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Liver

Can you detox your liver?

Your liver is the largest internal organ in your body and is accountable for over 500 different functions. Detoxification is one of the functions, but many people want to know if it’s possible to neutralise toxins in your liver on your own.

It is constantly working hard between filtering toxins from your bloodstream, balancing macro and micronutrients, and regulating hormones. You may not acknowledge how much it works, and even when it stops functioning correctly, you don’t notice right away.

Unnoticed conditions can lead to a life-threatening condition called liver failure. According to Healthline, there are ways to prevent organ disease, such as a cleanse, which some people have vouched for to maintain a solid and healthy liver.

Is cleansing a need or a fad?

Because your liver is a detoxification organ, it is natural to think that a cleanse can help your body recover faster after a weekend of festivities, boost your metabolism, and give your body a health boost. 

These ‘cleanses’ promoted on the market also identify that the product may waste your money and harm your body further. Realistically, toxins are always in your environment. Your body has natural defences against these toxins. 

Most detoxes or cleanses come with strict instructions. The instructions usually tell you to fast or drink specific liquids for a couple of days. The detox directions may include a restricted diet and the consumption of herbal or dietary supplements. 

It is best to do as much research as you can before purchasing a ‘cleanse’ product, or to speak to a healthcare provider on what they think about the spoecific product. 

The safety of detoxes

WebMD notes that there are various medical treatments for liver conditions. However, most research has not shown that detox programmes or supplements can fix liver damage. It may be more harmful than not. 

Studies surrounding herbal and dietary supplements show an increase in liver injuries. An example mentioned is coffee enemas involved in some regimens that may cause fatal infections and electrolyte problems.

More about detox programmes and products

  • The ingredients may be harmful. Some companies have made false claims about how well their product treats serious diseases.
  • Unpasteurised juice has the potential to make you sick. It is especially harmful to older people or people with weak immune systems. 
  • If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before starting a diet that affects your liver. 
  • There are detox programmes that include fasting. This may lead to you feeling weak, faint and dehydrated. Headaches can also become an issue. If you have hepatitis B that has already caused damage, fasting is not the best option. 

Natural remedies and lifestyle changes

Keep your alcohol consumption low.

For every alcoholic beverage that you consume, your liver processes it. It doesn’t matter if it’s wine, beer or spirits. The quantity of alcohol you consume determines how hard your liver needs to work. Try to pay attention to how many drinks you have. 

Excessive drinking, over some time, destroys the organ’s cells. Several conditions are alcohol-related, such as alcoholic fatty liver disease, acute alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis. 

Pass up on mixing alcohol and medication. The combination adds excess strain.

Eat healthy fats

Choosing the right type of healthy fats is important, says Medicine Net.

Avoiding too much unhealthy fat and salt may help to keep your organ healthy. This is because a high-fat diet is a large contributor to fatty liver disease.

Choose to eat healthy fats from plant sources:
  • almonds,
  • coconut,
  • walnuts,
  • chia seeds,
  • flax seeds,
  • and pumpkin seeds.

 

You can also have fat from healthier animal sources such as eggs and fatty fish (salmon).

Take note of the medication you are using.

Any medication passes through your liver and gets broken down there. Most drugs are safe for your liver when taken as prescribed. However, too much of any medicine and if it’s the wrong type can harm your liver. 

Your doctor or pharmacist can also advise whether your medication negatively affects your liver. A liver test is available to you, and depending on the results, you can start a new drug.

Liver-friendly dieting

Your diet affects how healthy or unhealthy your liver is. For a long term guarantee on a healthy liver, there are dietary tips, such as eating a variety of food. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy and healthy fats are examples of the variety you can choose from.

Fibre helps keep your liver functioning smoothly, and so does drinking enough water every day. Try to cut down on fatty, sugary and salty food – especially fried and fast foods.

A trusted source shows that coffee can lower the risk of liver conditions, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Coffee prevents the build-up of fat and collagen, which are two aspects of liver disease. 

Do your research

Detoxes and cleanses are becoming more and more popular. There is no scientific evidence that they work, but you may feel otherwise. 

Many of the products aren’t regulated like medicines, leaving their effectiveness and long term side effects unknown. Always consult a registered physician before undertaking any detoxes, especially if you are on chronic medication, pregnant or breastfeeding.

The safer option for you may be a healthy lifestyle and habits.

Affinity Health is an authorised Medical Insurance provider with a network of doctors and hospitals to choose from.

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