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  • Writer's pictureMarcie Vaske, MS, LN, CNS

Can An Inflamed Liver Cause Gut Issues?

Updated: Apr 26

Video Transcript:

Oftentimes when we think of our digestive system, we may think of our stomach or our intestinal tract or even our gallbladder, but there is an organ that is oftentimes overlooked, and that's our liver.

But what we need to understand is that our liver and our gut are closely in connection to one another.

And while we might think of our liver as an organ that just helps to detox toxins out of our blood, we need to understand the connection between our gut health and our liver.

So today I'm going to talk about or answer the question rather, can an inflamed liver cause gut issues?

So first, before we dig into the rest of our topic, I just want to introduce myself. My name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a licensed nutritionist with Flusso Nutrients. At Flusso Nutrients, we work really hard to educate you on supplements, giving you more information so that you can make an educated choice for yourself.

And just as a side note, be sure that if you have questions about supplements that you talk to a supplement literate practitioner, being sure that it's not contraindicating with any of your medications you may be on or even other supplements you may be taking. So with outdo, let's jump into our topic.

So let's dig back into our topic. And before we get into the liver and gut connection, it's important to understand really the significance of having optimal gut health.

Gut Issues / Optimize Your Gut

So we know that our digestive system plays a critical role in breaking down our foods, also absorbing our nutrients, and of course eliminating waste products.

And if this is functioning very well for you, you have no issues at all. But if it is not, then that's where the troubles seem to lie.

And some of those troubles may look like or feel like bloating or gas or constipation or diarrhea, and often or can lead to irritable bowel syndrome or even IBD.

And gut issues can really expand into many different areas of your entire gut. You may feel like you have acid reflux, so otherwise known as GERD, which you're going to have that heartburn feeling. Or maybe you don't digest your food very well.

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You could also have things like gastritis where the lining of your stomach is inflamed and irritated.

Also, what I mentioned a moment ago is irritable bowel syndrome.

So a poor gut health can look and feel like irritable bowel syndrome where you have a lot of symptoms, but there's no real underlying cause.

Oftentimes with irritable bowel syndrome, it can be created from just chronic stress alone or even food sensitivities.

So understanding how your gut is working is going to get you to having a healthier gut in general.

So now to answer that question:

Can an inflamed liver cause gut issues?

And of course it can because as I mentioned earlier, it plays a critical role in our digestive system. One of the main functions of our liver in our digestive system is that it creates bile and then that bile gets stored in our gallbladder.

Bile is something that helps us to break down our fats that we consume as well as other toxins.

Now of course, our liver can be busy making bile as well as getting rid of toxins from our bloodstream, and that's what we think of the liver really does the most.

So as you can see, this close connection to the liver and the gut. Therefore, if your liver becomes inflamed, you can have some digestive upset from that. Oftentimes, if we have liver inflammation going on, that is called hepatitis.

Hepatitis can be caused from a myriad of things. It can be caused from medications, it can be caused from too many supplements or the wrong kind of supplements. That's why we always talk about making sure you talk to a practitioner about those.

Also, an inflamed liver can result from a viral infection, excessive alcohol consumption. So all in all, if our liver is inflamed, then it's going to slow down or compromise the detoxification process of the liver as well as its ability to form and make bile for us.

Therefore, you have those digestive issues that might show up as well as some of those digestive issues showing up.

Something else that can happen is that you may create or your body may form gallbladder stones or gallstones, and what happens is that the bile ducts get clogged because the bile becomes too thick and therefore stones are formed.

So an inflamed liver can really cascade into many different areas in our digestive system.

Poor Liver Function Symptoms

If you have an impaired gallbladder from gallstones or sluggish bile, oftentimes you're going to feel like you're going to be more bloated.

You might have some of that acid reflux happening.

You could also have less absorption of your nutrients and minerals and you may have more burping indigestion, and of course you may see fatty stools.

So now we can understand that connection between our liver and gut.

And you might be thinking, okay, well how do I really know if I have an inflamed liver or if I just have other gastrointestinal things going on?

There are some signs and symptoms to watch for if you have an inflamed liver.

One of 'em is that you might feel really fatigued, feeling excessively fatigued that might be created from having that inflamed liver.

Another symptom could be jaundice and jaundice is just the yellowing of our skin, or you can see it in your eyes as well as you might have pale stools.

Now, an inflamed liver can also feel like abdominal pain and you might have some tenderness or pain in your upper right quadrant, right under your rib cage if that's tender.

If you're feeling like you have shooting pains up there, just like an overall ache, that could definitely be an inflamed liver.

Another symptom could be swelling. So you could have swelling in your abdomen, you may have swelling in your legs. You could also see it all the way down to your ankles.

The next sign of an inflamed liver could be nausea or vomiting.

So you just kind of feel sick to your stomach all the time, or you happen to be vomiting more often.

And of course you'll see a change in your bowel movements.

So you may have more fatty stools, often pale stools, and this is just an indication that your liver may be inflamed.

