Liver health is one of the keys to overall health and wellness because it plays a vital role in supporting metabolism, synthesizing proteins and enzymes, and producing cholesterol. The liver can be vulnerable to pollutants, environmental toxins, certain foods, alcohol, medication, and heavy metals. So, maybe you’ve decided to start a liver detox or liver-cleansing diet. Maybe you are making smoothies and drinking liver detox tea. These kinds of liver detox regimens are trendy, but how can you tell if it’s working and if you are garnering the benefits of liver-friendly foods and herbs? Here we go through the signs of liver detox working to look out for.
If you’re curious about the signs that your liver detox is working, keep reading to find out more.
1. You Have More Energy
Having more energy is one of the telltale signs that your liver detox is working. Maybe you wake up feeling more refreshed than usual, and you have more power to get your day going. Or, perhaps you don’t need to take a nap when you get home from work. These small changes indicate that your liver cleanse protocol is working, and your liver is clearing oxidative stress and functioning more effectively.
2. Your Skin Clears Up
The liver plays a critical role in modulating hormone levels. If the liver is functioning more effectively, your hormone levels will be more balanced. As a result, following a liver detox or diet for liver health may actually reduce hormonal acne. Women may significantly benefit from this since many women experience acne linked to the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. You may notice fewer cystic breakouts along the jawline and lower cheeks around that time of the month.
3. You Feel More Focused
Completing a liver cleanse may help you feel more mentally energized and focused. When your liver is operating better, it can effectively and efficiently break down toxins and other components that may affect your mental energy. In a sense, doing a liver cleanse may essentially make your blood “cleaner,” meaning that fewer toxins get to your brain.
4. Less Bloating
When you are doing a liver cleanse, there is a good chance you will feel less bloated. When the liver functions more effectively, hormone levels will be more balanced, and the metabolism works better. As a result, you may notice less water retention.
5. Weight Loss
A sign of less-than-ideal liver function is weight gain. The right liver cleanse is also beneficial for your overall health since it is devoid of unhealthy foods. When you are eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, you are naturally increasing your fiber intake. Plus, eating a primarily plant-based diet means that you are consuming food that contains fewer calories. As a result, you may also lose a couple of pounds, if you are overweight to begin with.
6. Abdominal Pain Subsides
Abdominal pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen can be a sign that your liver is inflamed. The right liver cleanse, combined with a healthy diet, may help reduce liver inflammation. As a result, you may experience less liver pain.
Possible Unpleasant Side Effects of Liver Cleansing
Though a healthy liver cleanse provides many benefits for liver health and overall health, there may still be some possible side effects that you have to endure. Here are a couple of possibilities for what you might experience.
If the liver cleanse that you’re following recommends cutting out coffee, then you may be feeling more tired and lethargic than usual. You may also be experiencing throbbing headaches and difficulty concentrating. Remember that these side effects of caffeine withdrawal are temporary and are relieved when your body adjusts to your new caffeine-free routine.
Plus, coffee is actually healthy for the liver, so it may be worth reconsidering a liver cleanse that tells you to cut out coffee altogether. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine and are prone to excess adrenaline, it may be a good idea to cut back on the amount of coffee you consume.
If you take supplements for liver cleansing such as milk thistle or turmeric, keep in mind that your digestive system may not be totally accustomed to these products. For some individuals, concentrated herbs or spices may upset the digestive system. If you find that your stomach is sensitive to supplements, there are a few things that you can do to help your system handle them better.
- Take supplements with food. Taking supplements with food is one of the best ways to avoid stomach upset associated with pills. In particular, starchy foods like a peanut butter sandwich, bananas, and pasta are easy to digest and soothe the stomach. The food helps create a barrier between the pills and the stomach, allowing for better absorption of the nutrients in the pill and less nausea.
- Drink plenty of water. When you take liver supplements, make sure to drink plenty of water with them. Taking the supplements with a couple of glasses of water helps take the stress off the stomach and flush the nutrients into the digestive tract.
