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  • Writer's pictureKatie Bailey, MS, RD, LD, FNC

Is Your Liver Sluggish? How It Affects Your Gut Health

Updated: Apr 26

Video Transcript:

Hi, everyone. Welcome back. The importance of liver health cannot be overstated.

It's one of the most crucial organs in the body responsible for detoxifying our blood, producing bile, metabolizing drugs and hormones, and storing essential vitamins and minerals just to name a few. If your liver starts to get sluggish, numerous aspects of your health can be compromised, including your gut health.

So in today's video, we'll explore what a sluggish liver is, symptoms to look out for, and the impact that a sluggish liver has on gut health as well as we'll discuss ways in which to improve both your liver and your gut health.

Hi, I am Katie Bailey. I'm a registered dietitian at Flusso Nutrients where we provide supplement education and professional quality supplement options for you in an effort to make the world of nutrition supplements a little bit easier to navigate.

As always, be sure to check with your main nutrition literate healthcare provider before starting anything new. As we can't know your full medical history to create a personalized recommendation. So without further ado, let's jump into today's topic.

The liver and the gut are intricately connected and depend on one another to function optimally, the liver produces bile, which is essential for helping us break down the fat in our diets and also aids in digestion. Additionally, the liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying toxins from the body, and if liver is sluggish, it's going to have a harder time to detoxify effectively, which is going to lead to a buildup of toxins in the body and the gut.

This buildup of toxins can then lead to inflammation and can actually damage the gut lining. Damage to the gut lining can cause leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, where undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins can all leak into the bloodstream and start to cause health problems.

This also goes both ways in which if the gut is compromised, leading to things like we just mentioned, leaky gut, then that can cause an excess amount of bacteria and toxins to flow into the bloodstream, which then travels to the liver and can cause the liver to be stressed and inflamed.

So what exactly is a sluggish liver?

Well, a sluggish liver is a term that is used when your liver is not functioning optimally, and this can lead to further complications if not addressed. Unfortunately, this is becoming quite popular with poor diets, lack of exercise, and excessive exposure to toxins.

When your liver is sluggish, it's not going to be able to filter out toxins, process nutrients, and regulate hormones as efficiently as it should. This can lead to a buildup of toxins in the system, causes inflammation, and in some cases can result in damage to the liver cells.

So what are signs that your liver is struggling?

While recognizing symptoms of a sluggish liver can be difficult as they do mimic other health conditions.

However, some common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, bloating, and skin issues like acne or rashes.

More severe symptoms include yellowing of the eyes in the skin, dark urine, and abdominal pain.

It's important to remember that these symptoms can be signs of other conditions as well.

So if you're experiencing these symptoms, it's important to work with a medical professional so they can help you determine if you're actually experiencing a sluggish liver or something else.

So does your liver affect the gut?

And the answer is yes.

Because the liver is responsible for producing bile, a sluggish liver can lead to a reduction in bile production. This reduction can lead to difficulties in digesting fat and absorbing essential nutrients, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and digestive problems.

Bile also interacts with our gut microbiome, helping the absorption of nutrients as well as influencing the type of bacteria that thrive in the gut. In regards to detoxification, the liver filters harmful toxins that may originate from the gut.

The liver transforms these substances into a non-toxic form that can then be excreted through the bile into the gut, or through urination.

This process then protects the gut from these toxic substances that could disrupt the gut microbiome or damage the intestinal lining.

Some questions that we get are, can a weak liver cause digestive problems and does a bad liver give you gas?

Yes. Like I mentioned before, a sluggish liver has a difficulty time producing bile efficiently, and a lack of bile can cause malabsorption issues and in turn, difficulty absorbing nutrients.

You may see your stools be more greasy or contain more mucus. They could be foul smelling.

You may also see that they're light in color, and this is due to the lack of bile in the stool, and malabsorption of nutrients can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas, and bloating.

A bad or a sluggish liver can give you gas because of not being able to break down your food properly.

The big question that everyone's interested in is how do you fix gut and liver health?

The good news is that a sluggish liver can be prevented and treated with lifestyle modifications as well as supplements.

In general, a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and limiting our exposure to toxins and excessive alcohol can all help prevent a sluggish liver.

Beneficial herbs to include include things like milk thistle, turmeric, and dandelion, as these can all help decrease inflammation in the liver and enhance the liver's detoxification pathways.

Foods that are beneficial for liver health include our cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and these all help support detoxification.

Our bitter greens like arugula and mustard greens, cilantro and parsley, beets and healthy fats like chia seeds, flax seeds, and fish are all also very supportive to the liver.

A diet high in fiber in the adequate consumption of water can help support both the liver and the gut by helping to eliminate waste and toxins from the body as well as feed the good bacteria in the gut.

Now, it's important to remember that excess alcohol can cause liver inflammation and impair its ability to properly filter out toxins. Also, processed foods and excess sugar can cause inflammation as well as lead to the buildup of fatty deposits on the liver.

In conclusion, the liver is a vital organ that can become sluggish with a poor diet, lacking in essential nutrients, excessive exposure to toxins and stress.

A sluggish liver can lead to problems with digestion and detoxification and can significantly impact our overall health.

By ensuring your liver is functioning properly and adopting liver supporting habits, you can keep your liver in optimal condition and improve your gut health as well.

If you're interested in incorporating a liver supporting supplement to your daily routine, I've linked a quality supplement here.

If you like this video, please hit the like button and subscribe for more nutrition videos. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about gut health or liver health.

Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.

For professional-quality supplements, click here.

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