3 Medically Proven Signs of Liver Detox Working

We can never overstate the importance of your liver. It’s your body’s largest internal organ, performing 500 different functions, including toxin elimination and detoxification.

It’s no surprise that liver detox products or cleanses spring up like mushrooms, making this a hot topic among health-conscious individuals. Many of these liver cleanses claim to: 

  • Reboot liver function after alcohol abuse
  • Boost your metabolism and help you lose weight 
  • Neutralize various toxins and environmental stressors

But the beneficial claims of liver cleanses don’t stop there. A long list of supposed benefits, including having more energy, being more lucid, achieving a better mood, and having improved bowel function, exist after performing a detox. 

Some go as far as stating that such products can treat liver disease. 

Being skeptical about this is only natural. So, does a liver detox work? Are you barking up the wrong tree? Which kind of liver detox can bring tangible benefits to your liver function?

Today we set out to answer these questions and help you separate the wheat from the chaff—in a fact-checked manner. We bring you 3 medically-proven signs of a liver detox working.

But first, let’s break down what we mean by liver detox. 

What Do We Mean By Liver Detox?

A liver detox, cleanse, or flush is a broad term that includes taking herbal supplements and liver detox products. It can also include following a detox diet or a special exercise program. 

It’s touted as an effective means to kickstart your liver after overindulging in food or alcohol. A liver detox does this by neutralizing circulating toxins in your body

Toxins build up in our bodies quite easily—we’re exposed to them incessantly. We take them in via pollutants, cosmetics, industrial products, foods, and meds. In short, they’re everywhere.  

Now get this. Our detoxifying organ can do all the cleansing itself, but our liver’s ability to do this independently is compromised if overloaded, damaged, or diseased.

The problem is there’s no scientific evidence that liver detox products work, especially those marketed as liver detox or weight loss cleanses. These products can also be harmful and should be taken with caution. 

We propose a more comprehensive, long-term health strategy to protect your liver health. 

So, what do we mean by a proper cleanse? We mean a holistic approach that includes a liver-friendly diet, effective physical exercise, and medically-proven antioxidant supplementation (that won’t cleanse but support your liver by helping it do what it does best—breaking down harmful substances).

This approach can provide real benefits that popular liver cleanses claim to give.

Try Detoxing Your Liver This Way 

Following a Healthy DietMaintaining healthy body weight and composition via your diet can affect the accumulation of fat in your liver (which can have a detrimental effect on your long-term liver health). 
Research shows that weight loss programs can improve biomarkers of liver disease in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). [1]
ExercisingExercise can help lower hepatic fat accumulation. Obesity has been the number one cause of NAFLD. Regulating it with workouts and exercise is effective. 
According to research, aerobic and weight training can lower the collection of fat in your liver and improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. [2]
Taking N-acetylcysteine SupplementationN-acetylcysteine (NAC) can potentially help with liver injury. Studies have particularly examined the effects of NAC on oxidative stress-induced illnesses such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. 
Research has found that NAC can improve liver function in NAFLD patients by enhancing oxidative balance in the liver. [3

Supporting your liver function this way can help keep your liver healthy. But are there any signs that show if your liver detox is working or not? We’ll explore this soon. 

Before that, let’s look at the liver detoxification process to understand how it works. 

Related: Kidney Detox: Is It Necessary and How to Do It Safely

The Liver Detoxification Process

A properly functioning liver gathers toxins and expels them from your body in two phases:

  • Phase I. The liver uses P450 enzymes to kickstart the detoxification process. This is when we see an increased activity of free radicals—reactive molecules that damage cells. [4]
  • Phase II. P450 enzymes convert fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins, which increases their solubility. These byproducts are then excreted through bile or urine. [5]

Amino acids, such as glutathione, glycine, and taurine, can aid the liver detoxification process. During phase II detoxification, your liver uses amino acids to convert toxins into a more soluble form

(Image source: Wikimedia)

For example, glutathione can enhance the liver detox process and help treat acute liver poisoning. [6] Now, back to n-acetylcysteine. This amino acid—found in dietary sources and supplementation—is great at restoring glutathione levels. 

To learn more about n-acetylcysteine and how it works, head over to our Comprehensive Guide to N-Acetylcysteine

Signs of Your Detox Working

1 – Your Skin Is More Radiant  

A Hispanic looking up at the camera with a close-up view of her skin and make-up freckles on her cheeks
(Image source: Unsplash)

So, is your liver detox working? First, pay close attention to your skin. A liver detox will help remove waste products from your body, such as free radicals and heavy metals, resulting in clearer skin. 

