Detox Your Liver Naturally! (+ 7 Tips for a Healthy Liver)Reading Time: 8 minutes
Want to maintain that positive mood, keep your energy levels high, and just feel GREAT every day? Achieve all of this and more with your next liver detox!
Why would detoxing the liver naturally have such a profound effect on your body, mind, energy level, and overall health? Read on to discover the reasons why.
What Does Your Liver Do for You Anyways?
There are so many functions that this oval-shaped, 3-pound bag of tissue performs in your body (some experts say over 400!) that it would take an entire book to describe them all.
In a nutshell, the liver plays a major role in both metabolism and natural detoxification. It breaks down nutrients from food into forms that can be used in the body naturally. It also stores these substances and supplies the cells with the specific nutrients that they may need at just the right time.
The liver is vital for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. In carb processing, it helps ensure that glucose levels stay balanced.
In the breakdown of proteins, liver cells help convert amino acids from food into substances that can be used as energy. And in fat metabolism, liver cells do basically the same thing – with the help of the gallbladder, it breaks down fat particles into energy.
The liver also has intricate relationships with several other organs. Blood that comes from the digestive system flows through certain areas of the liver bringing nutrients. The liver also works with the kidneys. Ammonia is a byproduct of the breakdown of proteins, carbs, and fats. Liver cells convert this potentially-toxic substance into urea, which is ammonia’s more benign form, which is then transported to the kidneys to be passed out of the body as urine.
And of course, the liver’s function is vitally connected to the gallbladder, which is a small organ located underneath the liver. The gallbladder’s main job is to produce bile needed for the breakdown of fats.
Liver Health: Liver Function, Fatty Liver & Liver Cancer
Although we now know enough about the liver to understand that it is crucial for the health of the entire body, science is still learning about its connections to specific nutrients, mechanisms, and disease process.
For example, new research is now discovering the link between magnesium deficiency and liver cirrhosis (extensive scarring of the liver) as well as magnesium deficiency and fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease, or Hepatic Steatosis, is a condition that is of special concern in this day and age. At one time, fatty liver disease was mostly connected to alcoholism. Over the last decade, however, the number of individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has grown exponentially.
NAFLD occurs when the liver is not able to metabolize fats efficiently. According to a 2015 analysis conducted by Thomas Jefferson University,
“there is a worldwide epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)…”
According to the American Liver Foundation, roughly 25% of the U.S. population is affected by NAFLD in some way.
Thomas Jefferson researchers call NAFLD a “clinical entity related to metabolic syndrome.” Conventional medicine often connects NAFLD to genetic predisposition as well as obesity and diabetes, although not everyone who is diagnosed with the condition needs to lose weight and/or is struggling with diabetes.
More forward-thinking researchers are now making the connection between NAFLD and environmental and pharmaceutical toxins. Chronic use of certain pain killers as well as the use of certain chemo drugs may be contributing factors for NAFLD.
In addition, a 2017 investigation published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports made the definitive link between NAFLD and the consumption of GMO foods, especially those that have been sprayed with even the smallest amounts of the pesticide Roundup.
If the connection between chemically produced toxins and NAFLD is correct, then it is no surprise that as these chemicals continue to pervade every aspect of our lives. The incidence of not only NAFLD but also cirrhosis, liver damage/failure, and even cancer of the liver will continue to rise as well.
According to the American Cancer Society, the number of liver cancer deaths have increased by three percent every year since 2000. In 2017, 40,710 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the liver.
Detox Your Liver, Detox Your Body
In this age of increased toxic load on all levels, including heavy metals, it is imperative that the liver be cleansed on a regular basis. According to both Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, transitional points of the year (such as the weeks right before the winter and summer solstices) are great times for liver detoxification.
Each of the cleanse modalities listed below can be utilized from one to three weeks. If you are fairly healthy, you should be able to support your liver in these ways while at the same time maintaining a regular schedule.
Although, it may be a good idea to focus on healing as much as possible by keeping extra activities to a minimum during the first few days as your body flushes out extra toxins buried deep within the organs.
Note: If one of your health goals is losing weight and you’ve been unsuccessful it could be because your body is storing lots of toxins in fat cells. By supporting your main organ of detoxification, you can often give your weight loss efforts a helping hand.
One additional important note. If you have been diagnosed with NAFLD or any other health condition, it would be wise to consult with your health practitioner prior to embarking on any detox diets or other kinds of concentrated cleanses.
#1: Use Gentle Herbals.
