By: Cynthia Jetan, a certified nutritionist from LAC Malaysia
Can a detox or cleanse help your liver… or is it a wellness myth in disguise? Learn what it really takes for optimal liver function.
Do a quick online search for “liver detox” and you will be inundated with tips, supplements, and how-to guides, each claiming to restore your liver. As detox trends entrenched themselves in our world, one should question: Can the liver, the very organ designed for detoxification, truly benefit from a detox? Or are these practices merely placebos that can pose risks if done incorrectly?
Understandably, you want to do everything you can for better health. Detoxes may offer this promise, and you may even feel better while on a detox. Or could it simply be a result of the disciplined approach to your diet and lifestyle? After all, detox diets often eliminate processed foods, sugar, and alcohol – things you should already be limiting regularly, not just when you are detoxing!
Cynthia Jetan, a certified nutritionist from LAC Malaysia, sheds light on the matter: “Liver detox programmes don’t treat damage or prevent diseases. There’s no scientific evidence that liver detoxes or cleanses remove toxins from our body or make us healthier. Our overall health, genes, diet, lifestyle, and environment all affect our liver.”
YOUR BODY’S POWERHOUSE
Your liver, the second-largest organ in your body, performs over 500 essential functions from removing toxins, clearing medication from your body to metabolising your food. It also adjusts cholesterol levels, builds proteins, regulates hormone levels, and stores sugar for when you really need it. If your liver function deteriorates, toxins will accumulate, and you won’t be able to digest your food. In fact, you can’t live a week without your liver.
While detoxes may seem appealing, these are temporary fixes compared to the long-term impact of healthy habits and consistent care. The best thing you can do to keep your liver healthy is to treat it well.
Cynthia emphasises, “What causes our liver to be overloaded and sluggish is our modern lifestyle of indulgence, be it food or alcohol, sleep deprivation, chronic stress and anger, as well as the use of drugs and medication. Rather than focusing on liver detox, we should focus on supporting and enhancing liver function and its health in general.”
Also, consider the fact that liver issues can manifest silently – you don’t realise your liver is in trouble until obvious symptoms appear, and that’s usually when the liver is 90 percent damaged. With liver cancer ranking among the top six cancers in Malaysia in 2021, long-term care becomes imperative.
“The liver is a hardworking organ that can even regenerate its own damaged cells. But it is not invincible. When it’s overloaded, it can’t function as it should and subsequently every organ in our body is affected,” says Cynthia. What are these tell-tale signs? Poor digestion, high cholesterol, itchy skin, fatigue, sluggishness, loss of appetite, dark urine, and pale stools.
Additionally, subtle indicators like poor sleep quality – waking up multiple times in the middle of the night – and a stubborn bloated tummy can be early warnings of an overloaded liver, emphasising the need for awareness and proactive liver care.
LONG-TERM CARE FOR YOUR LIVER
Ditch the detoxes, try these proven healthy habits to truly care for your liver:
- Nourish Your Body: Embrace a balanced diet to reduce the risk of liver diseases. Alcohol, if consumed, should be in moderation. Avoid processed, refined or junk food as these will overload your liver with toxins.
- Stay Active: Exercise helps maintain a steady weight, minimising the risk of obesity and its impact on your liver.
- Get Enough Sleep: Adequate sleep will allow the liver to repair and renew itself, supporting its ability to make glucose and process insulin.
- Manage Stress: Excess stress and anxiety can inflame the liver, impairing its function. Prioritise stress management for optimal liver health.
Consider liver supplements to further support liver health. A popular one is milk thistle, which acts as a bodyguard for your liver by protecting it from harmful substances. Or try LAC’s L.Pro., a liver supplement specially formulated with 11 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbs to restore liver function and reverse fatty liver.
To detox or not? The verdict is clear: Prioritise essential care. “Think of the liver like a car engine. We want to keep this engine running smoothly. When our liver is healthy, we will have better overall health – better energy, sleep, weight management, skin, and mood. A healthy liver thrives on consistent care, not quick fixes,” says Cynthia.