Liver Detox and Cleansing
If you are concerned about liver disease or fatty liver disease, you may be interested in learning about a liver detox or liver cleanse. Read more about how to determine if this is the right decision and how to improve liver health.
Your liver is one of the most important organs in your body, completing hundreds of essential processes for the healthy functioning of our bodies. In particular, the liver plays a significant role in removing toxins, metabolizing food, breaking down fats, regulating hormones, and even fighting infections. For the most part, its functions are accomplished through its ability to produce bile, create special proteins, and adjust cholesterol levels. Each of these special abilities are affected by your diet, exercise, weight, amongst other factors related to health and wellness.
Likewise, the liver can be damaged by inattention or neglect to your health. Although the liver can endure a significant amount of injury, due to its incredible ability to repair and regrow, it can reach a point where it cannot perform its regular functions or even fail completely.
Unfortunately, it may be the case that you do not realize the initial symptoms of liver issues. As such, it is wise to keep your liver as strong and hardy as possible with consistent attention and care. To that end, you might want to perform a liver detox or cleanse. Learn more about keeping your liver in optimal condition with this quick start guide.
What is a Liver Detox?
A liver detox is an approach that an individual may take to remove impurities and toxins from the body or to cleanse the system to improve basic functions. Typically, detoxes are marketed to improve your health, lose weight, or reverse damage that has already occurred. However, there is little evidence to support these claims. In fact, performing an unsafe or untested liver flush can actually do more harm than good.
What is Liver Disease?
Liver disease refers to a variety of conditions that affect the structure and functioning of your liver. The most common conditions of liver disease are alcohol-related liver disease, cirrhosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In the worst-case scenarios, untreated or severe liver disease can often lead to liver cancer or liver failure.
According to the CDC, 4.5 million American adults aged 18 or older were diagnosed with liver disease in 2018. Further, as reported by the National Library of Medicine, liver disease accounts for two million deaths worldwide per year. By and large, liver disease can be a serious condition and it is advantageous to take your liver into consideration both in a preventative manner and for general health and well-being purposes.
There are many ways you can take preventative action against liver disease:
- Limit Alcohol: Prolonged or excessive alcohol use can lead to severe damage and scarring of the liver. The CDC recommends limiting alcoholic drinks to two drinks or less per day for men and one drink or less per day for women.
- Eat Nutritious Food and Exercise Regularly: Consuming a nutritious diet and performing regular exercise can be beneficial to your overall health and aid in maintaining a healthy body weight. PennState Health found that regular physical activity was beneficial for improving blood flow to the liver, decreasing liver inflammation, and reducing fat in the liver which can all significantly minimize the chance of severe liver issues.
- Regulate Medications: It is important to follow the proper instructions when taking medications as improper usage can impact your liver. You should also attempt to reduce the number of medications if possible. For instance, utilizing over-the-counter pain relievers can have a serious impact with long term usage.
- Lose Weight: Overweight and obese individuals are more likely to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is an excellent preventative measure to obtain and maintain a healthy weight. Healthy diet and exercise can aid in this objective.
- Prevent Hepatitis A, B and C: Hepatitis A, B and C can lead to serious damage in the liver. You should ask your doctor about receiving your Hepatitis A and B vaccinations if you have not already acquired them. Furthermore, you should take steps to ensure safe sex or safe needles.
Ways to Lose Weight and Minimize Fatty Liver
A common type of liver condition, fatty liver, occurs when the organ does not break down fats properly, and as such, an excess of fat develops and stays there. Over time, left untreated, it can cause liver damage or fatty liver disease. As John Hopkins Medicine notes, scientists have learned there are significant factors that lead to fatty liver. Similarly, there are steps you can take to prevent it:
- Lose weight: Obesity is correlated with high levels of fatty accumulation in the liver. On the authority of Harvard Medical School, it has been indicated that fatty liver affects between 70%-90% of people who are obese or have diabetes.
- Lower blood-fat levels: A high cholesterol level is both caused by fatty liver and manifests fatty liver. Since your liver is partially responsible for managing cholesterol levels, if it is damaged, it cannot perform this function correctly. It is crucial to manage triglycerides and LDL levels.
- Manage diabetes: Fatty liver disease is associated with type 2 diabetes, although it does not cause fatty liver. Rather, the same habits and lifestyle choices that cause type 2 diabetes tend to cause fatty liver because of the high insulin resistance.
- Lower blood pressure: Hypertension often is associated with insulin resistance, a well-known factor in the development of fatty liver disease. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it is beneficial to seek medical assistance and take the necessary actions to reduce it.
How to Support Natural Liver Functions and Improve Liver Health
The key to supporting your natural liver function or maintaining an overall excellent liver health is by nourishing your body. Likewise, if you are looking into a liver detox, a consistently healthy diet will assist your liver more than a miracle flush. Although a sustainable dietary plan will look different between individuals, it is generally a good idea to incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, foods that are high in antioxidants, and cruciferous vegetables.
A point often overlooked is the fact that toxic products should be minimized. A conscious effort should be made to increase the number of non-toxic or natural soaps, lotions, makeup, sprays, shampoos and conditioners, balms, and cleaning products within the home. It is also suggested to purchase organic food when possible and wash all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption to reduce the amount of pesticides ingested.