I was asked this week, “do you think I should do a liver cleanse?”

Great question, should you?

Here is my thinking:

If you’re looking to cleanse your liver because you’re experiencing some symptoms then it would be wise to at least support the livers function, absolutely.

Symptoms of poor liver function could be:

  • Tenderness when massaging under the ribs on the right hand side
  • Abdominal discomfort that worsens with a deep breath
  • Retaining fluids and feel swollen around the middle
  • Throbbing headaches
  • General feeling of poor health

However before jumping into a cleanse, in true holistic style, I’d encourage you to look at the stages of digestion prior to the liver.

The poor old liver gets the job of tidying up after a mess has been made.  If you can make less mess, the liver will have less work to do and therefore won’t need a cleanse.  In fact, it will no doubt cleanse itself!

So how affective are the stages above your liver?  

Stage 1 – Mastication:  If you’re not chewing properly and enough you’ll disrupt optimal digestion further down the line.  Bugs and parasites live on all foods and part of the chewing process is breaking these things down.  If you don’t they have a much easier route into your digestive tract.  Chew at least 40x per mouthful.

Stage 2 – Stomach:  Low hydrochloric acid (HCL) will leave you wide open, again, to lots of pathogenic bacteria and sub-optimal absorption further along the digestive tract.  If you’re seeing partially digested food in your stool and you’re chewing well, consider seeing a professional to check optimal HCL levels.

Stage 3 – Small/Large Intestine:  By this stage of the digestive process we’re looking to finalise the absorption process and get rid of the waste that is not needed .  Insoluble fibre being one.  If you have a white fury tongue or are conscious of bad breath it is highly likely that the bacteria in these two organs is out of balance.  

A quick tip to help address that is, reduce starchy carbohydrates and eat more dark green leafy vegetables!

Improving your inbuilt cleansing ability would be the final stage before looking to do a full liver cleanse.  You can do this by:

Minimising toxic exposure – think food quality (organic and pesticide free) and environmental toxins (car fumes, toxic cleaning products, highly toxic personal care products)

Increase hydration – make sure you are hitting bodyweight in kilos x 0.0333 every day for your required amount of water.

Assist detoxification – sweating will help the cellular process of detoxification and make it easier for you to produce energy from your mitochondria inside each cell.  

Enhance you antioxidant reserves – vitamins A, C, E and selenium are vital for sufficient antioxidant uptake.  Again, make sure you are eating whole, organic foods and consider supplementing with a top quality multivitamin.

Improve mitochondrial function – mitochondria are the little power station inside each cell, if you become toxic they will have a hard time producing energy.  Increasing the amount of aerobic (not anaerobic where you are severely out of breath such as a spin class) exercise you are getting will help to improve their ability to make energy.

Once you’ve cleared all these steps and your liver it still a problem, then perhaps do a cleanse, but avoid doing so to get around the fact that you potentially have a diet or lifestyle that is not working for you.

Best wishes

Adam