Liver cleanses promise to remove toxins and impurities from the body, but they are controversial because there is little scientific data to support their use.
Some products that claim to detoxify the liver may even be dangerous. In this article, we take a look at how liver cleanses claim to work and what evidence exists to support them.
What is a liver wash?
A liver flush may involve choosing or avoiding specific foods, or doing a juice fast. The liver is the body’s natural detoxifier, cleansing the body of toxins and producing bile to support healthy digestion. A healthy liver can detoxify almost anything a person encounters. The liver is located on the right side of the body, just below the rib cage.
When the liver is diseased, the body cannot filter toxic substances as effectively. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including:
– yellow and yellowish skin
– blood vessel problems
Several natural health practitioners, dietary supplement companies, and medical websites claim that the liver accumulates toxins during the filtering process. They insist that over time these toxins can cause a variety of non-specific symptoms and can even cause serious illness or increase the risk of cancer. There is little evidence to support this claim. However, over time, exposure to chemicals can damage the liver. For example, drinking alcohol is a well-known way to ruin liver function over time.
In most cases, a liver detox involves one or more of the following:
– take supplements designed to remove toxins from the liver
– adopt a liver-friendly diet
– avoid certain foods
– follow a juice diet
– cleanse the colon and intestine using enemas.
Although liver failure is a serious health condition, there is no evidence that dangerous toxins accumulate in healthy livers without specific exposure to large amounts of these chemicals. General practitioners say that the liver does not need to be detoxified and that it could even be dangerous.
Liver Cleanse: Fact or Fiction?
A liver flush will not cure liver disease and should not be used as a substitute for normal treatment. A healthy liver cleanses itself naturally. A diseased liver will not get better with a liver flush. A person with liver disease needs appropriate medical treatment and may require changes in lifestyle or diet. There is some evidence to suggest that supplements, such as milk thistle, can improve liver health. However, there is no evidence that these supplements detoxify the liver or that they can cure liver disease.
Liver flushes also pose some health risks:
– Liver cleansing diets may not provide balanced nutrition: A liver cleansing diet may not contain all the nutrients a person needs. Over time, this can lead to deficiencies or malnutrition, especially in children, pregnant women, and people with diabetes or other health conditions.
– Enemas can be dangerous: Enemas can cause fatal damage to the intestines when not administered correctly.
– Liver flushes cannot replace medical treatment: When a person uses a liver flush instead of medical treatment, serious underlying medical conditions may not be treated.
Can liver cleansing help you lose weight?
Some liver cleanses promise to help with weight loss by improving a person’s metabolism. Proponents of this practice believe that ridding the liver of toxins can improve metabolism, but there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, very low-calorie diets can slow down the body’s metabolism. This is because the body adapts to the low intake of nutrients by absorbing them more slowly. Some diets that claim to improve liver health require people to eat few calories for several days. This can cause temporary weight loss. Much of this weight loss, however, is water weight, which will return as soon as the person eats normally again.
Good foods for the liver
Avoiding foods that are high in fat, such as meat, fish, or dairy products, can help people with liver disease. Although it is not possible to cleanse the liver with a specific food or combination of foods, doctors may recommend dietary changes for people with liver disease. For most people, avoiding high-fat foods and alcohol can reduce the risk of liver disease.
Doctors may offer dietary recommendations for people with specific liver conditions:
– Bile duct disease: Use fat substitutes and pit oil for cooking, since the body needs less bile to break it down.
– Cirrhosis: Limit salt intake. It may also be necessary to reduce protein intake, but only under the supervision of a doctor.
– Fatty liver disease: Eat foods rich in fiber and avoid foods high in calories.
– Hemochromatosis: Avoid foods rich in iron and iron supplements. Don’t eat raw shellfish.
– Hepatitis C: Avoid iron-rich foods and iron supplements. Reduce salt intake.
– Wilson’s disease: Limit foods rich in copper, such as mushrooms, chocolate and nuts.
People with healthy livers do not need to follow a specific diet. It is enough to follow a balanced, complete and varied diet and limit the consumption of alcohol to preserve the health of the liver.
Other ways to improve liver health
Here are some simple strategies that can reduce the risk of liver disease and help the liver remove toxins from the body:
– Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for liver disease. People with alcohol addiction should consider treatment.
– Avoid unnecessary over-the-counter medications: Never exceed the recommended dose. Don’t mix alcohol and over-the-counter medications.
– Choose reputable tattoo and piercing parlors: Choose a parlor that sterilizes their equipment. Dangerous body modifications can transmit hepatitis C.
– Get vaccinated: a person should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, and ensure they receive the appropriate vaccinations before traveling abroad.
– Practice safe sex: This can reduce the risk of transmitting diseases that affect the liver. You should also get regular tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
– Avoid potentially dangerous chemicals: When painting or using pesticides, wear a mask and make sure the area is well ventilated.
– Drink a lot of water.
– Rinse fruits and vegetables: This ensures that they do not contain pesticides.
Should you try a liver wash?
A healthy liver is essential to maintaining a person’s overall health, but costly cleanses or diets are not necessary. In some cases, they can even be dangerous.
A healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and regular doctor visits are far more beneficial to liver health than any fad diet or cleanse. Liver cleanses do not offer any proven benefit. To protect liver health, people can adopt a more comprehensive, long-term health strategy.
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