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9 Drinks for Detoxing to Improve Liver Health

Evidence-based Reviewed Article

An image of various foods for liver detoxThe liver is one of the body’s largest organs and most important multi-taskers. It helps to naturally detox your body by removing toxins and waste products. Additionally, it can aid in metabolism, help your body build proteins, digest hormones, and much more. However, due to illness and chronic stress, your liver can start to function suboptimally. This can result in numerous symptoms as well as your body retaining toxins and waste products. Whilst it is important to address the root cause of liver dysfunction, some remedies can assist your body in detoxing. These include drinks for detoxing. This article will explore the top drinks for detoxing that may help improve your liver health.

Your Liver and Stress

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System is how your body deals with stress. The NEM system consists of six different circuits, each with its own role in managing stress.

In response to stress, the adrenal organs are the first line of defense, responsible for producing over 50 stress hormones, including the most prevalent and important – cortisol. The liver is second in line and is commonly affected as well.

The Detoxification Circuit is one of the six circuits in the NEM system, and it ensures that the body is clean and ready to handle anything that is thrown at it. The liver is one of the organs that is part of this circuit. Therefore, a healthy liver is necessary for a functional Detoxification Circuit.

When stress continues over a long period, your adrenal glands can begin to fatigue. The body can often become congested and bogged down by a buildup of toxins and metabolites. This is often due to a sluggish liver that gets overwhelmed as the body loses energy and must slow down to conserve energy.

This can start to cause imbalances within the NEM system, and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) can set in. This is the non-Addison's form of adrenal dysfunction, where the body’s stress response cannot keep up with life’s chronic stressors. There are many different symptoms of AFS and these symptoms will depend on where the imbalance/s in the NEM system is occurring. An imbalance in the Detoxification Circuit can cause symptoms such as brain fog and hypersensitivity to chemicals, medications, supplements, and electromagnetic fields.

What Can Affect Your Liver Health?

Stress can come from many sources, including work, finances, or your personal life. However, many other stressors can put a strain on your liver, resulting in an imbalance in the Detoxification Circuit.

Some common causes of stress that can cause strain on your liver include:

  • Alcohol
  • Poor diet
  • Conditions such as hepatitis
  • Aggressive fasting
  • Aggressive detoxing practices such as enemas and liver flushes
  • Excessive pollution
  • Prescription medications
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive exercise
  • Excessive heat

Improving Liver Health

Detoxing is one of the many practices that can assist with optimizing your liver health.

However, while detoxifying the liver appears to be a logical approach, it needs to be done carefully. If not, it can worsen adrenal fatigue, cause liver damage, and create new health problems. Please talk to your doctor before trying any detox measures, and begin with the most gentle methods possible. Slow and gentle detoxes are key to protecting your health long-term.

Drinks for Detoxing

Water - The Ultimate Drinks for Detoxing

An image of a woman drinking waterWhilst water is obviously one of the most important fluids that humans rely on, it is also essential for flushing out toxins from your body.

Drinking sufficient water can help the liver with the process of detoxification and assist the liver in carrying out its basic functions. These include the digestion, absorption, and excretion of waste products as well as the secretion of bile which aids in digestion. Dehydration can cause slower digestion and removal of toxins from the body.

Drinking water moments after waking stimulates your liver and helps rid the body of the toxins it has been breaking down overnight. Adding lemon slices to water may also help to detox and balance the pH of your body – and it tastes good, too.

However drinking too much water can be detrimental to your health, so quantity is important. The recommended fluid intake is around eight cups of water per day, but this amount depends on multiple factors such as weight, activity levels, and temperature.

Bitters - Brewed for Detoxing Delight

This is an extract that can be made with plants such as herbs, roots, and spices, and it is prepared in an alcohol-based infusion. There are many different types of bitters, with some being used for drinks such as cocktails. However, there are also medicinal bitters that can help to improve your liver health.

Bitters can aid in detoxification by helping the liver break down nutrients and impurities. A recent study using ruzu bitters, a mixture originating from Nigeria, found that in rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver, this drink had a protective effect on the liver. Additionally, the bitters had a high content of antioxidants and helped to neutralize free radicals produced from toxins and waste products, helping to reduce inflammation. Whilst more research is necessary, the research does show promise in protecting liver function (1).

Purgatives  - Remove Toxins Properly

Toxins removed from the liver in cleansing will only be reabsorbed if not purged from your bowels. Purgatives help to expel the contents remaining in your bowels. Psyllium husks, chia seeds, and flax seeds are types of fiber that can be used as purgatives. These are safe to use daily.

Stir a teaspoon into two cups of water or tea, and then flush it with water half an hour before any other foods, supplements, or drinks, or two hours after. Some people can develop paradoxical effects and become constipated. If you suffer from an irritable bowel, proceed with caution.

Herbal Teas

There are a range of different herbal teas that may assist in detoxification and enhancing your liver health. Some common herbal teas that are used for this purpose include:

  • Dandelion
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric

These teas are rich in polyphenols. These are plant compounds that are rich in antioxidants. They help to protect against free radicals, reducing inflammation and preventing further damage to your cells.

However, these teas can interact with certain medications in some cases. If you are taking medication and would like to try these teas, check with your healthcare provider first.

Probiotic - Drinks for Detoxing for Gut Health

An image of probiotic drinksThese drinks can be a handy tool, as not only do they help enrich your gut health, but they also play a role in detoxification. Your gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Ideally, the ratio of beneficial bacteria should be higher than harmful bacteria. However, due to stress, illness, and even pollution, harmful bacteria can become more prevalent.

The beneficial bacteria may play a role in detoxification by helping to metabolize xenobiotics (chemical substances that are foreign to your body) and can protect your body against them. Additionally, probiotics can help to modulate your immune system and lower inflammation in the gut.

