If you rely on the Internet for information about health and graceful aging, you’ve undoubtedly heard it a thousand times by now: You need to detox your liver to achieve vitality and longevity.
And that’s true, to a degree… except… you’re most likely putting the cart before the horse.
OK, before I explain what’s really going on with your liver, let’s be honest here: The reason so many “gurus” are so hell-bent on selling you that liver detox is because they typically private label these kits then charge upwards of $300 for them. “The best cleanse in the world,” the guru exclaims, the slickster grin strewn from ear to ear.
Well, even the best liver cleanse on the planet won’t fix your issues if… you have small intestine mucosal barrier permeability.
Mucosal barrier permeability. Or, to use another term for the same condition, “leaky gut.”
You see, your liver gets congested for a reason. And the reason given by the all-knowing guru at the anti-aging conference, that “you’re exposed to so many xenoestrogens in the environment that your liver can’t help but get clogged,” is rather absurd.
The real reason your liver gets congested is because of small intestine mucosal barrier permeability — otherwise known as “leaky gut.”
So, what is the mucosal barrier?
It’s a thin layer of finger-shaped structures that line your small intestine. These structures are called villi. Upon those finger-like structures is a layer of cells tightly bound together. This layer is called the epithelium layer. Upon that layer are tiny hair-like structures called microvilli.
When the microvilli become blunted (worn down), or the villi become shunted — when they look as if they’ve been sawed off at the first knuckle — or when the tight bonds between the epithelium cells become porous (leaky gut), we end up with both absorption and uptake issues.
What does this have to do with liver congestion and subsequent detoxification needs???
Here’s how it works. When you eat, your stomach passes mostly digested food onto the small intestine. There, in a healthy gut, the food is broken down further, and nutrients are sent to the liver as an “upload” or “uptake.” In the liver, those nutrients are then filtered into the blood, where they thus scurry about your body, nourishing everything in sight.
HOWEVER, if you’re suffering from intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut” — and some estimates claim as much as 75% of the North American population suffers from some degree of mucosal barrier dysfunction — your food is not being broken down completely, and what is sent as “uptake” to the liver includes various antigens; these are everything from food particles to parasite poop to certain strains of bacteria. And if the blood is supposed to be purified of these elements… and the liver is responsible for the purification of the blood… and, well, you get the idea.
The liver gets overloaded and thus congested. And the tricky thing about this scenario is that leaky gut doesn’t heal itself; if you don’t actively and consciously treat it, the situation typically gets worse and worse, meaning no matter how noble your liver detox intentions might be, it’s all rather pointless until you address the underlying cause: intestinal permeability itself.
What are some of the symptoms of leaky gut? How about bloating, arthritis (including RA), muscle pain (including fibromyalgia), other autoimmune disorders (including MS), headaches (including migraines), fatigue, constipation/diarrhea, adult acne, skin rashes (including eczema and psoriasis), food sensitivities, sleep disturbances, weight gain/weight loss, hormone imbalances, sinus congestion, allergies, asthma, colitis/Crohn’s disease, foggy brain, mood swings, and a slew of other issues.
It should be noted that with intestinal permeability also comes a host of other gut issues, like dysbiosis (microbial imbalance), SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth), candida (yeast overgrowth), parasite infestation, and malnutrition.
Now, what causes leaky gut? A number of things, including poor diet, exposure to toxins, prescription drugs, alcohol abuse, unrecognized gluten sensitivity, external stress, internal trauma, and genetic predisposition, to name a few.
So, how do you know if you have a compromised mucosal barrier (or “leaky gut”)?
Well, you certainly don’t guess. You test! Find yourself a qualified functional nutritionist, and get yourself an intestinal permeability test as soon as possible.
It’s as simple as that.