This may be the first sign following a proper liver detox. 

Flushing your liver will protect your skin from inescapable environmental toxins and the toxins that build up inside your body when your liver is not at its best. 

A glowing complexion is a direct result of liver health. When your liver is not breaking down toxins properly, they are expelled from your body by other means—most commonly through your skin. [7]

The presence of toxins in the deeper layers of the skin causes inflammation which can manifest as acne, dermatitis, or rashes. Bonus reason to keep your liver happy and healthy! 

2 – You Notice Reduced Inflammation 

When your liver is functioning properly, you’ll notice receding muscle and joint pain—common tell-tale signs of inflammation throughout the body. Namely, helping your body flush out extra toxins using a liver detox may help you feel less inflamed. 

A sedentary lifestyle is getting increasingly prominent. When paired with excessive consumption of diets rich in saturated fats, it leads to liver fat accumulation and increased oxidative stress—which triggers inflammation. [8]

Herbal remedies such as milk thistle and antioxidants like glutathione have been said to prevent liver damage from infections and exposures to toxins.  

Glutathione—one of the major antioxidants in the human body—has been found to enhance intracellular antioxidant defense systems and reduce inflammation

Chemical formula of N-acetylcysteine and its conversion to glutathione
(Image source: MDPI)

Moreover, as a glutathione precursor, NAC has been shown to benefit liver function. It does this by reducing the levels of oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory markers, as well as improving liver enzymes in patients with NAFLD. [9]

3 – You Digest Food Better

A brunette girl with a crop top on exposing her waist. She’s wearing a tattoo and lifting weights.
(Image source: Unsplash)

A liver detox may give you better digestion. You may experience decreased abdominal pain and more regular bowel movements due to liver-friendly lifestyle changes.

When food is improperly digested, it deposits toxins into your digestive tract. The liver’s role is of paramount importance here because if it doesn’t flush out toxins, bloating, stomach pain or nausea can occur. This is why gut problems are a common denominator in different liver diseases. [10]  

Many liver cleanses exclude processed foods and include high-fiber foods. This is because high-fiber foods protect your digestive system from harmful toxins and indirectly aid your liver function. 

How exactly? The high fiber content in liver detox diets helps eliminate toxins from your body—giving your liver  VIP treatment.

The bonus benefit of a high-fiber diet is lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and helping digestion. [11]

Your Road to a Healthy Liver—One Step at a Time

So, there you go—a few signs of liver detox working. 

Someone may have told you never to judge a book by its cover, yet when it comes to a liver detox, you can spot the first signs by looking at your skin and belly. 

You don’t have to engage in liver detox programs that impose rigorous, exhausting diets; helping your liver cleanse itself is good enough

A little goes a long way here—a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, strategic supplementation, and regular doctor visits may do more benefit to your liver than popular cleanses.  

Remember, liver cleanses cannot replace medical treatment. If you suspect your liver function is compromised, consult your doctor. They can advise you to do specific blood tests, such as checking your transaminase levels (which can show if you have any liver inflammation). 

Simply Nutrients is a doctor-owned US-based health team that’s passionate about natural health solutions. We believe in quality natural health products and advice by real people who care and share the philosophy that your health is the best investment you’ll ever make!

For more information on improving your health and wellness, check out our Simply Nutrient blog, or browse our health shop. And don’t forget to ask a question or drop us a line; we answer all your inquiries.  


[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31260026/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954622/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22308119/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488002/

[5] https://proteinswebteam.github.io/interpro-blog//potm/2006_10/Page1.htm

[6] https://bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12876-017-0652-3#

[7] https://www.elsevier.es/en-revista-annals-hepatology-16-articulo-skin-manifestations-liver-diseases-S166526811931926X#

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19240815/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7765616/

[10] https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract

[11] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/digestive-health/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/


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Medically reviewed by Dr. Jamy Antoine, D.C. — by Chris Bowman — On November 17, 2022


Chris Bowman

Chris Bowman is the CEO and Co-Founder of SimplyNutrients.com and has over 15 years of experience in nutritional sciences and wellness. Simply Nutrients is a part of Dr. Jamy Antoine's Select Health Practice in Edina, Minnesota. Chris is passionate about helping people live healthier lives by using the best practices of nature, nutrition, and medicine.