I started this fast on Friday, and my husband started on Sunday, after he finished off the contents of our fridge. (What a helpful fellow!) Bless his soul, J decided to join me in the apple juice fast to keep me from having to cook and do dishes while I’m not eating. He also said he was curious. Frankly, I am too.
This past spring, my doctor told me he thought I should do a gallbladder/liver cleanse. You know the old olive oil, grapefruit, Epsom salts routine? That’s the one. I had just received the results of a month-long saliva hormone panel. Basically, I spit into a little tube every two days for a month, freezing my spit after each collection, then sent the tubes in for analysis of several hormones. Saliva hormone tests are supposed to be far more accurate than blood tests (despite what many doctors will tell you), and this particular test showed how my hormones were fluctuating over the month.
The results were disappointing, to say the least. I cried after I left his office. My progesterone and estrogen were doing the exact opposite of what they are supposed to do. Both hormones should peak near the middle of the cycle, then taper off toward the end of the month (if I remember correctly, estrogen peaks first, then progesterone). This is what makes a woman ovulate. My estrogen and progesterone both peaked around day 6, bottomed out around day 12 (the center of my cycle), then peaked again around day 18. These results were made even more baffling by the fact that, at the time, I was taking progesterone in the middle of my cycle. Talk about confusing results! The disappointing part was his comment that he didn’t think I was ovulating at all and that he didn’t think I could get pregnant. Even though we were not trying to conceive at the time, I was eagerly looking forward to it. I didn’t take the news very well.
Since my diet was already great, his prescriptions for dealing with the situation included altering my progestrone dosing and cleansing my liver. The liver is responsible for metabolizing hormones, so an improperly running liver can cause hormonal imbalances (like my estrogen dominance, for example). He also thought it might be responsible for the lack of progesterone around the middle of my cycle when I was takingcompounded progesterone. Given my pharmaceutical history, a semi-toxic liver wouldn’t be surprising at all.
Though I pursued another route for balancing my hormones (which I’ll certainly write about soon), I kept the gallbladder/liver cleanse in my mind all these month. Meeting a new friend along the way who is a die-hard fan of the cleanse has only strengthened my resolve. She also introduced me to the apple juice fast leading up to the olive oil, grapefruit juice, and Epsom salts protocol. The lack of fat in the diet helps the bile build up, and the malic acid in the juice soften the gallstones. According to her doctor, this is supposed to make the cleanse more effective. Plus, you get all the benefits of fasting at the same time.
After feeling outrageously stressed out over the past couple of weeks, I knew I needed to slow down. I’ve also been feeling unwell and having nausea (no, it’s not that–I promise). Knowing that nausea is often related to gallbladder problems, and considering that I took a lot of painkillers earlier this month for my wisdom teeth extractions and for a series of awful headaches (probably hormone related), I finally decided to take the plunge and show my liver some love. This week is my last opportunity to do the fast this year. Parties, events, showers, holidays, and school stress will it impossible to do it any later.
I’ll post more details about the cleanse and my thoughts on it later this week. Juice fasting is certainly an unusual experience!
Have you ever done one of these cleanses? What were your results? What else have you done to cleanse or care for your liver?