A quick Google search will return many results for health specialists who claim that “liver cleanses” can free the body of toxic build-up in the liver. Though liver cleanses have become more popular in recent years, are they really necessary? More importantly, are liver cleanses safe?
The truth of the matter is that nearly all diseases are unrelated to toxins in the liver. Unfortunately, many quack doctors claim that liver cleanses can prevent hundreds of diseases, with some even suggesting that such cleanses will prevent cancer. Claims of this magnitude, however, are simply untrue.
Impaired liver function can certainly affect the body. In most cases, however, liver functioning will not impact an individual’s overall health unless one is suffering from hepatitis, autoimmune conditions, chronic liver disease, or liver cancer.
The liver’s main functions include filtering blood, producing bile, and separating nutrients from waste in the body. In short, the liver is made to detoxify the human body on its own. If toxins are entering the body at a normal rate, the liver should cleanse itself and the rest of the body on its own. Unless the body has been overrun by alcohol, medications, or other toxins, a “liver cleanse” would generally serve no purpose, as a normally-functioning liver will naturally rid itself of toxins.
Most “liver cleanse” beverages include substances such as lemon juice, oils, water, and salts. Though these drinks will likely do no damage to the liver, it is also unlikely that such “cleanses” will result in any tangible health benefits. Health “experts” who promote such cleanses often claim that frequent liver detoxification can prevent or cure diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, IBS, obesity, and more. These claims, however, are unsubstantiated. Liver toxicity is in no way connected to these serious health conditions. Visiting a doctor to treat your specific health condition is the best way of addressing such diseases. Fasting and “cleansing” the liver will not prevent, eliminate, or lessen these serious health conditions.
Some health professionals have even performed such liver cleanses on themselves and others. In many cases, the “liver stones” and “gall stones” eliminated after such cleanses are in fact just the oil consumed during the cleansing process. This is just another reason to believe that such “liver cleanses” are ineffective in treating actual health conditions and diseases.
If you would like to support your liver’s health naturally, you can do so without performing an elaborate cleanse. Consider eating more citrus fruits, leafy greens, and other vegetables; these foods will naturally aid your liver in functioning properly.
If you are particularly concerned about your liver, consider purchasing a milk thistle supplement to add to your diet. Thistle, which is often marketed as “silymarin” and “silybum,” can be purchased at most health food stores. This supplement will aid the liver in generating new cells and may protect the liver from further damage. Take these pills once or twice daily or as recommended on the package.
Though most liver cleanses will do you no harm, they are unlikely to benefit your health, either. Instead, take care of your liver naturally through a healthy diet, limited alcohol consumption, and regular exercise. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your liver strong.