How to Detox Your Liver: 3 Natural Treatment Options

Your health and well-being depend on how well your body removes and purges toxins.

And your liver is one of the primary ways your body gets rid of toxins.

Your liver performs a variety of tasks, such as removing pollutants from your bloodstream, generating the bile required for fat digestion, balancing macro- and micronutrients, and controlling hormones.

Most of the time, you are completely unaware that your liver is operating. You might not notice anything unusual — even when it doesn’t operate properly. 

However, untreated liver diseases can occur and lead to liver failure, a condition that can be fatal.

The good news is that there are numerous methods to avoid liver damage, starting with detoxing your liver.

Liver Detoxing: What Is It?

A liver detox, cleanse, or flush is a program that helps you:

  • Improve your health
  • Lose weight
  • Remove toxins from your body

The concept of a liver detox (or cleanse) can be contentious, conjuring images of cayenne-infused lemon water and bizarre liver flushes, that call for only the consumption of apple juice, olive oil, and Epsom salts.

The majority of people believe that a cleanse will aid in their liver’s removal of toxins after they drink too much alcohol or consume lots of unhealthy food. 

Some people believe it will improve their liver’s daily function. 

Many think it will aid in the treatment of liver disease.

You are right to be suspicious when it comes to that kind of liver detox, but it doesn’t mean your liver doesn’t require some support.

Physiologically speaking, detoxifying or purifying your liver itself is not what this is about. It’s more about assisting your liver’s natural functions and aiding in its protection and renewal from inescapable environmental stressors.

You can watch this YouTube video to learn more about detoxing:

Do You Have a Healthy Liver?

When you think back on your life, do you remember a time when you felt the healthiest?

How does your present situation compare?

If you don’t feel as healthy as you once did, you may need to support your liver or make general dietary and lifestyle changes.

Listed below are several symptoms that could indicate that your liver function may be compromised [1]:

  • Dark urine
  • Constipation
  • Excessive sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased sugar craving
  • Skin and/or eyes that have a yellow tint

The good news is that you can influence how well your liver functions. It may be possible for you to start feeling better by performing a comprehensive liver cleansing.

How Can You Naturally Improve Your Liver Health?

Today, let’s look at how you can cleanse or detox your liver without endangering your health.

These methods might not be as straightforward as a one-time detox, but they’re more likely to safeguard and maintain the health of your liver. They aim to support your liver and enable it to carry out all of its essential functions—including detoxification—to the best of its ability.

1 – Eat Liver-Friendly Food

Different types of colorful vegetables in a bowl
(Image source: Unsplash)

What your body needs is a balanced, plant-rich diet. 

Your diet should encourage a healthy body composition. At the same time it must also contain a variety of minerals and phytonutrients that will support your gut and liver function.

Your liver health is at risk if you consume a diet heavy in processed meals because these foods essentially harm your liver. [2]

Lunch meats (such as prosciutto and salami), convenience foods, processed sugar, and hydrogenated oils are all known to be harmful to your health. [3]

The addition of nitrates and nitrites, which are frequently present in fast food, convenience foods, and lunch meats, has been related to major health problems. Foods are preserved with these aforementioned compounds to extend shelf life, prevent bacterial development, and maintain color.

Numerous clinical research trials have demonstrated that behaviors that promote a healthy body weight and composition are associated with decreased collection of fat in the liver. This is also indicated by liver health and liver function biomarkers. [4]

In fact, higher levels of body fat and the subsequent negative impact on the liver are even seen in those who appear to be metabolically healthy. [5]

Getting rid of processed foods is an excellent starting point to adopt a liver-friendly diet. Avoid most prepackaged meals, excessive caffeine, and alcohol. Focus on whole foods and, if possible, organic foods. These include:

  • Eggs
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes, nuts, and seeds
  • Sustainably raised meats and fish
  • Minimally processed oils like olive, avocado, or coconut oil

A clean, whole-food-focused diet entails cutting back on the majority of foods, additives, and pesticide residues that stress your body while increasing the intake of nutrient-dense foods that will replenish it.

Also try to avoid common causes of food sensitivities and allergens, such as gluten. This can aid in promoting optimal gut health and barrier function, which will lessen the amount of toxins that enter your bloodstream and are finally filtered and eliminated by your liver.

The following are some other liver-friendly foods that improve liver function. These help your liver by increasing glutathione production, binding heavy metals, and toxins, and stimulating bile flow.

FoodProperties
BeetsTheir potent antioxidant properties help with cellular repair in your liver. [6
LentilsThey promote regular bowel movement so that toxins aren’t reabsorbed in your system. [7]
BerriesThey contain anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical, which are strong antioxidants. [8]
SalmonThey have omega-3 fatty acids which promote healthy liver fat levels. [9]
AlmondsThey are a great source of vitamin E, which may help support liver health. [10]
ArtichokeThey have phenolic derivatives, which are known to stimulate bile flow. [11]
Citrus fruitsThey possess D-limonene, a phytonutrient compound that can reduce the physiological strain caused by a high-fat diet. [12]
Leafy greensThey are composed of plant chlorophylls, which aid in clearing your bloodstream of toxins, herbicides, and heavy metals. [13]
Broccoli sproutsThey have glucosinolates, a sulfur-containing phytochemical that aids in the body’s detoxification process and increases longevity. [14]
Fermented foodsThey are teeming with good bacteria, or probiotics, that support a healthy digestive system and the integrity of your gut lining, aiding to keep toxins out of the bloodstream. [15]
Dandelion root and greensThey support good digestion and encourage bile production. [16]
Glutathione-boosting foodsGlutathione, which is mostly found in the liver, is an antioxidant that aids in neutralizing and binding toxins so they may be transported out of your body through the urine or bile. [17] Asparagus, spinach, and avocado are some examples.

