Liver cleanse and detox: does it really help your liver?
It is becoming increasingly common for people to freak out about maintaining good health and hop onto all sorts of non-scientific claims for the sake of it. The recent trend of this fad is a “liver detox” or “liver cleanse”. Let us understand the hype and if it is worth the effort.
What is the function of a liver?
The liver is an organ in the human body that has more than 500 functions. The chief among them is regulating chemical levels in the blood & removing toxic substances in the form of bile.
What is a liver cleanse or detox?
A liver cleanse/ detox is a programme that claims to improve the liver’s function by restricting diet to particular foods, helping the liver flush out the toxins in the body.
How does the liver get affected?
The liver is a unique organ that can regenerate after damage or scarring caused due to various factors. The most common factors causing liver damage are:
- Excessive drugs or alcohol consumption
- Family history
- Obesity leading to fatty liver
- Transfer of infection due to body fluids resulting in low immunity because of HIV
What are the common liver diseases?
The most common liver diseases triggered due to the above causes are as follows:
- Scarring or Cirrhosis
- Liver Cancer
- Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease
Fortunately, there are vaccines & medications for the prevention & also liver damage treatment of such disease
Does a liver detox work?
While there are reports of better health after taking up this programme, there is no scientific evidence to back the claim of liver function improvement or repair from liver diseases.
It is wise to remember that our body has ways of maintaining good health & the liver is no exception. It can regenerate itself from mild scarring and tissue damage. But it is only sensible to avoid giving significant load to the liver by excessive alcohol & drug usage or junk food and then simply do a liver cleanse.
The common foods suggested in the liver cleanse programmes are mint thistle, turmeric, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, green tea and coffee, alternative grains etc. Though these foods are necessary for holistic wellness, it is not good to cut down on eating only one particular type of food. Also, consuming a reduced quantity of food for the cleanse might seem to aid in weight loss. But it is gained back easily once you switch to your usual diet.
Can liver cleanse cause harm?
For normal individuals, there might be an improvement in their health after a liver cleanse. Consult the best liver transplant surgeon in Chennai if you have other complications or liver diseases. Doing a liver cleanse does not give balanced nutrition to the body. It may result in a decrease in the metabolism rate and even worsen the existing liver damage.
How do we prevent liver diseases?
Like any other disease, we can prevent liver diseases by focusing on a good diet, drinking plenty of water, regular exercise and reducing or avoiding risky habits like alcohol or drug consumption. Practice safe sex and do not get tattoos from non-regulated shops.
The bottom line is that liver cleansing programmes use unregulated supplements. But supplements are just that. They can never replace medications and real lifestyle changes. A limited quantity of all the foods suggested in a liver cleanse programme should be a part of your regular diet for overall good health and wellness.