About the Liver
The liver is situated beneath the diaphragm on the right side of the abdomen. It is about the size of a football and weighs around 3 lbs. The liver is responsible for several major bodily functions including secretion of bile (which is essential for the emulsification and absorption of fats), for the conversion of sugar into glycogen, for the production of urea (which is the main component of urine), and the filtration of toxins from the blood in order to keep impurities out. One of the most amazing aspects of the liver is its capacity to repair and regenerate itself within about two months thanks to a blood supply that is rich in nutrients.
Everything you eat, drink, inhale, or put on your skin will be processed by your liver.
Detoxify your environment by avoiding pesticides, trans fats, pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medicines, drug use, smoking, excessive alcohol, synthetic hormones, processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, chemicals in personal care products, and toxic cleaning supplies are just a few ways to lessen your toxic burden.
Avoid these toxins
- Filter your drinking water to avoid exposure to chlorine, fluoride, and other toxic compounds. Read more about water below.
- Don’t drink alcoholic beverages
- Don’t take prescription or over the counter medications
- Avoid Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, as it is toxic to the liver
- Rethink your cleaning supplies and go with a combination of baking soda and vinegar.
- Avoid dry cleaning
- Avoid fire retardants that are found on clothing and furniture.
- Avoid products that contain Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster, and Gore-Tex- that are are used for their non-stick, water repellent, or stain resistant qualities. These are all extremely toxic and widely-used as water, grease and stain repellents. They are commonly found in carpets, stain resistant clothing, and Teflon coated pots and pans. Because of their design, once they are in the body they can be very difficult to remove.
- You can find recipes for DIY personal care products and household cleaning products with this post.
Simple therapies that help support the liver:
- Start your day with a glass of warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This delivers antioxidants to boost liver function and it stimulates a cleansing effect.
- Drink lemon water throughout the day, it is alkalizing and cleansing for the entire digestive system.
- Have a juice/ smoothie fast for 1 day of each week, (or as your schedule allows) to give your liver a rest from the daily abuse that it is subjected to.
- Drink fresh green juices or smoothies made with kale and chard to activate the liver’s ability to flush out toxins.
- Include beets into your juicing routine. They are cleansing to the kidneys and liver and promote liver regeneration.
- Include raw greens such as arugula, watercress, and dandelion greens into your diet as they also have a cleansing effect on your liver.
- Switch to organic produce as it will not have the toxic pesticide and herbicide residues that are found on conventional produce that would need to be processed by the liver. Read more about pesticides and herbicides.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of pure water everyday. Read more below
- Take psyllium husks – these assist the liver by absorbing toxic bile and eliminating it from the body. Bile is not excreted from the body as you might expect, it is repeatedly recaptured and recirculated for digestion. Because of this, it becomes more concentrated with toxins that can lead to all sorts of inflammatory diseases such as gallbladder disease, intestinal inflammation, etc. Psyllium absorbs this toxic bile and does not release it, so the liver must produce fresh bile.
- Dandelion roots are used to stimulate the appetite and for assisting with liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion can be taken as a tea or as a supplement
- Read more about Dandelion and Cancer
- Milk Thistle is an herb that is known for its healing properties specifically for the liver. It consists of a group of flavonoid compounds called Silymarin, which is important in devouring free radicals that can harm healthy cells and prematurely age the body. Supplementing with Milk Thistle may also help with hepatitis, cancer of the liver, cirrhosis, inflammation, fatty liver, liver damage, chemical exposure, and Parkinson’s disease. Milk Thistle is also known for increasing the production of glutathione and bile flow which helps to detoxify, repair and regenerate the liver.
- Bio-available Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that demonstrates remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as a host of other health benefits. The Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine reports that curcumin increases the liver’s bile production, which assists in the metabolism of fats during digestion and enhances the liver’s detoxification process. The Desk Reference further adds that curcumin protects the liver from damage caused by alcohol and toxins. Read more about curcumin/turmeric for cancer
- Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant shown to decrease the amount of hepatic fibrosis associated with liver injury and cirrhosis of the liver. Because alpha-lipoic acid is fat soluble, it can penetrate the cell membrane to exert therapeutic action. There is also potential for ALA in treating chronic diseases, including various types of cancers.
Ginger and Turmeric Tea
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger (or 1 inch of fresh ginger, cleaned, peeled and sliced thin)
- 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 1/8 tsp coarse ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup or raw honey
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Bring water to a boil, then turn heat to low and add ginger, turmeric, and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes then strain mixture into a mug, stir in maple syrup and lemon. Enjoy while warm. I stir this as I drink it so the turmeric does not settle at the bottom of the cup.
Water: your body needs a minimum of 50 ounces of water per 100 pounds of body weight per day. “Buy a filter or be a filter.” Consider purchasing a reverse osmosis water system or some other filtration device that will remove the fluoride, chlorine, chromium 6, arsenic, lead, and other chemicals and metals which are found in municipal water supplies. A simple carbon filtration system will only remove chlorine so don’t assume that any filter will do. Installing an appropriate water filter will make sure that you are getting the purest drinking water possible. RO machines will remove toxins from the water but they also remove the essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and this will make the water more acidic. You can find RO systems that will filter the water and then add minerals back into it such as this one. Regular maintenance is required on this type of filtration system with the filters requiring to be changed regularly, so if you are not mechanically inclined many companies offer to rent these systems to you for about $25.00/ month and will come in and do the maintenance for you.
Recipe to make filtered water more alkaline: take one gallon of water and add 1/2 tsp of Himalayan sea salt, the juice of 4 lemons or limes (and toss in the peels too), and drink this throughout the day. Sea salt contains 82 trace minerals which can enhance this water with minerals. Lemons and limes create an alkaline ash following their digestion.
More Liver Detoxing Therapies