Best ways to detoxify the liver

Updated July 18, 2017

The best methods to detoxify the liver are those that support it in its many functions without being harsh or harmful and are also appropriate to the individual, taking into consideration pre-existing health conditions, lifestyle factors and health goals. Moreover, the best liver cleanse is one that inspires healthier habits for the long term, since no cleanse of a few days or even a few weeks can reverse all the damage from years of accumulated toxins from poor lifestyle choices.

Avoid harmful substances

In the modern world, environmental toxins are pervasive and there is much a liver would do well to avoid. Mercury content in fish has caused authorities to issue advisories about consuming them and industrial pollutants are being found in places as remote as the polar Arctic region. While it may not be possible to eliminate exposure to every type of toxic substance, much can be gained in the way of preventive benefit by avoiding the most obvious unhealthy foods and lifestyle practices. Dr. Sandra Cabot recommends avoiding deep fried foods and other "bad" fats, such as hydrogenated oils and margarine, packaged snack foods, excessive sugar and alcohol, soft drinks and dehydration.

Add healthy habits

While avoiding knowingly contacting or consuming harmful things is of primary importance in preventing what is preventable, it is equally important to provide the liver with its specific nutritional requirements, in order for it to function optimally. Fruits and vegetables, raw and free of pesticides, are the best place to start. Juicing concentrates and boosts nutrient consumption, though it leaves out fiber, which can be supplemented if juicing is done as a prolonged detox regimen, as during a fasting cleanse. Digestive enzymes help reduce some liver-related digestive complaints, according to Cabot. Herbs such as milk thistle and dandelion can be incorporated on a regular basis or as needed.

Fasting and calorie restriction

Fasting can be incorporated into daily life via juice fasts, which provide needed calories and nutrients to sustain energy, and even calorie restricted diets on sporadic days or at regular intervals can have a profound benefit on liver function and longevity, according to the Calorie Restriction Society.

Cleanse the colon, kidneys and skin

Prior to embarking on a liver detoxification program, says the website Healing Daily, it is advisable to cleanse the colon to prepare it for any added wastes that might result from liver detoxification. Colon cleansing uses probiotics for healthy flora, and fiber and water to promote elimination. Additionally, colonics, enemas and laxatives can be used. Similarly, the kidneys and skin, as the final organs of elimination, should be cleansed prior to the liver. Kidneys require water and, as needed or desired, herbs, such as couch grass and uva ursi, to promote filtration and reduce inflammation. For the skin, saunas increase the production of waste-removing perspiration and the website, Healing Tools, advocates a technique known as dry-brushing, which removes dead skin cells and stimulates circulation to the skin, where toxins can be released.

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About the Author

Tracey Roizman, DC is a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care and a practicing chiropractor. She also holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry.