Do a quick Google search or flip through some popular health magazines and you’re bound to find countless “detoxes” and “cleanses” claiming to do everything from help you lose weight to clearing up your skin.
One type of protocol that garners significant attention is a “liver cleanse” or “liver detox.” While purging our bodies of toxins and other potentially harmful compounds sounds great, it begs the question – Is detoxing the liver really necessary?
What Exactly Does the Liver Do?
Your liver is your largest internal organ – it’s about the size of a football and weighs in at approximately three pounds. It’s housed in your right upper abdomen, tucked beneath your ribcage, and just below your diaphragm.1 This powerhouse organ plays a key role in over 500 vital functions throughout your body. Just a handful of these vital functions includes:2
- Producing bile, which is essential for eliminating waste and breaking down fats during digestion
- Manufacturing proteins for your blood plasma
- Generating cholesterol and other specialized proteins that carry fatty acids throughout the body
- Converting glucose into glycogen to be stored as an energy source
- Regulating amino acid levels in your blood at any given time
- Processing hemoglobin to utilize stored iron
- Regulating the clotting and coagulation of blood
- Boosting immunity by producing essential immune factors and removing bacteria from your blood.
But one of the liver’s most critical functions is its role in detoxification. Let’s take a look at exactly how the liver acts as one of the primary detoxification systems in our bodies.
The Liver: Your Detoxification Powerhouse
Your liver is made up of 2 primary lobes. These lobes are comprised of tiny hexagon-shaped lobules. And each of these lobules is made up of liver cells – also known as hepatocytes. These hepatocytes line up in rows separated by tiny blood vessels that diffuse molecules from your bloodstream into the hepatocytes.3
Your liver receives this blood from two distinct sources. It receives oxygen-rich blood from the hepatic artery and nutrient-rich blood from the portal vein. You see, after nutrients pass from your intestinal tract into your bloodstream, they’re then shuttled to the liver via the portal vein to be processed.
Once the blood arrives at your liver it travels through smaller and smaller blood vessels until it’s able to transfer the molecules it’s transporting to your hepatocytes. And this is where the magic happens.
How Does the Liver Process Out Toxins?
Your liver serves as a sort of “weigh-station” for your blood – inspecting, separating, and processing the compounds floating around in your bloodstream. Your hepatocytes identify nutrients, break them down into a more bioavailable form if necessary, and then ship them back out to the bloodstream to be utilized by the rest of your body. And when a toxin or waste product is detected, your liver will flag it, break it down if needed, and prepare it to be excreted through either your digestive system or your kidneys.
Remember those hexagon-shaped lobules that make up your liver? Each of those lobules is connected to a network of ducts that transports cellular waste and toxins to be emptied into the gallbladder, where bile and the liver’s waste products are stored and eventually excreted when you have a bowel movement.4
Any waste products that aren’t sent to your gallbladder are instead directed to the kidneys, where they are further filtered and eventually excreted through your urine.
So your liver essentially functions like an efficient and highly specific filter. Letting certain nutrients and compounds pass through while simultaneously collecting and eliminating toxins and other waste products.
Why Is Liver Detoxification Vital to Good Health?
There’s a lot of misleading and confusing misinformation surrounding “liver detoxes” and “liver cleanses.” Some companies may try to peddle a juice fast or expensive supplements claiming it will “clean out” and “purify” your liver. But the truth is, a healthy liver will naturally cleanse and detox itself.
Real liver detoxification is centered around giving your liver the boost it needs to purify itself and get to running at full capacity. Completing a detox and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that keeps your liver in tip-top shape is vital to your overall health.
Let’s take a look at some of the most potent ways you can help your liver detox.
Foods and Teas That Help Detoxing the Liver
Adopting certain eating habits and including certain foods and drinks into your diet is the foundation of helping your liver detox and protecting your liver health in the long term. When it comes to detoxing the liver and incorporating liver detox foods, here’s what I suggest:
- Build your meals around veggies and fruits: Fresh fruits and veggies are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, inflammation-fighting antioxidants, and health-boosting micronutrients your liver needs to function properly.
- Load up on high-quality protein: High-quality protein provides the building blocks your liver needs to repair and regenerate cells.
- Incorporate plenty of healthy fats: Healthy fats – like those found in avocados, olive oil, and salmon – can help reduce oxidative damage and promote healthy liver function.
- Focus on anti-inflammatory foods: Focusing on building your diet around real, whole foods that fight inflammation is crucial. Avoid inflammation-promoting foods like refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying well hydrated will help your body more effectively process and flush out toxins. Aim to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
- Incorporate tea and coffee: Tea and coffee have been found to help fight inflammation, promote a healthy gut, and have beneficial impacts on your liver.5 But when it comes to these tasty beverages, quality matters – so I recommend checking out products like Pique Tea and Purity Coffee to truly reap the most benefits.
