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What Is a Liver Cleanse?

A liver cleanse is a regimen aimed at detoxifying the liver, often involving a combination of diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes. It's thought to flush out toxins and support liver health. However, its efficacy and safety can vary. Curious about how it works and if it's right for you? Discover the potential benefits and risks as we delve deeper.
KD Morgan
KD Morgan

A liver cleanse is promulgated as a procedure for cleansing, detoxifying and healing the liver. There is no doubt that cleanses and various detox routines including a liver cleanse are controversial topics. Proponents of a liver cleanse claim that liver cleansing will improve overall health and significantly increase the entire body’s performance. Doctors and experts however argue that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims and that organs like the liver already have natural self-cleansing mechanisms. It very important to seek the advice of a doctor before undertaking any type of detox or cleanse program. Especially as many cleanses require fasting and limited food intake, negative side effects are possible. Especially those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure must acknowledge that such detox programs may exacerbate their condition.

As detox programs become more popular, a greater variety of programs with different rules can be found. These methods generally vary based on the organ which the plan claims to cleanse. In regards to a liver cleanse or detox, proponents often encourage cleansing of other organs and systems first. For example, they may advise to begin with the colon. It is often argued that if the colon is not previously flushed, waste will back up and enter the bloodstream, causing extreme nausea and illness. In order to have a productive cleanse, the blood coming through the liver should be as clean and clear of toxins as possible. Some also recommend a kidney and parasite cleanse prior to starting a liver cleanse.

Olive oil is an ingredient of a liver cleanse.
Olive oil is an ingredient of a liver cleanse.

Proponents of liver detoxification argue that chemicals, cholesterol deposits, fats, gallstones, metals and other toxic materials compromise the liver. They encourage the use of liver detoxification to maintain a healthy liver. The ingredients recommended in most liver detox programs are fresh organic apple juice, Epsom salts, olive oil and lemon juice. The procedure typically takes two days to complete. During that time, apple juice is consumed every two hours, except during sleep. Simple fruits and vegetables are the only foods that should be eaten during this time. At the end of the two-day juice fast, two tablespoons (30 ml) of Epsom salts in water are taken. This is done immediately before bed. The Epsom salts are followed by a half of a cup (120 ml) of organic, cold-pressed olive oil with lemon juice.

Proponents argue that liver cleansing detoxifies and heals a person's liver.
Proponents argue that liver cleansing detoxifies and heals a person's liver.

Another milder, easier cleanse recipe can be found in a liver flush. A common recipe is one teaspoon (5 ml) organic, cold-pressed olive oil, the juice of one lemon and the juice of two oranges. This is taken first thing in the morning upon rising. Then wait a half an hour, prepare, and drink a hot tea of one teaspoon (5 ml) fennel and one teaspoon (5 ml) fenugreek. The results are still impressive; however it is much easier on the system and you can continue with your regular daily activities.

Epsom salts are part of a liver cleanse.
Epsom salts are part of a liver cleanse.

Proponents of liver detox recommend undergoing the procedure twice a year. Detox programs mention side effects such as nausea and ill-health and claim that this is a natural result of the body flushing out toxins. Once the process is complete, a clear, fresh and rested feeling is promised.

Doctors and medical experts generally do not recommend or support the use of widely advertised detox and cleanse programs. Scientific studies do not show that use of such detox programs are medically useful or can actually detox organs. Experts note that a healthy liver and kidneys already do an excellent job of cleansing the body and these organs are not places where toxins accumulate. Medical experts argue that a healthy and balanced diet is sufficient to maintain healthy organs. Other opponents of detox programs argue that health problems such as liver stones are easily diagnosed through ultrasound and do not require haphazard cleansing diets. Some also argue that the stone-like substances that some individuals believe they pass after a detox is actually the result of the detox ingredients themselves.

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Discussion Comments


There's NO evidence that a liver "cleanse" accomplishes anything useful; and, depending on how compulsively one does it, there's potential harm.

If anyone can produce a single credible study showing benefit from liver cleanse, or any that suggest how it might work, it'd be most appreciated.

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    • Olive oil is an ingredient of a liver cleanse.
      By: grekoff
      Olive oil is an ingredient of a liver cleanse.
    • Proponents argue that liver cleansing detoxifies and heals a person's liver.
      By: kaianni
      Proponents argue that liver cleansing detoxifies and heals a person's liver.
    • Epsom salts are part of a liver cleanse.
      By: Brooke Becker
      Epsom salts are part of a liver cleanse.
    • A liver cleanse can cause nausea.
      By: jedi-master
      A liver cleanse can cause nausea.