Your liver is the most hardworking organ in your body. It spends all day and night filtering toxins such as alcohol, tobacco, pesticides, food additives, and heavy metals from your system.
Without proper care and maintenance, your liver will not be as effective at removing these toxins. This can result in chronic and troubling symptoms.
The Tell-Tale Signs Your Liver Needs a Detox
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- White or yellow coating on the tongue
- Bad breath
- Strong cravings for sugar
- Increased belly fat
- Abdominal bloating
- Inability to lose weight
- Sinus congestion
- Fluid retention
- Alcohol sensitivity
- Chemical sensitivity
- Fatigue unrelieved by sleep (especially in the morning)
Common Causes of a Stressed Liver
Common causes of liver distress include, but are not limited to:
- Excessive alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol diverts attention away from your liver’s everyday detoxification functions and focuses mainly on converting the cocktail you’re drinking into a less toxic form.
If your liver is already in need of a detox, you may notice that you can’t “handle your alcohol” very well. Just one drink is enough to make you feel as though you’ve spent the whole night on a bender.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
If you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, your liver automatically qualifies for a regular detox. Drugs that have been shown to cause liver damage include pain relievers, corticosteroids, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants.
The harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke greatly increase the oxidative stress on your system after they reach your liver. This can cause irreparable damage to your liver cells.
- Candida yeast overgrowth
Candida albicans is a naturally-occurring fungus found in the human digestive tract and reproductive organs. If this yeast overgrows, it can spread throughout your body, causing a condition called systemic candidiasis.
When Candida albicans grows unchecked, it produces excessive quantities of a poison called acetaldehyde, which is also a byproduct of alcohol metabolism.
When yeast becomes systemic, your liver can no longer cope with the toxic load, and you may feel it in the form of brain fog, light and sound sensitivity, headaches, anxiety, and depression.
How to Safely and Naturally Detoxify Your Overworked Liver
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
Detoxifying your liver naturally means making some important dietary and lifestyle modifications.
This means quitting smoking, limiting your alcohol intake, reducing your exposure to environmental toxins, and taking steps to reduce your overall stress levels. It also means replacing junk food with healthy, nourishing food.
You may also want to consider a gluten-free diet, even if it’s only temporary. According to a study on patients with celiac disease published in the Journal of Hepatology, “A gluten-free diet normalizes liver enzymes and histologic changes in most patients.”
Foods That Support Liver Detoxification
While you’re making these dietary changes, consider adding some of these foods to support your liver’s detoxification process:
This pungent spice is loaded with sulfur, which helps activate liver enzymes that flush toxins from your system. Garlic also contains high amounts of allicin and selenium, two powerful antioxidants that aid in liver cleansing.
For best results, use raw, organic garlic. (The health benefits of garlic are greatly diminished by heating.)
Avocados are rich in healthy fat and nutrients that help the body produce a compound called glutathione, which the liver needs to cleanse harmful toxins from your system.
3. Leafy Green Vegetables
Eating leafy green vegetables is an excellent way to support your liver function because of their ability to neutralize the effects of the pesticides, synthetic chemicals, and heavy metals you come in contact with every day.
Vegetables like organic spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, and mustard greens help remove environmental toxins from your bloodstream so your liver has less to clear out on its own.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli and cauliflower both increase your body’s production of glucosinolate, which supports liver detoxification while helping flush carcinogens and other toxins from your body.
Cabbage helps stimulate critical detoxification enzymes in the liver while naturally improving your digestion. Sauerkraut, coleslaw, and kimchi are all healing foods made with cabbage as their primary ingredient. Kimchi is especially beneficial to digestion because of its natural probiotic content.
6. Lemons and Limes
Organic lemons and limes are loaded with vitamin C and work well to stimulate the liver. For best results, squeeze half an organic lemon into a glass of water and drink in the morning half an hour before breakfast.
According to a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, the liver function of diabetic rats was repaired and even regenerated with the help of this common Indian spice.
Raw tomatoes are rich in glutathione, a protein that helps cleanse your liver. They are also a good source of lycopene, which a study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Industrial Health showed may protect against liver damage.
Asparagus is another healing food for the liver. According to a study published in the Journal of Food Science, this vegetable offers “protection of liver cells against toxic insults.”
Without healthy bile flow, toxins and cholesterol can become stuck in the liver longer than they should be, leading to damaging effects. Artichoke helps promote bile flow, which, in turn, improves liver health and function.
1. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle contains a flavonoid called silymarin that has been shown to protect the liver from certain drugs, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which has been linked to liver damage in high doses.
In addition, silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help heal a damaged liver. This powerful flavonoid may even help your liver grow new cells and repair itself!
This natural remedy isn’t for everyone. Those with a history of hormone-related cancers (breast, uterine, prostate) should not use milk thistle.
Also, those who take antipsychotic drugs, anti-seizure medication, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy are warned against using milk thistle.
Furthermore, milk thistle may interfere with the effectiveness of allergy, anxiety, cholesterol, and anti-coagulant medications. Consult your physician first.
2. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that also enhances the effects of glutathione, which is essential to a healthy liver. Its effectiveness in healing the liver is greatly enhanced because it is fat soluble, meaning it can penetrate the cell membrane to exert direct therapeutic action.
3. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
N-acetyl cysteine is another natural supplement that helps to greatly increase your glutathione levels, which helps protect your entire body against toxicity. Those who experience chronic liver inflammation or who have been diagnosed with fatty liver can benefit most from adding an NAC supplement.
Moreover, if you have an autoimmune disease, your body is automatically low in glutathione, which means your liver is always at risk. NAC can help improve your liver function, thereby decreasing inflammation, pain, and other common symptoms of chronic disease.
4. Dandelion Root
Dandelion root is good for your liver because it helps stimulate bile flow, which assists your liver in removing toxins more quickly. This natural diuretic also helps strengthen your immune system and soothe digestive upset.
5. Yellow Dock Root
This herb helps stimulate bile production, which helps break down fatty foods, improves the flow of digestive juices, and assists the liver in eliminating harmful toxins.
If you’re not sure which natural detoxifying supplement would work best for you, I recommend Renew Life Liver Detox. This two-part, 30-day detoxification program offers milk thistle, dandelion, NAC, alpha-lipoic acid, artichoke leaf, and other healing ingredients all in one convenient supplement.
Optimum liver function is the cornerstone of good health. Doing a liver cleanse once every six months to a year (depending on your level of toxicity) can help ease chronic symptoms and keep your energy levels going strong.
If you’re in the local area, please stop by our Meriden, Connecticut store. We have just the supplements you’re looking for!
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