Good balance is driven by a healthy liver.

Lunch Hour Lesson #49

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Can you stand on one leg and put your shoes on? Can you walk in a straight line easily, with one foot right in front of the other?

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If so, great! You have good balance. If not, let’s talk about detoxification.

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Most people think balance is something that involves a lot of practice or strength. And yes, those things help, but the primary driver of good balance is neurological clarity promoted by a healthy and unburdened liver.

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Just think about what happens when a person is pulled over when suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. If a person has been drinking alcohol, his or her liver is burdened by the added stress of having to process and clear the alcoholic beverage from the system.

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The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) consists of three distinct components, two of which involve balance.

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One is the Walk and Turn, where the person must take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line, turn on one foot, and then return in the same manner in the opposite direction.

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The second is the One-Leg Stand, in which the person is asked to stand with one foot about six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. Possible impairment is indicated by swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping, or putting the foot down.

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Both of these tasks are determined to be “easily done” by most people unimpaired by drinking alcohol.

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Now, close your eyes and try it again with your eyes closed. An unimpaired person shouldn’t have trouble with this.

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How did you do? If you had a hard time with the eyes open One-Leg Stand, your balance is significantly impaired. If you had a hard time with eyes closed, it is moderately impaired.

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But if you’re not under the influence of alcohol, why is this difficult? Because alcohol isn’t the only thing that can impair liver function and cause balance problems. Diet and lifestyle factors like eating out a lot, not getting enough sleep, and consuming sugar on a daily basis all put a significant burden on the liver to stay functioning properly.

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And as a person gets older, liver function can become more and more impaired, to the point that balance issues become dangerous when falling down and breaking bones is a real possibility.

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I have noticed my own balance and performance on the One-Leg Stand improve significantly over the years that I have been working to become healthier. This balance improvement has also come with less brain fog and a greater ability for me to focus and make decisions.

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If your detoxification and elimination pathways are working optimally, your balance will improve, but detoxification is a daily task, not a seasonal cleanse. It means eating a nutrient-dense diet, balancing blood sugar, eating healthy fats (not vegetable oils), drinking enough water, optimizing your mineral intake, and getting enough sleep. It is work, but it is so worth it.

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Try the eyes open and eyes closed One-Leg Stand periodically as you work to improve your health to monitor your progress!

Weekend Tip

Perform the One-Leg Stand balance test (eyes open and then with eyes closed) and ask others in your family to do it with you. It is fun and informative!

Lunch Hour Lesson #49: Detoxification and the Balance Test

Posted by Allison Mädl Nutritional Therapy and Education on Wednesday, October 16, 2019