Liver Function Case Study:

During the holidays it’s easy to consume foods that aggravate our gut and liver and drink our fair share of alcoholic beverages to celebrate with our families or ring in the new year. Unfortunately, this can all have an impact on our liver function- not too fear these changes are reversible and can return to normal after just a few acupuncture treatments.

The liver is a very important organ in our body that has a variety of jobs. The liver is most well known for excreting bile through which waste gets exported away from the liver and fats are broken down. However, the liver also holds one pint of our body’s blood volume at any given time and is responsible for helping to regulate major chemicals that race through the blood. The liver is responsible for filtering all the blood that comes from the stomach and intestines creating usable nutrients for our body as well as metabolizing any drugs we ingest for easier uptake and to reduce toxicity. The liver is a major player in keeping the immune system optimized by making immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream. These functions can all be impacted by things we enjoy around the holidays, specifically major inflammatory agents like gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol. But, don’t feel guilty about enjoying your favorite holiday treats. East to West Wellness Center can help to counteract all the toxins that gunk up your liver!

Acupuncture aids liver function by helping the body manage systemic inflammation from antagonistic substances like sugar and alcohol and increasing overall circulation, but acupuncture targets liver function directly. Regular acupuncture can actually decrease liver enzymes, when liver enzymes are elevated it shows that the body is working hard to create more bile and to excrete excess waste in the body. Acupuncture can also aid in regulating lipid (including cholesterol!) metabolism in the liver and increase antioxidant levels in liver tissue. One of the therapeutic mechanisms through which acupuncture aids in detoxification is through the reduction of oxidative stress, oxidative stress is the imbalance between free radicals in the body and antioxidants which can result in tissue damage. Studies have proven that acupuncture at certain locations (mostly along the legs and abdomen) can suppress lipid absorption by down regulating the expression of specific proteins in the intestines that lead to dysfunction in the liver when seen in excess. Other studies show the improvement of ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL) and reduction in ‘ bad cholesterol’ (LDL) when e-stim is applied. 

Anna Craddock, Student of Acupuncture

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