So of course if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and you're kind of questioning that it could be a liver issue going on, I always recommend talking to a healthcare practitioner to help sort that out and make sure that it's nothing more serious.

So now we've gone through what having a healthy digestive system would be like if it's a poor digestive system, what symptoms you may have.

Also, the connection between the liver and gut and how that is impacted on your digestive system and what an inflamed liver looks like or may just feel like.

And so the question next to answer is, well, what do I do about it?

Diet For Inflamed Liver

If my liver's inflamed, what can I do for some active next steps?

And number one would be increasing your fiber intake and making sure that you're getting plenty of vegetables and fruits and some of those grains that can help to promote more fiber in your diet.

You don't have to go wild and have an extremely high fiber diet, but just having that proper fiber intake can help to regulate stools and keep things moving through properly.

I always think of fiber as kind of like a little brush, just kind of brushing through our whole intestinal track.

Another thing you can do is make sure that you're choosing to eat good proteins.

Adding in some chicken or Turkey or fish is always going to be helpful because protein breaks down into amino acids.

And those amino acids are our building blocks for tissue.

It helps to repair all the tissues in our body, so it helps to keep our digestive system strong, our liver healthy, our gallbladder healthy, and also protein helps to increase our enzymatic production in our stomach so that we can also help absorb, breakdown and absorb our minerals and vitamins.

Now of course, if you're adding in more of those good foods I talked about with fruits and vegetables, grains and healthy proteins, you're not going to have a lot of room for the next category, which is get rid of processed foods.

Processed foods are just going to be inflammatory in general throughout your entire body, not just for your liver, but processed foods often contain damaged fats and high fructose corn syrup.

And so when those things are together, that's just like a little bomb going off in your body, right?

You're just increasing inflammation.

So decreasing the amount of processed and packaged foods is going to be beneficial overall.

Hydration for a Sore Liver

And another thing you can do is also make sure you're hydrated.

Drinking water is so important, and I know I talk about water and diet in nearly every single video I am on here, but I think it's so critical and something sometimes we sort of take for granted or we just don't think about.

But hydration is going to help to keep stool softer, keep your toxins from getting rid of in your body. It just helps every single system in our body.

And if you feel like you're at a loss and you're just like, I don't know if it's an inflamed liver, I don't know what to eat, you can always work with myself at Oswald Digestive Clinic to help you get on a better, more sustainable diet that's going to be specific to you and help to keep your digestive system running properly, including keeping your liver not inflamed.

And of course, just to add on to the things that you can do to help reduce liver inflammation is going to be lifestyle things.

Exercise for a Sore Liver

So doing some exercise. It doesn't need to be some major formal exercise every day, but moving your body, going for a walk.

If you can't do that because it's too cold out or you don't want to walk up and down the stairs in your house or walk around your house, just move.

Exercise is going to help your body stay active in the way of keeping your heart healthy, your vascular system healthy. And when we're sweating and kind of working all that out, we're also helping our liver.

Reducing Stress to Improve a Sore Liver

We get rid of those toxins that it's working so hard to keep out of our body as well. You want to make sure you can manage your stress. Oftentimes in our society and culture, stress can be really high from family to work to just any of those things that are happening in our life.

If our stress is too high, then that can create a lot of gut issues like I talked about earlier. And it also kind of impairs our liver because it sort of shuts down that detox process or just slows it down.

And so exercise, managed stress, obviously avoiding alcohol. If you have an inflamed liver, alcohol is definitely going to be a toxin when it comes to liver, and that's where it has to come out.

So if you drink it, it has to go through the liver and that's never going to be very helpful for a liver inflammation scenario.

Improve Sleep to help Heal a Sore Liver

And lastly, another last lifestyle type thing to keep in mind is going to be sleep.

Making sure you get enough sleep, he's sleeping that seven to eight hours a night and just feeling restful so that you can wake up the next day, feel less stressed because you've slept, you make better food choices and you have the energy to maybe do some movement.

And in addition to making dietary changes as well as some of those lifestyle changes, if you want to help support your liver a little bit more, there is supplements that can be really helpful.

It's not that you would be on them for the rest of your life, but sometimes it just helps us get to the next step.

Gut Health Supplements to Support a Sore Liver

And one of those supplements is milk thistle.

Milk thistle is a wonderful herb that helps open up our detoxification pathways and helps to move things out.

There's also turmeric.

And turmeric is a very widely known anti-inflammatory supplement or herb. And so taking a little bit of turmeric can bring down inflammation not only in our liver, but also within our whole body.

After you've thought through this, listen to the whole video, and you're thinking, well, maybe some of these things are connected to my liver, I would encourage you to just take the next step.

Take the next step in changing your diet a little bit, or taking out just processed packaged foods, reducing your alcohol consumption and trying to get some better sleep.

If you really feel like you need more support, maybe one of those supplements might be helpful for you.

All in all, keeping a healthy liver is going to keep a healthy gut.

Thanks for watching.

Supplements we discussed in this video:


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