There are so many detox products on the market, what do you recommend for supporting liver health and general detoxification?
There are no products that "detox" the body, the body has specific organs that do this continuously. However, there are many foods and herbs that can support liver function.
The liver is the main detoxification organ, and because it has so many other functions as well, (including bile production, carbohydrate metabolism regulation, hormone regulation, blood filtration, and GTF synthesis) it is important to keep this organ functioning optimally.
The liver has two phases of detoxification. The first phase alters the toxins making them weaker and/or water-soluble. The water-soluble toxins are then excreted via the kidneys. Phase two neutralizes the altered toxins, which are then excreted via the colon.
Foods that Support Phase 1:
Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli*, Brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower), Citrus, and Vitamin C and B complex (choose food sources or whole-food based supplement)
Foods that Support Phase 2:
Asparagus*, Walnuts*, Avocado*, Artichoke, Brassicas, Vitamin C and B complex, Sulphur foods (garlic*, onion, broccoli), Citrus, Beets, Carrots, Dandelion, Turmeric*, and Leafy Greens*
Supplements and Herbs:
*Helps increase glutathione production.
The foods that support the liver detoxification pathways have numerous benefits and definitely belong in your daily diet.
Adding in extra herbs or supplements for liver support is not necessary for many people, but some may benefit from short-term, occasional use. It is best to discuss the use of these supplements with your health care provider.
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Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist specializing in vegan diets.