Liver and Anxiety

Posted by: konnor

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Two immediate things are bothering me at the moment, mainly because I don't fully understand how they integrate into my overall health problems and whats going on behind the scenes. 

 Liver ache

 This is symptom is rather annoying. It manifests as a dull ache just under rib cage on the right hand side. There are times when it aches less however I've not noticed any regularity towards that suggests a dietary/lifestyle change might help. So far Milk thistle has done didly squat.

There is a likely to be an indirect link, either from adrenal fatigue or candida, or prehaps just stress. Using my completely unscientific brain, it probably follows that a build up of toxins is hard on the liver, which can occur when they body is compremised as in adrenal fatigue and/or candida. 

 Despite this my bowell movements are relatively good, 2 a day usually. The quality on the other hand is poor and they are typically creamy and absolutely stink. I consume bucket loads of green veg a day so I don't think fiber is the issue, however it might be worth noting down the grams of fiber I consume in a typical day. 

I guess it's possible its a hang up from my high carbohydrate days, therefore hypoglycemia, therefore high insulin levels. That spiralled me into exhaustion and it probably wouldnt be too far fetched to see that the liver is struggling as well.

I'm stumped on this one. I'm not going to attempt a 'liver flush' in my fagile state, especially because of my hypoglycemia. I may try a different tonic of herbs and vitamins/minerals but have no idea what might help

 Nervousness. fear, excitability

All these attributes can be grouped together under brain fog, anxiety, always feeling on edge and a compromised stress response.

This is really tough to deal with, and I'm going to make it my focus to relax, and not trigger the fight or flight response so often. Its frustrating knowing that each surge of needless adrenaline is probably further aggrevating your condition.

The 2 instances where I have struggled with this is getting a car and buying some long term shares. 

 Shares as you probably know involved money, and we are all by nature through our culture inclined to have an emotional attachment to money. Win a lot of money and your mood elavates to abnormally high levels, loose alot and depression sets in. For someone in my position the elevation or decline can stay with me for days, often weeks, and you can physically feel the adrenaline permanantly sloshing round your body. Not nice.

 And so a long term investment in shares is tricky. It was a completely rational, sensible decision with an amount of money I can afford to loose, yet keeping my off it is almost impossible. It's not even likely to fluctuate much for years and is very much a long term thing.

 I can't be angry at myself for thinking it, but instead try to forget about it by not constantly checking the price. I'm sure I will settle eventually. I was hoping to 'paper trade' (trading with fake money), for a few months to potentially earn a second income, but even though it's fake, there is still an unhealthy element of emotional attachment, and therefore excitability about making money further down the line.

The reason for getting involved with stocks and shares? To continue to fund my health costs and to have a lump saved up for a battery of tests and appointments in the future should I need them. There is certainly no alterior motive such as fast cars or nice houses. 

The second instance where excitability and nervousness plays apart is in the purchase of a new car. Not only is it exciting to buy one, but it's also nerve wracking to drive one, again amplified by the compromised state I am in. 

On face value this would appear to be detrimental to my health, but I believe it will be something worth ploughing through. I have problems with an addictive personality and being a compulsive thinker. I believe this contributed to my exhaustion both mentally and physically, manifesting as a carbohydrate addiction with a  perfectionist mentality. As I'm now relatively immobile, I unfortunately continue to feed the addictive nature I have by spending long periods of time in front of a screen, therefore stimulating my brain and adrenals constantly. It's created a loop which really needs to be broken.

It seems so strange that I find this the hardest part to helping my health. I quiet happily devote alot of time throughout the day getting good quality food in me at the right times along with supplements yet I fail to address the psychological aspect, often allowing myself to spend time in front of the computer after work as a way of relaxing.

 Well things need to change, and now I have a car and I can go and do whatever I want. I hope to ease myself into guitar lessons, language lessons, tai chi and possibly meditation every week and to make a committment to stick to it. My active brain so often gets bored and is unable to see the bigger picture.

 Anywho I'm rambling and should take my own advice and calm down.

Here's to good health. 





Comments (9)Add Comment
written by Matthew Hogg, August 31, 2009

As someone who experiences these symptoms myself and is also 2/3 of the way through a bachelor's degree in nutritional therapy (which uses functional testing labs) I am very familiar with your situation.

The fact your stools are creamy and stink gives two likely options - celiac disease or Candida/gut dysbiosis. Creamy and stinky stools are an indication that they contain a large amount of fat which means you have malabsorption problems. This suggests a lack of bile (maybe due to liver toxicity) and inflammation of the intestines. I would have celiac blood tests run but from your other symptoms you have shared I would suggest Candida/gut dysbiosis is the likely crux of your problem.

