Your liver is an organ crucial to life, and that means keeping it functioning and healthy is extremely important. Liver detox supplements can be helpful in supporting optimal liver function.
Impressively, the liver performs more than 500 essential tasks. One of its vital roles is to remove toxins, but its ability to do so becomes limited if it is damaged by or clogged with impurities. Few of us have probably thought about cleaning our internal organs, though, which is understandable since they detox themselves when they’re in top shape. On a daily basis, we are exposed to numerous hazardous chemicals, which means your organs – especially your liver – can use a hand with the workload.
This guide will discuss safe and effective supplements to help you detox, in addition to lifestyle changes that will help to ensure your liver is functioning at its best for as long as possible.
What the Liver Does
While we can’t list the hundreds of duties your liver performs, it’s important to note it’s a versatile organ. It’s also intriguing: you can live with only part of a liver, you couldn’t live without any at all, and it’s the only organ in the body that can regenerate. Some of the most essential functions include:
• Producing bile to break down fats
• Metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and protein
• Filtering toxins out of the blood
• Storing minerals and fat-soluble vitamins
• Breaking down old, damaged or diseased blood cells
• Supporting the blood’s clotting function
• Assisting in regulating blood pressure and blood serum
• Aiding in immunity
This amazing organ even takes part in making cholesterol, a necessary nutrient that makes up cell membranes and is needed in hormone synthesis.
What Causes Liver Damage?
Despite the liver’s rugged capacity and durability, it can still be damaged by diseases like hepatitis C or continual subjection to poisons, impurities or other toxins. The leading causes of hepatic disease or liver injury are:
• Hepatitis, including A, B or C
• Genetic liver diseases
• Immune system abnormalities
• Chronic, excessive consumption of alcohol
• Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
• Medications (or incorrect dosing, interactions, etc.)
• Some herbal products or their ingredients, such as ephedra
• Exposure to chemicals, solvents and toxins
The COVID-19 virus can also cause liver injury in some patients, although this damage may only be temporary in milder cases. A study in China has reported that as many as half of the people affected by the virus experienced liver issues during their illness. Those with liver disease who contract COVID-19 may also be at higher risk for a poor outcome.
Stages of Liver Damage
Liver disease can be mild, moderate, severe or permanent, depending on the cause and its duration. A mild case may involve symptoms such as:
• Decreased appetite
• Itchy skin
• Upset stomach
• Simply feeling “not quite right”
• No symptoms at all
In cases of more severe damage or in chronic liver disease, you might expect:
• Upper-right abdominal pain
• An enlarged liver
• Weight loss when you are not trying to lose weight
• Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
• Irreversible scarring and reduced liver function
Certain risk factors, like family history, should be considered as well, and a medically reviewed study notes that high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and daily alcohol use are conditions that increase the risk. The good news is that lifestyle changes along with liver cleanses may help revitalize this organ, as well improve overall health.
8 Safe and Effective Liver Detox Supplements
A good liver cleanse consists of eating healthy food and taking high-quality supplements to support and restore natural function. Before doing a liver cleanse, it’s a good idea to check in with a nutritionist or other health care practitioner.
Below are a few of our favorite suggestions for liver detox supplements.
This powerful antioxidant boosts production of glutathione – a natural substance produced by the liver that is made of three amino acids – and helps your liver become more able to make its own. NAC and glutathione offer many benefits, including assisting in tissue repair and helping your liver detoxify.
If you’d like to take glutathione directly, S-acetyl glutathione is a unique form that’s more easily assimilated. This supplement also contains NAC and vitamin B-6 to assist natural glutathione production. Glutathione can significantly lower damage to cells in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, plus mitigate the effects of oxidative stress. This helps reduce the chance of contracting diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
B-complex vitamins are among the most important dietary supplements you can take. Because they are water soluble, and because many functions of your body – including in your liver – require these vitamins in order to work, your body’s supply may become depleted. Therefore a supplement may be needed to avoid symptoms of deficiency and to improve liver detoxification.
4. Vitamin C
Humans are among the few animals that can’t make their own vitamin C, which means we must get it from food. Vitamin C supports collagen production, makes neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and strengthens our immune system, among other benefits. Studies have also shown that it helps protect the liver, prevents free radical damage, and inhibits toxicity from drugs, insecticides and chemicals.
Turmeric’s antioxidant benefits include improved digestion, reduced risk of cancer, pain relief and immune support. Curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, is anti-inflammatory and promotes healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
6. Fish Oil
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3s, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, help reduce the amount of hepatic fat present, lower the risk of diabetes, lower triglycerides, and lower inflammation throughout the entire body. Taking fish oil in a soft gel is a convenient way to get these essential fatty acids.
This synergistic blend of milk thistle, turmeric and artichoke supports hepatic function and promotes health by helping to prevent free radical damage in the body. Milk thistle helps your main detoxifying organ produce new cells, protects it from toxin damage, and has been used in the treatment of alcoholic inflammation and cirrhosis. It may even have anti-cancer properties.
8. Liver Support and Detox Comprehensive Formula
This comprehensive supplement nourishes the liver and helps it break down toxic substances. Two capsules contain a blend of vitamins, herbs, NAC and selenium, an antioxidant that plays a role in endocrine and immune system function and is necessary for hepatic health. This formula also contains choline, a chemical compound vital for liver health, in addition to facilitating many other biological processes.
Lifestyle Tips for Improving Liver Health
Taking beneficial liver-supporting supplements can be a great step to help your body detoxify, but you can also improve the health of this powerful organ through your daily choices. A few tips include:
• Eating a nutritious, balanced diet that includes healthy protein, “good” fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
• Avoiding harmful substances commonly found in packaged or canned foods, such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG and sodium nitrate (a preservative)
• Reducing exposure to toxins by using non-toxic cleaning agents, or if necessary, wearing protective gear – such as gloves and mask – when using chemicals
• Ceasing smoking or using tobacco
• Consuming only a moderate amount of alcohol (or none at all)
• Exercising regularly
• Washing your hands frequently
• Practicing good hygiene every day
When in doubt, consult with a nutritionist or other health care practitioner on the best ways to keep your liver working at its best.
A Healthy Liver for Life
Lifestyle changes, as needed, along with the right detox supplements can help your liver function optimally. This vital organ is a key part of your body’s overall health, so don’t wait until there are problems! Taking steps toward keeping your liver healthy is something you can do every day, and it’s worth the effort.
Contact Village Green Apothecary to speak with a nutrition advisor about liver detox supplements, and get your questions answered.