Certain herbs can have a profoundly strengthening effect on the liver. Three such herbs that have been used for centuries are milk thistle, dandelion root, and Holy Basil.
Organic dandelion root and Holy Basil can often be found at health food stores in the form of dietary supplements (or in your own back yard). Milk thistle is often sold in supplement form and can be a great boost for the immune system as well.
#2: Coffee Enema.
Enemas have been used for centuries by Ayurvedic practitioners and some of today’s top natural health experts say that regular coffee enemas are a “must” for a toxic world.
Administering an enema with organic, pesticide-free coffee can be an instant energy-lifter and here’s why: blood runs though the liver every three minutes.
Retaining coffee in the bowels for just 15 minutes allows it to seep through the intestinal wall and into the “portal vein” of the liver, where it will stimulate the gallbladder.
Coffee also provides the body with the phytochemicals kahweol and cafestol, which can lower inflammation, activate glutathione production, and encourage cellular detoxification. Coffee enemas have also been shown to stimulate apoptosis, or cancer cell death, in some studies.
#3: Try a liver-cleansing “shot.”
It’s not an injection nor does it have anything to do with tequila (except that you might want to do this the morning after you’ve had “one too many”). A liver-cleansing shot is simple to put together and fairly easy to “down.”
Just combine one whole organic lemon, cut into pieces (rind and all), 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of cayenne in 6 ounces of pure water.
Blend at high speed until thoroughly mixed. Then strain and drink. You can also sip this infusion throughout the day for a gentler cleanse; just make sure to wait at least an hour before eating.
As a side note, citrus fruits in general are excellent for liver health. Just be sure if you’re consuming any rind that it’s from washed organic fruit.
#4: Don’t forget the gallbladder.
The liver-cleansing “shot” mentioned above is great for the gallbladder too, which is a good thing. In order to really cleanse the liver, you also must take the health of the gallbladder into consideration.
To help your gallbladder and to prevent painful gallstones, stay away from trans fats and processed foods, and make sure to drink plenty of water. For tasty alternatives to plain water, try our detox water recipes.
7 Ways to Keep Your Liver Happy
Now that you know what to do for a deep liver detox, you can help keep this vital detoxification pathway running smoothly all year long by adding these simple tips and tricks to your everyday routine:
- Get sufficient amounts of vitamins K, D, A, B12, B6, and C, as well as magnesium.
- Drink half your weight in ounces of pure, fresh, filtered water daily (e.g. a 150 lb person would drink 75 oz of water). If you have trouble reaching this number you can also count herbal tea, green tea, and the liquids found in foods such as soup towards your total.
- Go easy on your digestive system by limiting grains and red meat and eat lots of fresh leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables which support liver health.
- Move your body in a way you enjoy; four times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes is ideal.
- Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, journaling, strolling in nature, skin brushing, soothing baths, and self-massage. Put one of these activities on your to-do list every day!
- Take care of yourself emotionally through journaling, talking to a friend or counselor, or practicing the Emotional Freedom Technique. Holding on to negative emotions, especially trauma, can add to your toxic load.
- Consider going on a deeper cleanse whenever you consistently feel fatigued, tired, bloated, constipated, confused, achy, depressed, anxious, or generally “out of sorts”; these are all signs of toxic overload.
Treat your liver with love, live a healthy lifestyle that supports and strengthens it, and give it some time to deeply clean out the large amounts of toxins we’re exposed to in our modern world every once in a while. Then your liver can do what it is meant to do – help YOU stay vibrant, healthy and strong!
The liver plays a major role in both metabolism and detoxification.
The liver’s function is vitally connected to the gallbladder, which is a small organ located underneath the liver.
Fatty liver disease (Hepatic Steatosis) is a condition that is of special concern. Over the last decade the number of individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has grown exponentially.
Chronic use of certain pain killers as well as the use of certain chemo drugs may be contributing factors for NAFLD. GMO foods sprayed with the pesticide Roundup have also been linked to NAFLD.
In this age of increased toxic load on all levels, it is imperative that the liver be cleansed on a regular basis.
Cleanse modalities include:
- Gentle herbals
- Coffee enema
- A liver-cleansing “shot”
- Don’t forget the gallbladder
How to keep your liver happy all year long:
- Get sufficient amounts of vitamins K, D, A, B12, B6,C, and magnesium
- Drink half your weight in pure, fresh, filtered water
- Go easy on your digestive system
- Move your body
- Practice stress management techniques
- Take care of yourself emotionally
- Consider going on a deeper cleanse whenever you experience signs of toxic overload