Do liver cleanses work? Evidence and risks

The liver is your body’s largest internal organ. It’s responsible for more than 500 different functions in the body. One of these functions is detoxification and neutralizing toxins.

Knowing that the liver is a detoxification organ, you might think doing a liver cleanse could help your body recover faster after a big weekend, give your body that much-needed health kick, or boost your metabolism so you can lose weight faster. That’s what all those “liver cleanses” on the market claim they can do.

But truth be told, you’re likely wasting your money and could be doing your body more harm than good.

The reality is that toxins are everywhere in our environment, and our bodies have the built-in capacity to defend against these toxins naturally.

Of course, there are things you can do to improve your health and support healthy liver function.

Keep reading to learn how certain lifestyle changes can provide the real benefits that liver cleansing claims to give.

Every person’s health and well-being depends on how well her body removes and purges toxins. With exposure to environmental toxins, toxic body care products and processed foods, most people are in desperate need of a serious detox! A liver cleanse is a great way to do this.

One of the main ways that the body rids itself of toxins is through the liver. In fact, the liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It works tirelessly to detoxify our blood, produce the bile needed to digest fat, break down hormones, and store essential vitamins, minerals and iron.

When liver function is not optimal, we cannot digest our food properly, especially fats. That’s why it’s so important to avoid fatty liver and follow a liver cleanse diet to remove toxins from the body.

What Does the Liver Do?

Some of the essential functions of the liver include:

  • Processing nutrients absorbed by the intestines so they are more efficiently absorbed
  • Regulating blood composition to balance protein, fat and sugar
  • Destroying old red blood cells
  • Producing essential chemicals to help blood clot properly
  • Breaking down and metabolizing alcohol and medications
  • Producing essential proteins and cholesterol
  • Removing toxins from the bloodstream, including bilirubin, ammonia and others
  • Storing of minerals, iron and vitamin A

Scientists know that for the liver to take care of the body, it must be able to perform optimally. When many people think of liver disease, they often think of alcohol-induced cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a serious health condition, but contrary to popular thought, alcoholism is not the only cause.

In fact, there are a number of nonalcoholic factors that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver damage, including

  • Eating uncooked shellfish
  • Some medications (including acetaminophen)
  • Chronic malnutrition
  • Eating poisonous wild mushrooms and exposure to chemicals
  • Chronic hepatitis B

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