There are a range of different probiotic drinks that you can try such as kombucha and kefir (2).

Water Infusion Drinks - Flavorful Drinks for Detox

Water is necessary for optimal hydration, and it can be used with other ingredients to improve its detoxing effect. This can also be a great alternative for individuals who do not enjoy the taste of water by itself.

Some examples of water infusion drinks for detoxing are:

  • Strawberry and basil: rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins.
  • Cucumber and mint: rich in antioxidants, and vitamins. The mint also helps to aid in digestion, assisting the absorption of nutrients and the excretion of waste products.
  • Apple cider vinegar and honey: Apple cider vinegar is rich in acetic acid and may help to promote optimal functioning of the liver and assist with the elimination of toxins. Honey is rich in vitamins, has antimicrobial properties, and is rich in antioxidants (3).

Juices and Smoothies Drinks - Healthy and Refreshing Options

If you are sensitive to the taste of some of the drinks, this category of drinks for detoxing may be more to your liking.

There are a range of different juices and smoothies that you can purchase or make yourself that can assist in detoxing. These drinks for detoxing use a combination of different principles such as fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, fiber, probiotics, and herbs.

Some examples of juices and smoothies that you can make at home are:

  • Green juice or smoothie: Using spinach, kale, green apple, cucumber, lemon juice, coconut water, and ginger
  • Mixed berry smoothie: Using raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, chia seeds, and coconut or almond milk
  • Lemon-ginger shot: Using lemon juice (fresh ideally), ginger juice, and a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pineapple and cucumber juice: Using pineapple, cucumber, mint leaves, and water
  • Chia seed and aloe vera juice: Using water, chia seeds, aloe vera, and lemon

Supplemental Detox Drinks - Detoxing Doses Beyond the Ordinary

If buying a ready-made drink aimed at detoxing or making your own does not suit you, there are supplemental drinks for detoxing that can help.

The difference with these is that they contain a specific blend of nutrients, and if you follow the dose, your body will receive that amount of nutrients consistently. Additionally, the recommended doses are lower and do not require you to drink a large juice or smoothie, which may be more feasible for some people.

An example of a supplemental detox drink is the Liponano Glutathione. This supplement is rich in antioxidants and contains the most potent antioxidant, glutathione, which can help to protect your body against damage from free radicals. It is in a liquid form with the recommended dose of 1 tsp, making it easy to use and potentially easier to comply with.

Herbal Drinks - Reviving the Liver with Liquid Gold

An image of herbal drinks in a glassMilk thistle is a flowering herb and is used by many for liver health. It works by functioning as an antioxidant and reducing inflammation. Two naturally occurring compounds in milk thistle that provide it with these benefits are silymarin and silybin.

Whilst milk thistle is available in capsule form, it is also available in liquid form. Fermented liver rebuilder by Dr. Lam is a supplement that is not only in liquid form, but the fermentation process breaks down molecules into micronutrients, allowing for easy absorption and assimilation.

However, whilst it is a popular choice for liver health, more research is necessary on the effectiveness and safety of milk thistle (4).

Fasting and Drinks for Detoxing

There are two main ways in which you can use these drinks for detoxing. The first is incorporating them into your daily lifestyle.

The second way is using these drinks for detoxing while fasting. The liver bounces back quickly from the stress of poor nutrition, so you can detox fairly rapidly by fasting for no more than one to three days, depending on your overall health. Fasting will allow your liver the opportunity to process the nutrients and toxins it is taxed with every time you eat.

When fasting for liver health, you will still need energy and nutrients, so be prepared by having nutrient-rich fruit and vegetable juices available to drink every three hours or so, such as carrot juice and/or juices made of pure, organic, fibrous fruits and vegetables, to provide the minimum daily requirement of calories to prevent muscle loss. Fasting is a quick reboot of your organs, so don’t prolong it any more than necessary, and stop if you experience fatigue, weakness, or dizziness.

While fasting has some benefits, however, it is not for everyone, particularly persons with certain conditions like diabetes or AFS, so be sure to okay it with your doctor first.

Drinks for Detoxing: Closing Thoughts

Your liver has many important roles in your body, making it important to preserve your liver health. Drinks for detoxing can help to support healthy liver function as well as help to enhance the functioning of your liver in times of stress. There are multiple different types of drinks that you can use including:

  • Water
  • Water infused drinks
  • Bitters
  • Purgatives
  • Juices and smoothies
  • Probiotic drinks
  • Herbal drinks and teas

These drinks can be made or bought. Additionally, there are liquid supplements available that can also act as drinks for detoxing. If you are aware of your liver health and would like to boost it, you can click here to view our product range or you can click here for a free initial call if you would like more guidance on boosting your liver health.

© Copyright 2024 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
References

Bitter one Ogunlana OO, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism of Ruzu Bitters on Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Male Wistar Rats.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020 Jul. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395997/

Srednicka P, et al. “Probiotics as a Biological Detoxification Tool of Food Chemical Contamination: a Review.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 153, 2021 Jul. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691521003392#:~:text=Probiotics%20degrade%20and%20remove%20food,microbial%20capability%20to%20metabolize%20xenobiotics.

Brudzynski K. “Honey as an Ecological Reservoir of Antibacterial Compounds Produced by Antagonistic Microbial Interactions in Plant Nectars, Honey and Honey Bee.” Antibiotics (Basel), vol. 10, no. 5, 2021 May, pp. 551. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8151657/

StatPearls. “Milk Thistle.” Updated September 2022. https://www.statpearls.com/point-of-care/35404.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Whilst drinks for detoxing can help with liver health, some of these drinks such as herbal drinks may not be suitable for individuals with conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, and individuals on chronic medication. If you are unsure, check with your healthcare provider first.

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