- Take a smaller dose. Taking a smaller pill means that your stomach and intestines have less work to do in order to break down and absorb the contents in the capsule. You may find that taking a smaller dose of the herb or spice quells the symptoms of nausea.
- Incorporate the herbs naturally. In many cases, herbs and spices are better absorbed when naturally incorporated into the food we eat. Plus, we then eat them in smaller concentrations, making them easier on the digestive system. For example, try adding extra turmeric to curry dishes and other savory dishes that you prepare, or try sprinkling turmeric into smoothies.
Not Feeling Any Different? Here Are a Few Ideas
If you don’t think the liver cleanse you’re doing is effective, try these tips to make sure that your liver cleanse is doing the trick.
Eat Plenty of Greens
A healthy diet is important in supporting liver health. Greens are a vital part of a liver cleanse because they are packed with nutrients like vitamins and minerals and potent antioxidants. In particular, cruciferous vegetables contain particularly potent antioxidants like sulforaphane. To increase your intake of cruciferous veggies, reach for foods like Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and cabbage.
Avoid Added Sugar and Simple Carbohydrates
Cutting sugar and simple carbs out of your diet is a massive part of the liver cleansing plan. Though tasty, sugar is highly inflammatory to the liver. Unfortunately, sugar is added to numerous food products that are staples in our diet. Cookies, cakes, sugary breakfast cereals, granola bars, and even salad dressings are packed with added sugars. To avoid processed carbs, steer clear of products like white bread, white pasta, and white rice.
Sugar spikes blood sugar and contributes to liver inflammation. Eating large amounts of added sugar over time increases the risk of developing conditions like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Keep in mind that you should only aim to cut added sugars out of your diet. The natural sugar found in fruit is perfectly healthy and beneficial when doing a liver cleanse. Fruit is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber that support liver health. Plus, the fiber in fruit slows down the digestion of fruit, preventing blood sugar spikes and providing a steady energy stream.
Eat Organic Foods
When possible, choose foods that are certified organic. Eating organic food means that the produce is grown without the use of pesticides. Pesticides are toxic substances used on crops to repel unwanted critters that may eat the food, like insects and animals. Although pesticides are useful for these purposes, they are also unhealthy for human consumption. Pesticides can build up in the body and cause certain cellular processes to become sluggish, especially in the liver.
Choosing organic produce means you are choosing food that isn’t grown with pesticides. Eating lots of organic produce means that you can get the benefits of the fruits and veggies while avoiding the negative effects of the pesticides. Choosing organic food allows your body to clear pesticides and chemicals from the body while healing from oxidative damage more quickly.
Avoid Extreme Food Restriction
Many liver cleanses recommend following an all-liquid diet for a prolonged period of time. However, following a juice diet or similar is only recommended for a shorter period of time, such as a day or two. A diet of only juice is high in sugar, which can be bad for liver health, and lacks critical nutrients for liver health, such as essential amino acids.
Moreover, a diet that’s too restrictive in calories may precipitate an acute episode of fatty liver disease in rare cases.
In general, doing a liquid-only diet is not necessary for cleansing the liver. However, if you would like to follow an all-liquid liver cleanse, stick to smoothies that offer a variety of nutrients and more calories.
Steer Clear of Alcohol
Alcohol does not belong on a liver-cleansing diet. Alcohol is an inflammatory agent for the liver. Alcohol consumption causes the buildup of byproducts called reactive free radicals, resulting in a state of oxidative stress and inflammation. Another harmful byproduct in alcohol metabolism is acetaldehyde, which causes inflammation and damage in the tissues throughout the body, including the liver. Over time, chronic excessive drinking can cause liver damage and conditions like alcoholic fatty liver disease, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.
Incorporating turmeric into your dietary regimen is a vital liver support step. Turmeric is a spice that has long been revered in Eastern medicine for its health-protective effects. Eating more turmeric has the potential to decrease liver inflammation and improve liver health. You can increase your turmeric consumption by adding it as a seasoning to savory dishes and sprinkling it in smoothies.
