 novel man-made chemicals enter our environment in North America annually, and there are well over 100,000 of these xenobiotics, including drugs, pesticides, food additives and industrial and agricultural chemicals in our environment today. We inhale, swallow and absorb approximately 15 pounds of this wide assortment of chemicals annually. To this artificial, man-made chemical load, we must add the products of poor digestion arising from fermentation and putrefaction, the toxins produced by overgrowths of fungal and bacterial organisms, which we call dysbiosis, and the products of inflammation and abnormal immune activity, which result in large part, from our unnatural eating habits. Most of this is reversible with a little care and certainly can be brought well within the capacity of a healthy liver.

What You Can Do To Support Optimal Liver Function
  • Take care of your food supply by eating live whole foods free of unnatural chemicals and balanced for nutrients. Pure clean water is also very important.
  • Ensure an adequate intake of minerals. Most soils and consequently, the foods grown on them are depleted. A complete sea-salt helps here.
  • Eat for your blood type, especially if you have any food sensitivity issues or allergies. Respect your metabolic type and any other relevant personal traits.
  • Manage stress, especially when you realize you are showing signs of frustration, anger, rage or depression. Bitterness and holding of grudges will make themselves manifest in the gallbladder.
  • Optimize your digestion by minimizing fermentation and putrefaction in the digestive tract. Maintain an optimal, active microflora population in both the small and large intestines. As well, keep intestinal inflammation to a minimum by eating appropriate foods and watching your moods while eating.
  • Ensure regular elimination of wastes from the body by having a minimum of one good bowel movement daily. Take care as well to consume adequate amounts of water, which is essential to keep stools soft and support optimal urine production and perspiration.
  • An adequate intake of fiber assists in the binding and transportation of toxins in the bowel as well as improving elimination. Not only that - but fiber optimizes blood lipid levels.
  • Proper exercise increases the flow of blood and lymph. It also stimulates evacuation of the bowels and causes the diaphragm to move, increasing liver blood flow. Exercise boosts perspiration as well as air movement through the lungs, both of these being ways that we remove blood-borne toxins.
  • Use HepatoDR™, one of the most well known and effective herbal combinations in St. Francis Herb Farm’s line of finely crafted products.

The Importance of HepatoDR™ (Milk Thistle Combo) for the Health of the Liver

HepatoDR™ is an outstanding formula with striking and proven benefits as a liver restorative and detoxifier. Its ingredients include Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Globe Artichoke, Oregon Grape, Wild Yam, and Culver’s Root. The healing, regenerative properties of these plants are confirmed not only by hundreds of years of traditional use, but also by modern clinical and laboratory work. Take milk thistle, the principal ingredient, for example. Its beneficial effects on the liver have long been recognized in Western herbal medicine. German physician-herbalist Rudolf F. Weiss relates that, “In cases of chronic hepatitis of all types, there is an improvement in the general condition within the first two weeks of treatment.”1 The medicinally active constituent of milk thistle is a group of flavanolignans called silymarin, which includes the formulation of liver cell proteins that are then incorporated in the cell wall rendering it stronger and more resistant to toxins. Milk thistle is also used to treat fatty liver and toxic overload to the liver arising from alcohol and substance abuse, pharmaceutical drugs, and the ingestion of chemically saturated food and water. These restorative, protective properties of the milk thistle are complemented and reinforced in a specific way by each of the rest of the herbs. Their elegant, concerted interaction gives HepatoDR™ a unique therapeutic synergy and an unrivalled effectiveness.

1 R.F. Weiss. Herbal medicine, 6th edition, Gothenburg (Sweden): AB Arcanum; 1988, p. 83.

The information herein is distilled from Trust Your Gut, Dr. Anthony Godfrey’s forthcoming book on an area of health that has become critical in our modern day – the gastrointestinal system. A renowned practitioner of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Godfrey began his career as a veterinary surgeon in his native England. In the late 1960’s he moved to the United States, where he took a doctorate in human anatomy at U.C.L.A., followed by further advanced research in biology at Harvard. In 1990, he became o Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Since then he has operated a highly-regarded family practice in Toronto, as well as teaching at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Dr. Godfrey’s abiding concern has been to open people’s awareness to the healing power of nature. Both Deep Immunity, his book on the deep immune system, and the soon to be published Trust Your Gut, reflect his life-long quest to understand human health and find more effective solutions to the experience of human suffering.

Information on this web site was obtained from a variety of resources, including medical and nutritional publications and is provided for educational purposes only. The information on this site is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals. Consult your practitioner before beginning or making changes to your diet, supplements, exercise program, diagnosis or treatment of illness or injuries and for advice regarding medications. Statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.