We all know the liver is a critical organ that plays an essential role in detoxifying your body from harmful substances. The liver is responsible for several crucial processes: aiding with digestion, producing proteins and flushing toxins from your system. Filtering substances from your blood is also an essential part of your liver's job description, so it's important to make sure that your liver is in optimum health in order to maintain overall wellness. When your liver is stressed or compromised, it can impair its ability to efficiently cleanse your body of toxins and this can negatively impact you in many ways. A liver in desperate need of detox can manifest through a variety of symptoms.
Signs Your Liver Needs a Detox
Dr. Sara Gottfried, M.D., states that experiencing more than four of any of the following symptoms over the past three months may signify that you should try detoxing your liver:
- Increased belly fat
- Acne, rosacea, liver spots, itchy or blotchy skin
- Insomnia and/or fatigue
- Gallbladder problems
- Inability to lose weight (when trying)
- Heartburn and/or acid reflux
How Your Liver Gets Damaged
Many factors can contribute to a damaged liver, and these range from excessive alcohol consumption to environmental toxins, chemicals, pesticides, hormones, GMOs, high-carbohydrate diets and fatty foods. According to the National Liver Foundation, another significant factor conducive to liver damage is an overload of sugar in our diets.
What Happens During a Liver Detox
The process of detoxing your liver consists of essentially “unclogging” it, or removing the blockage of unhealthy fat that is likely sabotaging its health and functions. Liver detox is usually performed by switching up your diet for a certain period of time in order to flush out bad foods and other substances that may have contributed to dragging your liver down. A liver detox can help restore and revitalize the cells in your liver that act as filters for toxins, flushing out fat and encouraging the healthy circuiting of blood to the heart. A healthy liver is necessary for preventing unclean blood from flowing to your heart and causing problems there in addition to damaging your immune system and accelerating aging.
Methods of Detoxing
A successful liver detox can be accomplished through a variety of ways. If you're an alcohol drinker, cutting it out will help your liver to recover and can encourage a reversal of damage inflicted by too much booze. Upping your water intake can help flush fluids from your kidneys and also impact your liver health. Substituting household cleaning products laden with chemicals for natural products may also be able to help reduce liver stress. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight are also essential for the effectiveness of any diet or lifestyle. The foods and beverages you consume play a paramount role in the state of your liver, and there are several nutrients that are especially beneficial for liver health:
- Antioxidants (fight free radicals and oxidative stress): Blueberries, lemons, carrots, celery
- Glucosinolates (contain sulfur and protect the liver from damage): Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts
- Methionine (detoxifying amino acid): Eggs, legumes, fish, onions
- Glutathione (toxin-destroying protein): Dandelion root tea, garlic, avocados
In addition to the aforementioned foods, supplements like alpha lipoic acid and milk thistle may be able to provide significant benefits for the health of your liver. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) supports healthy liver function by encouraging the proper conversion of glucose and carbs into cellular energy. In addition, CNCA Health states that milk thistle's power lies in its ability to defend and boost the production of healthy liver cells, increase antioxidant activity and enhance protein synthesis—all of which are imperative for keeping your liver in great shape.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of liver issues, you should talk to your doctor before embarking on a liver detox. Don't take any supplements without first informing your licensed health care practitioner.
Having a healthy liver is mandatory for having a healthy life, so you'll want to make sure you take care of it. Check out our selection of liver health supplements at eVitamins, and come back tomorrow for more health news!