The main toxins from Candida are alcohol and acetaldehyde - alcohol being the leading cause of liver disease, so there is a clear link. Damage to the liver from Candida toxins would cause inflammation which you are feeling as pain/aching below your right ribcage. I assume from "creamy" stools you also mean they are light in colour? This can be a sign the liver is not functioning efficienctly and is producing insufficient bile. Stools are turned their usual dark brown colour by the action of gut bacteria on bilirubin (a breakdown product of red blood cells and component of bile).

Your anxiety and other mood symptoms are likely a direct result of both circulating Candida toxins which poison the nervous system (make it more sensitive) and adrenal fatigue - caused by Candida, liver toxicity, and resulting nutritional deficiencies. With a poorly functioning liver all manner of other toxins can also poison the brain e.g. ammonia, homocysteine etc.

I see you are in the finance game and I don't think it would be a high risk punt to say you and I are in very similar situations - which is not a good position to be in for either of us I'm afraid!

I do have a few suggestions I am confident will help you with the liver issues however. First of all switch from milk thistle to a herb called tribulus terrestris. It is not well known for its liver aiding qualities but believe me it is excellent. It has been shown to raise glutathione (the liver's master antioxidant and detoxifier) in clinical studies and also increases bile production and excretion. It should make your stools look a lot healthier and also reduce or eliminate the liver pain - and quickly too. As an added bonus tribulus also helps well-being and stress and the symptoms of adrenal fatigue so is the perfect all-rounder for people like us. Second I'd suggest you get a digestive enzyme supplement containing lipase (fat-digesting enzyme). The extra bile from taking tribulus should help fat digestion but lipase will make sure! Neither are expensive.

Let us know if you do try these and how you get on!
written by Matt, September 01, 2009
Thanks Maff,

Good comments as always.

I've avoided gluten for a long time now so wouldn't expect this to be the source of the aggrevation.

Yes my stools are pale, occasionally with a slightly green tint, although this seems to only be the case when I've eaten alot of certain green vegetables.

Are you sure Tribulus Terrestris is a suiatble option? It would appear it's normal use is to increase hormone levels to increase sexual performance and build muscle, both of which would be detrimental to me at the moment. Can you recommened a supplier? UK suppliers seem to mainly be bodybuilding shops, which I'd prefer not to shop from.

I do take a digestive enzyme containing lipase with each meal, except my evening 2 meals as I avoid all supplements from 6 onwards (except any that aid with sleep). As I have 6 meals a day, 6 a day seems quite excessive, although if they are perfectly safe for long term use and unstimulatory I could add them to my evening meals as well.

written by Denise Belgacem, September 01, 2009
Interesting, what would you class as a normal stool?
I go once a day at approx the same time after my morning coffee, I think I eat healthly, but know I need to avoid certain food with my underactive thyroid. I only get 30 minutes for lunch and 6 meals a day would be impossible for me. But would be intersted in trying anything which helps. At the moment I feel good but I want to stay that way. Denise
written by Babs, September 01, 2009
Hi...reading this...I'd say that with mcs, you need to take it slow. Milk thistle is excellent for the liver and is not for "body building" per se. Its inclusion into those body building formulas are probably added as a protective antioxidant for the liver. It is not a stimulant, it is stabilizing. The thing about mcs and cfs and myalgicencephalites syndromes are to remove all offending foods, chemicals, etc...from your environment as much as possible. To keep to gentle organic foods, soups, slowly clear the liver and blood naturally. Assist your digestion as you have been with the digestive enzymes. Take each season in due course. Using gentle herbs to support a natural cleansing process...milk thistle, dandelion greens, burdock root, beets, leafy greens, marrow soup, chicken soup, soup broths...warm water and lemon, with pinch of cayenne pepper.
Saunas, soaking in epsom salts, skin brushing etc.
I have found for myself and clients...that this process overtime with varying changes and stimulations, calming measures changes the internal system,improves the blood cells, heals the liver, removes toxins, builds a stable base.
My personal experience having mcs is that eventually I feel stable and I am still sensitive to chemicals. I now think it is a healthy response to toxic/fumes. Perfumes, soaps still smell like insecticide and cause dizzyness, fatigue, mental fog and irritation, exhaution. The way through is not without reactions...and feeling bad as detoxification of the liver can kick out chemicals, heavy metals into the blood stream. You have to continually assist the detoxification pathways for elimination ie urination, sweat, digestion, stools elimination. Drink pure water. Good luck...
written by Matthew Hogg, September 01, 2009
Konnor - tribulus is advertised as a body building supplement on the assumption that it increases testosterone. The evidence for this is limited at best however. The only half decent study that is ever cited found a slight increase in testosterone levels only in men already LOW in the hormone. My experience is that it brings on a sense of well-being and increases stress resistance - so in fact it might be perfect for you. It's not stimulating, the opposite if anything. I can't recommend a UK supplier I'm afraid as I get all my supplements from in the US. Lipase shouldn't cause any problems for you if you take it with every meal. I presume your meals are smaller than regular meals though so maybe take smaller than recommended amounts of lipase as well. If you try tribulus stick to the manufacturers recommendations - usually no more than 1500mg/day.

