A liver detox program can be an incredible natural cure for fatigue and the perfect tool for boosting energy and overall health. Dietary adjustments, supplements, and other natural therapies can enhance and end the fatigue and increase overall health.
The phrase “liver detox” refers to the science of how our body rids itself of waste—a metabolic process involving the liver’s detoxification enzyme systems. These detoxification enzyme systems convert toxic substances into non-toxic, water-soluble compounds that can be eliminated through urine, sweat, and stool. Because the liver is the body’s major site for detoxification activity, the primary focus of a liver detox is enhancement of the liver’s enzyme systems. However, the gastrointestinal tract is also instrumental in decreasing toxic load. Therefore, most liver detox protocols also strengthen intestinal mucosa integrity and enhance colon function.
The Goals of a Liver Detox are to:
- Increase the intake of specific nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals) required for detoxification-related biochemical processes.
- Minimize ingested allergens, toxins, and chemicals to reduce our exposure. (This provides our intestinal tract with a chance to repair and allows it to process waste and harmful compounds more efficiently.)
- Increase bowel movements and bile flow for quicker elimination of waste and toxins, minimizing toxin exposure.
- Optimize alkalinity by increasing fruits and vegetables to encourage urinary excretion of toxic compounds.
The liver detox diet emphasizes organic natural whole foods to minimize exposure to antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, artificial chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives. It also should emphasize alkaline foods like potassium-rich fruits and vegetables as well as adequate fluids, especially filtered water, to facilitate the process. The liver detox diet avoids acid-inducing foods, like animal proteins and refined carbohydrates, and limits common allergens to decrease potential immune activation and inflammation.
The Liver Detox Diet:
- Vegetables: 5 servings or more daily, including at least two or more servings of cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts). Also try to include dark green leafy vegetables, onions, garlic, asparagus, spinach, squash, beets, watercress, broccoli, sprouts, and tomatoes. Avoid corn and potatoes.
- Grains: 3-5 servings daily of non-gluten grains or grain products made from brown rice, millet, quinoa, and amaranth. We may include sweet potatoes in this category. Avoid refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, and sugars), corn, and gluten-containing grains (wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut).
- Fruits: 5 servings or more daily. Include potassium-rich fruits like figs, apricots, and bananas.
- Nuts and seeds: 1 serving daily of any raw nuts or seeds or nut or seed butters (including almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds, etc.). Avoid peanuts.
- Legumes: 1-3 servings daily (including lentil, kidney beans, black beans, etc.). Avoid soybeans and soybean products.
- Protein: up to 3 servings daily of coldwater, wild-harvested fish (i.e. salmon, sardines, or halibut) or organic, free-range (pesticide-free, hormone-free) poultry. Avoid: eggs, shellfish, and red meat (beef, lamb, or pork). You may eat legumes or use a non-allergenic protein powder (rice, pea, or hemp) in place of meat.
- Fats: 2-3 servings daily extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, or avocado. Avoid butter, partially hydrogenated oils (margarine or shortening) and refined vegetable oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, and canola).
- Milk and dairy: up to 2 servings daily of rice milk or nut milk products. Avoid all dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt).
- Beverages: 8 glasses or more daily of purified water or non-caffeinated herbal tea. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and all juices except freshly juiced fruits and vegetables.
In addition to following the liver detox diet, add a detoxification support supplement to aid you through your liver detox program. Liver detox supplements supply ingredients that have been studied and found to support the body’s detoxification mechanisms. Rather than purchasing individual ingredients and products, kits are available that make it easy to do a short detoxification program (1 week to 1 month) on our own. They may contain a nutritional beverage mix and additional supplements for liver and gastrointestinal support.
While undergoing the liver detox, don’t forget to avoid exposure to as many harmful chemicals as possible, including plastics, packaged foods, and “non-green” cleaning products and personal care products. Also paramount to a comprehensive liver detox program is sweating. Regularly sweating with exercise or in a sauna facilitates excretion of toxins through the skin. Many different types of saunas, temperatures, durations, and sauna treatments have been utilized and found to be effective. The important thing is to break a good sweat at least once a day and drink plenty of filtered water before, during, and after.
If you feel sleepy all the time or are dealing with fatigue that seems extraordinary for the amount of rest you’re getting, a short liver detox is an excellent way to boost your energy.