Alternatively, try creating this liver cleanse recipe: combine water, turmeric, ginger, and orange juice in a small glass.
Drink Green Tea
Like turmeric, green tea has long been recognized for its therapeutic effects in Eastern medicine. Green tea can be considered a liver detox tea, since it functions as a potent antioxidant for the liver as well as other organs in the body. Adding green tea to your daily regimen is an important part of the liver cleanse diet. Try brewing a cup of green tea in the morning and enjoying it with or instead of your cup of coffee. Green tea is energizing and contains some caffeine, so it’s best to consume it in the morning.
Eat a More Plant-Based Diet
Cutting back on your intake of animal proteins like cheese and meat simultaneously cuts back on your consumption of saturated fat, which is an important part of the liver cleanse diet. Eating too much saturated fat causes metabolic dysfunction by making it difficult for insulin to function normally. As a result, insulin is unable to deal with processing sugar properly, and sugar deposits as fat throughout the body. Eating a diet high in saturated fat contributes to the development of fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance.
On top of that, eating too much saturated fat from animal products is connected to atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of plaque on the sides of arterial walls. Over time, atherosclerosis leads to heart disease and cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes.
Instead, for optimal liver health, stick to a more plant-based diet that is rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Getting the Amino Acids That You Need
Amino acids are a healthy element for the liver. Research shows that the liver plays an important role in producing protein and carrying out metabolic processes and that amino acids are supportive for liver health. (1) Getting important amino acids in your diet helps support the liver to operate as efficiently as possible.
As long as your doctor approves it, you can incorporate essential amino acid supplements into your daily routine. Essential amino acid supplements supply amino acids like histidine, methionine, and threonine, which support optimal liver health.
Dandelion is thought to offer cleansing benefits for the liver. Brew a cup of dandelion tea and mix with lemon and ginger and enjoy once a day throughout the duration of your detox diet.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle After the Liver Cleanse
The best way to keep your liver healthy and promote liver repair is by maintaining a healthy and diet lifestyle over a long period of time. The liver is a very adaptable and resilient organ that responds positively to diet changes.
Things to Keep in Mind
It’s possible that doing a liver detox or eating a liver-friendly diet doesn’t actually change much in your day-to-day life. Maybe you feel pretty much the same. However, on a molecular level, your liver will likely be less inflamed and carry out its functions more effectively.
Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that a liver cleansing diet plan is not a cure for liver disease. A liver-friendly diet is an integral part of a treatment plan. However, it’s crucial to also undergo the necessary treatment for your condition. For example, if you have viral hepatitis C, it’s important to take curative medications.
Finally, it’s important to avoid doing a restrictive liver detox that entails drinking only tea or juice for many days on end. Extreme caloric restriction is unhealthy and rarely may even cause the acute development of fatty liver disease.
Does Your Liver Need a “Detox?”
Does the liver really need detoxing? The liver, on it’s own, is a pretty powerful detoxifier. It is responsible for breaking down and metabolizing all of the foods, drinks, and medication that we consume. The liver is also able to regenerate and is one of the most resilient and adaptable organs in the body.
There is no special potion that will promote permanent liver detox. A week-long liver detox may feel refreshing and help reduce inflammation in the short term, it won’t sustain liver health in the long run. Instead, the best way to promote liver longevity is by backing up occasional liver cleanses with a continued healthy, liver-friendly diet and lifestyle.
Signs of Liver Detox Working: Conclusion
If you are following a liver detox, it’s helpful to know of signs that it’s working. If you are doing a liver detoxification process, you will likely feel like you have more energy, focus better, and experience less bloating. You may even lose a few pounds. At the same time, you may also feel some initially unpleasant symptoms that arise from caffeine withdrawal or gastrointestinal effects from taking supplements. In any case, the best way to support liver health is by maintaining a liver-friendly diet, avoiding alcohol, getting the essential amino acids that you need, and incorporating potent antioxidants like turmeric and green tea.