The best foods for liver health are straightforward – simply eat real, wholesome food the majority of the time. Having a healthy well-rounded diet is the foundation for liver health, but there are also some powerful supplements that can supercharge your liver’s detoxing capacity.
What Are the Best Liver Support Vitamins and Supplements?
Here are the most powerful supplements and vitamins for liver health that I recommend:
- Gut healing supplements: Gut health and liver health go hand in hand. Taking supplements that optimize your gut will subsequently boost your liver health. I recommend a daily probiotic to keep your gut flora balanced, collagen to maintain the integrity of your gut lining, and Gut Calm to enhance digestion.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants can help support your liver in transforming toxic molecules into less toxic compounds to be utilized or excreted. Some of the most potent antioxidants that will give you the most bang for your buck are Glutathione Essentials, Buffered Vitamin C, and Super Turmeric.
- Detox binders: Detox binders bind to toxins making them easier to excrete and lessen the workload for your liver. My favorite detox binders are Upgraded Coconut Charcoal and G.I. Detox.
- Bitter botanicals: Certain botanical compounds have been found to promote digestion and bile flow, promote antioxidant levels, and protect your liver. These liver-boosting botanicals include milk thistle, goldenrod, myrrh, and gentian.6 Quiksilver Scientific has harnessed the power of all these bitter botanicals in one simple supplement – Dr. Shade’s Bitters #9.
- Liver Essentials: Liver Essentials is a blend of ingredients calibrated to support healthy liver function, promote cytokine balance, enhance antioxidant production, and protect liver tissue.
These are hands-down the best liver support supplements you can buy. You can find all of these liver-boosting supplements and more through my online store. You can even get 10% off your first order by clicking here.
Other Tips to Keep Your Liver Healthy and Happy
Sometimes what you do is just as important as what you don’t do when it comes to the health of your liver. So here are a few other things to keep in mind if you want to keep your liver healthy and happy:
- Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol is technically a toxin – which is why you feel drunk when you drink enough of it. Your body is well equipped to occasionally break down a drink or two. But excessive alcohol intake can overwork your liver and cause permanent damage.
- Be mindful of medications: Your liver is responsible for processing the medications you take. So taking steps to improve your health in order to decrease any prescription or nonprescription drugs can keep your liver from being overworked. If there are some medications you simply can’t discontinue, I strongly suggest looking into “cleaner” medications like Genexa. They make real medicine without the added fillers and toxins. You can get 25% off your first order through Genexa by using the code FLATIRON.
- Be careful about exchanging bodily fluids: Blood and bodily fluids exchanged during sex can transmit hepatitis viruses that can damage your liver. So be careful and practice safe sex.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can overwhelm your body’s ability to process sugar and fat and causes fatty deposits to begin accumulating in your liver. Over time this can cause permanent scarring and damage.
- Minimize exposure to toxins: We’re all exposed to countless toxins on a daily basis, but you can take steps to reduce your overall toxic burden to minimize your liver’s workload. Taking steps like using non-toxic cleaning products, filtering your air and water, and minimizing EMF exposure can help minimize your toxic load. Click here to learn about some additional ways you can decrease your toxic burden.
Simply avoiding things that dampen your liver’s ability to function while simultaneously providing it with the resources it needs to function properly is the most powerful way to detox and support your liver’s health.
Ready to Detox Your Liver?
Your liver truly is a powerhouse organ – every facet of your health depends on your liver doing its job properly. And as you can see, detoxing and supporting your liver doesn’t require a complicated routine or a white-knuckling it through a “cleanse.” Truly detoxing and boosting the health of your liver requires taking a well-rounded, big-picture approach to your overall health.
If you’re looking for a way to show your liver some love, enhance your body’s detoxification capabilities, and hit the reset button on your health, I‘ve got you covered. My 21-Day Detox is the perfect prescription to help you look and feel your best while simultaneously setting the foundation of healthy habits to create vibrant health for years to come. If you want to challenge yourself to complete your own 21-Day Detox, click here to get all the details and get started today!
Now it’s time to hear from you. Were you surprised to learn just how important it is when it comes to detoxing the liver? What steps are you taking to support your liver health? Leave your questions and thoughts in the comments below!
- How does the liver work? – InformedHealth.org – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
- Liver: Anatomy and Functions | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Liver Anatomy (nih.gov)
- What Does the Liver Do? | Children's Pittsburgh (chp.edu)
- Coffee and tea breaks for liver health – Journal of Hepatology (journal-of-hepatology.eu)
- Signs Your Liver Needs A Detox – Quicksilver Scientific
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.