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The Liver

The most overworked organ in the body

The liver's multiple functions:

  • producing bile to emulsify fats for digestion
  • making and breaking down many hormones, including
    • cholesterol
    • testosterone
    • estrogens
  • regulating blood sugar levels
  • getting rid of nitrogenous wastes
  • processing
    • all that enters the bloodstream
      • food
      • nutrients
      • alcohol
      • drugs
      • and anything else
    • by
      • letting it pass
      • breaking it down
      • or storing it

"In our culture, the job of neutralizing environmental pollution inside the body is no small task — one which the liver never evolved to handle." (Lipski, p. 50.)

Porphryinopathy / Porphyrinuria

In the past several years attention has focused in the MCS community on the P450 enzymes which the liver uses to detoxify substances. Inherited defects in this system are called Porphyria; but there is precedent for defects from toxic exposure: lead being the classic one. Mercury (for example from dental amalgams) may prove to be another major one (see Mercury Mercury Links, as well as my working notes on Mecury Poisoning.)

Tests for such defects are incomplete and not necessarily conclusive but many suffering from MCS have tested positive.

So far the best sources of information on the subject are

The liver can lose as much as 70% of its functioning before tests for liver disease will show positive indications. (Lipski, p. 50.) For more about the liver in general, here are some suggestions.

Liver dysfunction in general

When I started asking doctors to consider porphyrin disorder in treating me, I could find none who were familiar enough with it to be comfortable treating it. So I started asking them simply to consider how well my liver was functioning, generally. This yielded more interesting avenues of investigation.

One major clue that my liver is not doing a good job of detoxification, was realizing that whatever the path of entry of an irritant into my bloodstream, I was reacting in the same way to it. Whether I was trapped in traffic behind a smelly truck, ate garlic, or walked a quarter mile, I had the same symptoms (Details here). Exercise creates chemical by-products which the liver has to break down, the same as it has to break down the chemicals in food and things we inhale.

Indeed, when my nutritionist gave me some supplements which help the liver break down and excrete undesireable substances, two of them gave me subtantial help. The third, I started to react to. This is a clue to what system in my liver is damaged, and I am currently pursuing it. My working notes are here.

© Copyright Catherine Holmes Clark, 1999, 2000. Last updated 17 November 2000