2- Use Liver Support Supplements Strategically

Pills falling out of a bottle
(Image source: Pexels)

There are several specific nutrients to look for when purchasing liver supplements such as NAC and Milk Thistle.

Additionally, you need to be cautious of certain items that advertise themselves as liver detoxes, liver cleanses, and liver flushes. Several of these so-called cleanses can damage your body and don’t adequately support liver function.

However, several nutrients have been shown to support liver function by protecting liver cells, assisting in the filtering and elimination of unwelcome toxins, promoting bile synthesis, and other mechanisms.

Although the dietary supplements listed below are generally safe, you should still consult a doctor before taking any of them to be sure they won’t conflict with your existing health regimen.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle, an extract from the seeds of the flowering milk thistle plant, is one of the best-known detoxifying herbs. Its MVP bioactive is silymarin.

Sometimes referred to as the master antioxidant, it is known to increase glutathione levels and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. It aids in removing the accumulation of alcohol, prescription drugs, environmental toxins, and heavy metals in the liver. [18]

Additionally, it assists in lessening the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy on the liver. 

Furthermore, the active component silymarin supports healthy regeneration while strengthening the liver’s cell walls.

Milk thistle can be consumed as a supplement or as a detoxifying tea for the liver.

Turmeric

The turmeric plant is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects that support glutathione synthesis and helps maintain inflammatory and oxidative balance.

Turmeric has a plethora of benefits. It:

  • Lessens joint discomfort
  • Helps the digestive system 
  • Works as a powerful antidepressant
  • Assists in restoring blood sugar balance
  • Supports liver metabolism and healthy liver tissue

Currently, scientists are investigating the health benefits of turmeric for some illnesses and ailments that include [19]:

  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Breast health
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Prostate health
  • Alzheimer’s disease

According to other studies, turmeric appears to promote the liver’s production of bile, which is a substance that helps the small intestine digest fats. Before any official recommendations can be made, further research on turmeric and liver health must be conducted on humans, but so far, things are looking up. [20]

NAC

N-acetyl-L-cysteine (also known as NAC) is a potent antioxidant that has been found to assist the vital operations of our detox organs and enhance oxidative balance in the liver. [21]

It has been used in clinical medicine for more than 50 years. 

For instance, the typical approach is to administer intravenous NAC to a patient who has overdosed on acetaminophen in order to protect the liver and assist the body in eliminating the toxic substances.

Glutathione, one of the most significant antioxidants in the body, is replenished in the process.

NAC also helps your body in the following ways:

  • Stimulates liver detoxification processes
  • Promotes redox balance throughout the body
  • Functions as a precursor to the amino acid L-cysteine

There’s a lot of information on NAC out there so it’s better for you to do your research before you start taking it.

3 – Sweat It

Woman in a sauna
(Image source: Pexels)

Sweating is the most effective detox method. After all, your skin is your largest organ.

Detoxification is dependent on two essential components:

  • Preventing further exposure to toxins
  • Eliminating toxins that are already in the body

The removal of toxins from your body occurs along three main paths.

While the excretion channels of urine (through the kidneys) and stool (via the gut) may instantly come to mind, the less evident but no less significant mechanism of toxin removal is through perspiration (the skin).

The skin is not only an essential barrier but also your primary organ for detoxification and the best way to remove toxins from your body is through sweating.

Sweating during a workout benefits your entire body, not just your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. It also increases glutathione production in your body, which helps with detoxification.

The research studied exercise’s impact on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), currently one of the most prevalent liver illnesses. [22]

The researchers came to the conclusion that both aerobic and weight training aid in preventing hepatic fat accumulation (the accumulation of fat and NAFLD are related).

However, if you have trouble doing rigorous cardio, then embrace any exercise that makes you happy and fits into your schedule.

Start slowly by going for a brisk walk or riding a bike, and work your way up to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day.

Along with a variety of physical activities, far-infrared saunas, and steam rooms can all help to induce sweating.

Remember, if you sweat, it relieves part of your liver’s detoxification duties.

Live Healthily

A liver detox or cleanse is ultimately a change in lifestyle. When it comes to a liver cleanse or detox, there is no miracle solution, and anything touted as such should be doubted.

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. Visit our store or the blog at Simply Nutrient for additional tips on living a healthy lifestyle.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583179/

[2] https://www.narayanahealth.org/blog/foods-to-avoid-for-healthy-liver/#:~:text=Avoid%20packaged%20savory%20snacks%20like,fatty%20liver%20diseases%2C%20plus%20obesity.

[3] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-can-i-choose-a-healthier-lunch-meat/#:~:text=A%3A%20Processed%20meat%2C%20like%20lunch,cancer%2C%20obesity%20and%20heart%20diseas

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

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32605642/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/

[7] https://www.openhand.org/blog/5-reasons-why-you-should-eat-lentils#:~:text=Lentils%20are%20rich%20in%20dietary,and%20helps%20prevent%20colon%20cancer.

[8] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/berry-good-for-your-heart

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5019889/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5789322/

[11] http://herbalgram.org/resources/herbclip/herbclip-news/2013/detoxification-with-artichoke-leaf/

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21445622/

[13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30564133/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551379/

[15] ​​https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/fermented-foods-can-add-depth-to-your-diet#:~:text=Fermented%20foods%20are%20preserved%20using,and%20other%20microorganisms%2C%20says%20Dr.

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820990/

[17] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8734304/

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665566/

[19] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25203338/

[20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882399/

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

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

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