MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY ELIZABETH A. SWICK, MS, RDN

Fact or Fiction: Can Supplements Naturally Detox the Liver?

Fact or Fiction: Can Supplements Naturally Detox the Liver?

How Does the Liver Detoxify the Body?

The liver is the body's primary "cleaner" for toxins. It filters the blood, transforming toxins into harmless waste for excretion (e.g., via urine). It is also central to the body's metabolic processes, including processing numerous medications and digesting nutrients such as fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. 

The Role of Antioxidants in Liver Protection and Health

One of the liver's essential functions is to metabolize compounds that produce free radicals. Having too many free radicals in the liver can create a state of oxidative stress that can ultimately result in liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis or severe scarring of the liver). 

Antioxidants are essential for scavenging free radicals to reduce oxidative stress. Consuming high-antioxidant foods and compounds is thought to be one of the best ways to reduce the risk of liver disease.

Detoxing the Liver Naturally with Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Several important lifestyle choices may help to support the health of the liver and its innate detoxification functions, which are essential for overall wellness:

Increase Daily Water Intake

Drinking plenty of water to maintain healthy hydration levels may be one of the most effective ways to detox the liver naturally. Consuming enough, but not too much, water typically allows the liver to transport toxins out of the body without any delay. 

Create an Exercise Routine to Sweat More

Vigorous exercise that causes sweating may help the body to excrete toxins more efficiently as well. Some of the best exercises for this purpose are thought to be yoga, jogging, and running, or weightlifting and regularly using exercise machines at the gym.

Eat a Liver-Friendly Diet that’s Low in Toxins

A "liver detox diet" avoids burdening the liver with excessive amounts of added toxins. Processed foods that contain high concentrations of refined oils, sugar, and/or chemical preservatives not only commonly expose the body to more toxins but may also fail to provide the vitamins and micronutrients that the liver needs to function optimally. 

But what foods are actively beneficial for the liver? High-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are thought to be incredibly healthy for the liver. Similarly, foods that have lots of potassium may help to cleanse the liver; these foods include sweet potato, tomato sauce, beet greens, spinach, beans, and bananas.

Limit Alcohol Consumption to Reduce Exposure to Carcinogens

After consuming alcohol, liver enzymes transform the alcohol into compounds such as acetaldehyde and methanol, which are thought to be carcinogens (i.e., highly toxic chemicals that are believed to increase cancer risk). Avoiding alcohol consumption reduces the quantity of harmful toxins that the liver is forced to process and remove from the body and thus reduces the overall burden on the liver. 

Liver Detox Supplements

Common Ingredients and Their Functions

The following ingredients are often found in supplements that are designed to detox the liver as well as to support the liver in its own natural, endogenous detoxification processes:

Dandelion Root

Early research on the topic suggests that dandelion tea may help detoxify the liver by increasing the flow of bile. This study suggests that dandelion root extract may have liver-protective effects.

Artichoke Extract

A review and meta-analysis on the effects of artichoke supplementation on liver enzymes suggests that the ingredient may reduce serum levels of liver enzymes AST and ALT.

Choline

Choline is a nutrient that comes primarily from food, but the liver also produces some of its own. This nutrient is essential for lipid (i.e., fat) metabolism and for cleansing fatty build-up in the liver. It is also involved in the process by which the body transports fat from the liver into the cells for use as energy.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is a fatty acid commonly found in food and produced by the body, and it is believed to have antioxidant properties. It may help restore the liver's cells and, in tandem with NAC (discussed in the next section), helps support glutathione production. Glutathione is another powerful antioxidant that is thought to help the immune system function and may reduce damage to liver cells in patients suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

N-acetyl cysteine, better known as "NAC", is a type of cysteine (an amino acid) commonly used for nutritional supplementation. Many foods with high protein levels also contain cysteine: chicken, beef, fish, pork, beans, grains, dairy products, and nuts are all excellent sources of cysteine.

Because NAC supplementation increases the body's glutathione levels, NAC and glutathione levels correlate with one another. This correlation can be attributed to the fact that the body may require NAC, glycine, and glutamine (all amino acids) to synthesize its glutathione. As previously discussed, glutathione is thought to have numerous health benefits, including antioxidant effects, immune support, and hepatoprotective (liver-protective) effects.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle has been known as a folk remedy for liver, kidney, and gallbladder conditions for over 2,000 years. Preliminary research has confirmed the benefits of milk thistle so far, but more investigation is needed to understand its mechanism of action (otherwise known as how it works).

The compounds that may make milk thistle effective are a flavonoid complex (or collection of plant compounds) known as silymarin. Silymarin comprises silybin, silychristin, silydianin, and isomer flavonolignans, which are most prevalent in milk thistle seeds and fruit. Silibinin, which comes from milk thistle, is believed to have notable benefits for liver conditions.

Milk thistle supplementation is most often aimed at improving liver health. For instance, those who take milk thistle extract may be attempting to support their liver as they suffer from alcoholic liver disease, fatty liver disease, hepatitis, or liver cancer. In addition, milk thistle may protect against dangerous toxins such as those produced by the death cap mushroom.

The Best Liver Detox Supplement

The best supplements for the liver contain the most effective ingredients for liver support, such as those listed above. 

InnerThera Liver Detox

InnerThera Liver Detox is one of the best NAC supplements and one of the leading liver detox supplements on the market since it also contains milk thistle extract, alpha lipoic acid, and choline in highly potent and bioavailable forms. These highly potent liver detox compounds are also delivered at their optimal, clinically effective doses in just two capsules per day: 300 mg of N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), 360 mg of Siliphos™ Milk Thistle, 300 mg of alpha lipoic acid, and 175 mg of VitaCholine®.

Liver Detox's powerful combination of four hepatoprotective ingredients may help to support the liver's natural processes of detoxification, fat breakdown, and metabolism. As a result, those taking InnerThera Liver Detox may experience benefits such as increased everyday energy levels, balanced liver enzymes, and reduced liver inflammation. 

InnerThera Liver Detox is formulated to target the four central pillars of liver function: detoxification, metabolic energy, nutrient storage, and protein synthesis. Highly absorbable Siliphos® milk thistle's antioxidant properties may neutralize free radicals, block toxins, and reduce inflammation. VitaCholine®, alpha lipoic acid, and NAC are thought to boost glutathione levels while minimizing the overall toxic burden on the liver.

Like all InnerThera products, Liver Detox is manufactured in a state-of-the-art, FDA-regulated facility in the United States. For even greater peace of mind, each InnerThera product is also third-party tested for purity and potency before it is sold.