14 Steps for Liver Support and Cleansing!
Proper liver support and cleansing is critical to your health, disease prevention and how well you age. As the companion article ”A Healthy Liver is Key to Effective Aging!“ pointed out, your liver is an amazing organ. Over 500 chemical and metabolic functions take place in the liver. This article outlines the steps needed to make a positive impact on the health of your liver. The more you support your liver the greater your opportunity to live a healthier life and slow down the aging process.
- Step 1 – Reduce your consumption of foods with artificial chemicals, artificial ingredients, artificial colorings, and preservatives. Every artificial substance that you bring into your body will have a direct impact on your liver. Take the time to read labels and find alternatives. At least 80% of the food you currently eat could be replaced by food items that are free of artificial substances. This first step is critical for proper liver support.
- Step 2 – Increase your water intake to at least ½ gallon of pure water per day. This becomes even more important if you diet, fast, or exercise because the fat-soluble toxins that were stored in your fat cells are going to be released back into your system. Your liver will have to process these fat-soluble toxins and convert them into water-soluble products that your body can eliminate through bile and urine. If you are dehydrated then you will slow down this process. It is estimated that 75% of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration.
- Step 3 – Increase your fiber intake. The suggested amount of fiber is 25-30 grams of fiber per day. You need fiber to properly absorb bile otherwise the toxins in the bile can be reabsorbed back into your system. Additionally, fiber will help keep your colon clean, help lower cholesterol, and can reduce weight gain by giving you a feeling of fullness.
Before we highlight the next steps in liver support, let’s talk about the nutritional needs for Phase One Detoxification. Cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are three vegetables that contain chemical compounds that stimulate both Phase One and Phase Two detoxification enzymes. One of these chemical compounds is indole-3-carbinol which is also a very powerful anti-cancer chemical. Additionally, they stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the gut as well as the liver. This makes the cabbage family of vegetables an important component for both liver support and cancer protection.
Oranges, tangerines, caraway and dill seeds also support Phase One and Phase Two detoxification enzymes. They all contain limonene, a phytochemical that has been found to prevent and treat cancer in animals. Additional nutrients like vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin E, caroteniods, and minerals such as copper, magnesium and zinc are necessary for proper liver support.
Avoiding the following items will benefit your liver because they inhibit Phase One detoxification. Eight ounces of grapefruit juice contains the flavonoid naringenin which will decrease Cytochrome P450 activity in Phase One Detoxification by as much as 30%. Antihistamines, stomach-acid blocking drugs, chili pepper, clove oil, and onions will also inhibit Phase One detoxification. However, onions will help in Phase Two detoxification.
The nutritional support for Phase Two Detoxification will include several important amino acids such as methionine, glycine, cysteine, glutamine, and arginine. Getting a complete amino acid profile from your protein intake is very important. Several additional nutrients like vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) and choline are critically important. Proper selenium intake is important.
Confused and overwhelmed? Let’s put all this together and add to our steps for proper liver support.
- Step 4 – You need a diet rich in vegetables and certain fruits. No longer can you pass your broccoli off to someone else. The cabbage family of vegetables is important for both liver support and cancer protection. Switch out any grapefruit product for orange juice or tangerines.
- Step 5 – You need a good vitamin supply through food or through supplementation. Make sure that all the B vitamins are included with at least 500 mg of vitamin C and adequate amounts of vitamin E.
- Step 6 – You need a good mineral supply. You can try to achieve this through your food but it will be better achieved through supplementation. I say this because most soil in the United States has been depleted of its mineral content. Most of the mineral content is in the skin of the food. Never pass up your potato skins ‘cause they are a great source of minerals. Get a good mineral supplement that contains magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium.
- Step 7 – Cut down on spicy foods. Chili peppers and onions don’t provide adequate liver support. You might also find that by cutting down on these items you can put away the Tums. This will benefit your liver and help your body absorb its calcium better.
- Step 8 – Make sure you’re getting enough Glutathione. This is a critical step in proper liver support. We’ve already seen how important glutathione is in both Phase One and Phase Two of liver detoxification, but glutathione is also found in all cells. It is your master antioxidant to protect you from free radical damage in all areas of your body. People who have a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit and meat should normally get enough glutathione from their diet. There are some conflicting reports about the effectiveness of getting glutathione from a supplement. Since your glutathione levels decrease with age, many people have chosen supplementation to save on caloric intake. My suggestion would be to ask for documented research and/or clinical studies to show the effectiveness of the glutathione supplement.
- You will note in Step 5, I suggested 500 mg of vitamin C. Research showed that this amount of vitamin C increased the average red blood cell glutathione concentration by nearly 50%. The reason is vitamin C increases the rate of synthesis of glutathione. However, more of vitamin C in this particular area is not necessary better. When vitamin C intake was increased to 2000 mg there was only an additional 5% increase in glutathione synthesis.
- Step 9 – Garlic helps in Phase Two sulfation conjugation. If you’re a fan of garlic, then all the more reason to continue. If you’re not, then you might want to take a garlic supplement. Or, eat your cruciferous vegetables and maybe have an egg with your salad.
- Step 10 – Digestive enzymes are important for both digestion as well as insuring that your body doesn’t steal the metabolic enzymes necessary for liver support. Fresh fruits and vegetables will aid in this area especially if they are ripe. Chewing your food properly also benefits both your digestive system as well as your liver.
- Step 11 – Watch your alcohol consumption. Not only does it effect your driving but, for some who are particularly sensitive, 1 ounce of alcohol can produce damage to the liver.
- Step 12 – Stop smoking. Not only does smoking affect your lungs and heart but it puts an additional strain on your liver because it depletes glutathione so significantly.
- Step 13 – Supplement with Silymarin. There are several plants that have shown beneficial effects on liver function, but the most impressive research seems to be on silymarin, a flavoniod extract from milk thistle. Silymarin prevents liver damage in three significant ways. First, it acts as a powerful antioxidant. Second, it increases the synthesis of glutathione. Third, it increases the rate of liver tissue regeneration. I don’t want to hype this too much but both human and animal studies have shown very positive results in providing liver support. The standard dosage for silymarin is 70-210 mg three times per day.
- Step 14 – Slow down the aging process. Aging decreases the blood flow through the liver thus reducing its ability to filter out toxins. Additionally, Phase One Detoxification enzyme activity decreases with age. You can take positive steps to slow down your aging by subscribing to our free bimonthly newsletter.
One Final Thought Because It Has To Do With Your Brain.
Don’t take this the wrong way but most of your brain is made up of fatty compounds. As we have already talked about most toxins are fat-soluble. If not filtered and treated by the liver then they will be stored in fatty tissue. Since your brain and hormonal glands are fatty organs, they are common sites for fat-soluble toxins to accumulate. This may result in brain dysfunction and hormonal imbalances such as infertility, breast pain, menstrual disturbances, adrenal gland exhaustion and early menopause. The daily care of your liver is the simplest and most effective method to cleanse your blood, remove toxins, take the load off your immune system, and help you live a healthier and potentially longer life.
Until next time, may we both age youthfully!
P.S. As a convenience, I’ve also included links to the following liver articles:
A Healthy Liver is Key to Effective Aging!
Glutathione – The Basics!
Glutathione Benefits – Disease Prevention!
Return from Liver Support to Glutathione & Liver Health
Return fromLiver Support to Aging No More (Home Page)
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