Liver Detoxification and Support
Toxic substances are everywhere. In
the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Even our
bodies and the bacteria in the intestines produce toxic substances.
These toxins can damage the body in
an insidious and cumulative way. Your ability to detoxify these harmful
chemicals is a major factor in determining your level of health.
When the detoxification system becomes
overloaded, toxins accumulate, and we become progressively more sensitive
to other chemicals.
A toxic liver sends out alarm signals,
which manifest as psoriasis, acne, chronic headaches, inflammatory
and autoimmune diseases, and chronic fatigue, or just 'tired all the
Are you Toxic?
- Are you more than 20 pounds overweight?
- Are you tired all the time?
- Do you have diabetes?
- Have you had or do you have gallstones?
- Do you have a history of heavy
alcohol or drug use?
- Do you have psoriasis?
- Are you taking natural or synthetic
steroid hormones (for example oestrogens, oral contraceptives, anabolic
- Have you been exposed to high
levels of certain chemicals or drugs like cleaning solvents, pesticides,
antibiotics, diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?
- Do you or have you ever had hepatitis?
What do you recommend to support
the liver and proper detoxification?
- Eat a diet which focuses on fresh
fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle, including
avoiding alcohol and exercising regularly.
- Take a high potency multiple vitamin
and mineral supplement
- Use special nutritional and herbal
supplements to protect the liver and enhance liver function. Suggestions
given at the end of this article.
- With your Doctor's approval (e.g.
you don't have diabetes, are pregnant or underweight) go on a 2-day
apple fast several times per year. See article
Detoxify your Body
Which are the most helpful foods
for liver health?
- High sulphur containing foods
like garlic, legumes, onions and eggs.
- Good sources of water-soluble
fibres such as pears, oat bran, apples, and legumes.
- Cabbage family vegetables, especially
broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage.
- Artichokes, beets, carrots, dandelion,
turmeric and cinnamon.
- On top of that, a wide variety
of other vegetables and, of course, for general health we need to
include protein foods such as fish, tofu or organic chicken.
Which foods are the worst for my
That's easy: saturated fats, refined
sugar and alcohol.
Saturated fats are found in
animal food, so eat your meat as lean as possible and take it easy with
the butter; also avoid 'hydrogenated vegetable oil', like the cheap
refined sunflower, safflower and vegetable oils, which are used in biscuits,
cakes, fried foods and margerines.
Refined sugar: anything with
'ose' at the end of the word - for example sucrose, maltose, galactose,
glucose, or with any kind of 'syrup' in the ingredients. When the 'ose'
is still in the food, for example fruit contains fructose, then that's
How much alcohol is bad?
Alcohol stresses detoxification processes
and can lead to liver damage and immune suppression, but it is related
to how much you drink and how healthy your liver is. Avoid alcohol if
you suffer from impaired liver function and only drink in moderation.
Have regular periods of not drinking
any alcohol. If you feel better for it, it's a good indication your
liver wasn't coping with the amount you were having before.
It's better to drink 'little and often'
than bingeing. Also see Liver Deaths Surge Blamed on Heavy-Drinking
Are there any herbs that I can take
to support my liver and proper detoxification?
There is a long list of plants that
exert beneficial effects on liver function. However, the most impressive
research has been done on a special extract of milk thistle (silybum
marianum), known as silymarin - a group of flavonoid compounds. These
compounds exert tremendous effect on protecting the liver from damage
as well as enhancing detoxification processes.
What are the particular benefits
Silymarin prevents damage to the liver
by acting as an antioxidant.
Silymarin is many times more potent
in antioxidant activity than vitamin E and vitamin C.
The protective effect of silymarin
against liver damage has been demonstrated in a number of experimental
studies. Silymarin has been shown to protect against liver damage by
extremely toxic chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride, amanita toxin,
galactosamine, and praseodymium nitrate.
One of the key manners in which silymarin
enhances detoxification reaction is preventing the depletion of glutathione.
Glutathione in the liver is critically linked to the liver's ability
to detoxify. The higher the glutathione content, the greater the liver's
capacity to detoxify harmful chemicals. Typically, when we are exposed
to chemicals which can damage the liver, including alcohol, the concentration
of glutathione in the liver is substantially reduced. This reduction
in glutathione makes the liver cell susceptible to damage. Silymarin
not only prevents the depletion of glutathione induced by alcohol and
other toxic chemicals, but has been shown to increase the level of glutathione
of the liver by up to 35%. Since the ability of the liver to detoxify
is largely related to the level of glutathione in the liver, the results
of this study seem to indicate that silymarin can increase detoxification
reactions by up to 35%.
Can silymarin help in hepatitis
and other liver disorders?
Yes. In human studies, silymarin has
been shown to have positive effects in treating liver diseases of various
kinds, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty infiltration of the liver
(chemical and alcohol induced fatty liver), and inflammation of the
- Detoxification of harmful substances
is a continual process in the body.
- The ability to detoxify and eliminate
toxins largely determines an individual's health status.
- A number of toxins (heavy metals,
solvents, pesticides, microbial toxins, etc.) are known to cause
significant health problems.
- Milk thistle extracts standardised
for silymarin content can dramatically improve the liver's ability
to detoxify harmful compounds and function more optimally.
Recommended supplements for liver
Nutri Detoxification Factors
Support code NU3800
BioCare Milk Thistle Complex (silymarin plus) code b28290
Lecithin HiPC Granules code HNLEC200
Liver Deaths Surge Blamed on Heavy-Drinking
The Chief Medical Officer says he is
concerned at the increase in cases of cirrhosis of the liver.
Professor Liam Donaldson says it's
due to the rising levels of alcohol abuse among young men and women.
His annual report says cirrhosis deaths
have been increasing in men for some time but are now also growing sharply
Official figures show that twice as
many 18 to 24-old women as men are drinking at or in excess of danger
The rise in the number of young women
drinking heavily is reflected in official figures, which show an alarming
increase in the number of young women developing serious liver disease.
Cirrhosis of the liver kills in excess
of 1600 women a year, compared to 1200 seven years ago.
Women are also developing liver disease
in their 20s and 30s rather than in their 40s and 50s.
The director of Alcohol Concern, Eric
Appleby, told the Daily Mail newspaper that the government must introduce
a national strategy to tackle alcohol abuse, involving education, public
campaigns, counselling and treatment.
He commented: "We need to work hard
with kids to make them understand the impact of alcohol".