Denise - Healthy stools should be dark brown in colour, a good consistency (formed but relatively soft), easy to pass, and contain no signs of undigested food or fat. They should also not smell too bad.

Babs - Thanks for your input, all great advice that everyone here could benefit from. Just out of interest, what type of sauna do you use? A regular sauna you might find at the gym or a far infrared (FIR) model as recommended by many environmental medicine docs?
written by Babs, September 01, 2009
Hi Konnor, I love the far infrared sauna but don't have one...I go to the gym which has a large clean finnish sauna...and drink a lot of pure water and go in and out an really get a sweat going and flush my system. I experience excellent health benefits there. The FIR models penetrate deeper into the cells. I am an acupuncturist and have FIR floor model heat lamps which I use and focus on specific areas of the body.

I really endorse consistent, steady, grounded approaches toward balancing whole human body physiologically and energetically. Keeping in mind supporting the underlying strength and ability of our bodies to heal. Ability of our brains and cells to coordinate and signal productions of healthy hormones, neurotransmitters, chemicals for functioning. Peaceful mind... p.s don't forget
health oils...try different ones...borage, flax, krill, fish oils, cold pressed olive oils, ... very helpful for Liver/GB functioning, and cell wall health...
written by Babs, September 01, 2009
P.S. yes the psyche reactions over adrenal stress/ etc...needs attention as your blog stated. Activate your healing mind perhaps with beautiful music, peaceful thoughts, an empathic therapist, yoga...all these aspects of calm humanity...integrate into lifestyle. When too exhausted or overstimulated...sit with peace...listen to tibetan chants. Breath...oxygenate your body...
just some thoughts hope they're helpful...
written by Matt, September 05, 2009
Thanks for the thoughts all.

I was looking into trying some short infrared sauna sessions. On one hand the removal of toxins this way I assume takes a little load off the liver (?), however when in a state of adreanl fatigue, too aggresive a detox could be detrimental.

I do have a plan and now that I have a car I can finally leave the house more. Staying in and watching TV, movies, computer is only stimulating me further and adds to anxiety - via vivid nightmarish dreams, an inability to calm down before bed and increased brain fog and apathy the next day, often with a sense of addicton that means I need to do it more.

The plan is to try a drop in meditation class (which is 2 hours long! I can barely sit still for 5 minutes!), a half hour guitar lesson once a week and some tai chi, probably on saturday morning to ensure I get off to a peaceful start, rather than a lazy unproductive day. I'll try to phase these in slowly so as not to stress me out.

This is my biggest challenge. The modern world thrives off screen based entertainment, increasingly more integrated in social situations as well. not ideal for someone who already works in IT like myself. Hopefully getting back to state of moderation, such that I can enjoy one off visits to the movies or enjoy TV films with friends, ensuring more of my own time is spent relaxing and less stimulated.

Thanks all,
written by Bz, September 08, 2009
Thanks for the candid description of symptoms konnor. It's kind of rare on the internet where everyone can read what you write but is very informative, and I can identify with a lot of stuff here.

On the Liver Pain, I've had a similar thing although never been quite sure if it is my liver, right kidney, gall bladder or what (it's in the wrong place for a kidney but I have a worrying array of symptoms that coincide with kidney disease). It started a couple of years ago while I was detoxing (which overall was a success for my health), including doing Liver Flushes (the variant described in the Detoxx program). The pain came and went a lot but got so severe at times that I couldn't sleep on my right side. I did get sent for an ultrasound scan about it, but I'd developed some nasty colitis (lots of blood in the wrong places) at the same time so I ended up referred to a gastrointestinal specialist who pretty much ignored the pain and tried to fix the bleeding. Which is fair enough, except he did a bad job of it, made me ten times worse with the erm.. 'probing', and tried to push the ubiquitous steroids on me 6 weeks later by which time I'd competely cured the colitis by removing one thing from my diet.

Anyway I digress, the ultrasound showed nothing except a very shrunken gall bladder - even though I'd followed the not-eating-for-6-hours-before guidelines intended to put the gall bladder in it's relaxed state. The doctor who did the ultrasound was a bit puzzled by it but didn't seem all that alarmed. Since then I've stopped the detoxing (18 months ago) and the pain was basically gone (12 months ago) except the odd day or two where it aches a little. Recently I could feel it a little for a whole week so I went to my doctor and in typical UK NHS fashion he told me to come back in a month when they'd transfered my medical records from the previous GP practice I was with. (I registered with the new practise nearly a year ago after moving from an adjacent town 1.5 miles away, so I guess that's why they're able to do it so quickly!) I'll try to remember to comment again if anything comes of it.

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