After a long winter, the warm embrace of Spring is a welcome change of pace. Just as we have been in hibernation, so has the element of wood. After shedding its leaves and settling in for the winter, wood is now rousing from rest and ready to start anew.
In traditional Chinese medicine, wood is strongly tied to liver function. So March, the first month of Spring, is a synchronistic time to focus on your liver health. Let’s talk about some simple ways that you can nurture health and vitality in your liver this month.
You may have heard the terms “methyl donor” or “methylation” in relation to healthy liver function, but what exactly do these terms mean?
Let’s start at the beginning — what is a methyl group? The term methyl group refers to an arm of a cellular structure that includes 3 hydrogens and 1 carbon atom. These methyl groups are found on various substances and may or may not be a considered a “methyl donor.” If a compound with a methyl group is able to donate that group, it is called a donor. Not all substances with a methyl group are capable of donating.
Those that are able of donating the methyl group are engaging in the act of “methylation.” Methylation simply refers to the act of donating a methyl group. TMG and MSM supplements donate methyl groups to the liver, promoting detoxification and overall health. The liver, along with muscles, is a central location for methyl group metabolism (1). Studies have proven that supplementing a diet with powerful methyl donors can reduce fatty liver (2). Some side effects observed from a diet low in methyl donors include decreased energy metabolism, altered protein synthesis in the liver, fatty liver disease and muscle disorders.
Vegans and vegetarians especially need to be aware of the amount of methyl groups in their diet, as meats are the primary source of methyl-donating amino acids like methionine (3).
Raw Revelations Liver Protocol
Our recommended protocol for liver rejuvenation is simple and effective. It includes starting the day with a combination of our MSM Morning Mix and TMG or Beet Juice Powder. The addition of turmeric liquid before every meal will stimulate bile production. Top it all off with sunflower lecithin in a shake or smoothie each day. These 3 simple steps will start you on a path to optimal liver health. Let’s take a closer look at each of these supplements and how they can benefit your liver function.
TMG stands for Trimethylglycine, also called betaine. It is an incredible methyl donor. Ours is derived from non-GMO beets and contains the amino acid glycine with 3 methyl groups to donate. The methyl groups function to enhance detoxification capacity and energy production. They can break down homocysteine, which can be dangerous in excess, into methionine. The glycine plays a key role in collagen production (4). The combination of these elements may also support the nervous system. Betaine has proven effectively protective against damages in the liver tissue caused by severe heart failure (4).
An alternative to TMG is our Beet Juice Powder, which is a blood building powerhouse. Our formulation is made with organic freeze-dried beets. Beets are naturally rich in TMG and contain additional bioactive compounds, including betalains, and polyphenols, which promote liver health (5).
This is our signature energizing drink mix. We call it such, because the morning is the optimal time to get healthy nutrients in and get a healthy start to your day. As the body finishes up its nightly healing and repair, the morning is a time when we are sluggish, inflamed and dehydrated. The first thing it needs is liquid nourishment to hydrate, cleanse, and soothe the cells and deliver nutrients that encourage ATP production, stable blood sugar, and long-term, sustainable energy.
This mix is composed of organic sulfur (MSM), exotic superfruits, and botanicals rich in Vitamin C, polysaccharides, antioxidants, minerals and alkaloids that promote detoxification and hydration. This relationship of sulfur-containing amino acids to liver disease was established almost a century ago and studies continue to prove that sulfur is essential for optimal liver health (6). The sulfur in this mix is an essential component of ATP production, the main energy source of our body. The sulfur promotes permeability of the cell membrane, allowing cell nutrients to enter cells and waste to leave cells.
Inflammation is often regarded as something to get rid of, but the real culprit of chronic disease is unbalanced inflammation. Healthy inflammation serves an important function in our bodies, and a healthy amount of inflammation helps us fight disease and promotes immunity. MSM Morning Mix supports these healthy levels of inflammation. This in turn supports joint health, liver function, digestion, immunity, and brain health.
Our MSM Morning Mix also contains Schisandra, a type of berry that has been used for centuries to promote health. It promotes naturally radiant skin, optimal brain function and sexual vitality. It acts as an anti-inflammatory to keep inflammation levels balanced. Recent research has shown that it optimizes the liver’s detoxifying functions, especially those with a history of substance abuse. In addition to being a part of our MSM Morning Mix, we offer a Schisandra Blend so you can take full advantage of its incredible healing potential.
Our newest formulation of turmeric liquid is infused with bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly enriched raw honey along with ginger and black pepper for maximum absorption. Turmeric is one of the most researched medicinal herbs, with study after study proving its preventative and healing potential. It has numerous health-promoting benefits, but when it comes to liver function, it is especially helpful in removing toxins from the liver, boosting bile production, and aiding in liver regeneration. Studies have demonstrated turmeric’s ability to protect the liver from chronic disease by suppressing oxidative stress in the liver (7). Therefore, turmeric may be a potential therapy in treating liver disease.
Our Sunflower Lecithin is derived from non-GMO sunflower seeds, not from soy as many other lecithins on the market are. Lecithin is an abundant source of phosphatidylcholine, which is an essential precursor to choline. Choline, which is part of the B vitamin family, promotes health of the nervous, reproductive, musculoskeletal and brain systems. It also is a powerful methyl donor, essential for detoxification in the liver. Dietary lecithin has been shown to protect against liver disease (8) and plays an important role in treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (9).
As with any supplementation regimen, it is important that you pair it with good nutrition that will support your health goals. Lucky for us, Mother Nature has provided us with an abundance of foods rich in methyl donating compounds. Nutrients to look for include methionine, folate, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, choline. Excellent sources of these nutrients include:
- Legumes like beans, chickpeas and lentils
- Leafy greens
- Grass-fed beef
- Sunflower seeds
- Fish, like sardines
- Brazil nuts
- Brown rice
The transition into Spring is a wonderful time to evaluate your liver health and start taking action to heal and sustain health in your liver. Take advantage of the synchronistic timing of March. You can jump right into our entire recommended protocol, or start small with one or two of the suggested healing supplements.