Liver Detoxification: Starve or Nourish?

Liver cleanses are in style these days, with many doit- yourself diets out there on the Internet. Detox and cleanse advocates will usually produce a bulletpointed list of why their specific liver cleansing protocol is healthy for you, why your body needs it, and why you are practically irresponsible if you choose not to go through with their protocol. However, upon closer inspection one soon realizes the lack of medical literature to support these claims.

In fact, many liver detox proponents seem to be blowing hot air. Even “The Master Cleanse,” a popular detox regimen which claims to be the most successful cleanse diet of its type and which thousands of people undertake each year, has no scientific grounding—a shocking fact considering the number of people who participate in it on a regular basis! This so-called “Lemonade Diet,” promoted by Mike Olaski, claims to “rest and relieve” the digestive system. However when viewed from a biological understanding of the liver and how it functions, it is clear that the master cleanse does no such thing. In fact, it might actually work to put stress on the liver and deprive it of nutrients, and consequently have the opposite effect of its purported claims.

Other liver detox diets, such as the liver cleanse promoted by Jon Barron, or Dr. Oz’s forty-eight hour liver cleanse, are similar, promising magical results on a starvation regime of vegetable juices and vegetable broth. These regimes often include detox formulations that contain a mix of herbs and other compounds. In this article I will address the claim that a juice cleanse is an effective way to detoxify or cleanse the liver.

DETOXIFICATION

Detoxification is a term given to the process of removing toxins from the body. A toxin is a poison, so it is understandable why many people feel that embarking on a detox diet in order to lower their levels of toxicity is a good idea. Lowering the levels of toxicity in one’s body is something that all health enthusiasts, regardless of their particular school of thought, agree is beneficial to health. However, how to achieve this goal is a much more controversial issue.

Detoxing and cleansing product advocates will claim that the most effective way of removing toxins from the liver is via a detox diet or cleanse, usually one that involves some form of juice or a product that can be purchased on the Internet. It is important to understand that the detoxification industry is an industry like any other, and like any industry, there are people who want to make money from your belief that you need their product. Many seemingly genuine health gurus who tout the acclaimed health benefits of liver cleanses have an underlying motivation to promote their own special detox plans. That motivation often comes down to a desire for cash.

However, the idea of lowering the amount of toxins within one’s body is arguably a commendable route towards greater health. It is undeniable that we exist in a toxic environment: pesticides sprayed on vegetables, phthalates in plastics and cosmetics, chlorine in household cleaners, PCBs and heavy metals in farm-raised fish, and antibiotics and dioxins in commercially produced animal products are just a few examples of toxins that are in most people’s environment every day. Even those of us who take extreme care to eat only organic foods, avoid commercial cleaners, and make our own skincare products are affected by the levels of chemicals that industrial mechanisms have put into our environments.

It is helpful to understand that every chemical is toxic at a certain dose, even water! Dose is important to consider, not only because it teaches us that balance is relevant to everything in our lives, but also because the dosage levels of toxins in our environment are accumulating to higher amounts each year. For example, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, releases of toxins on land rose by 19 percent from 2010 to 2011, primarily due to increases in land disposal at metal mines. As a result of all these factors, discussion of detoxification is now more relevant than ever before, but that does not mean that a juice cleanse will help lower levels of overall toxicity, or that doing so is actually beneficial to one’s liver.

CLEANLINESS AND CLEANSING

Cleansing is a term that is commonly used to describe the process of cleaning one’s system by severely restricting food intake. Liver detox juice cleanses are purported to work on the assumption that in abstaining from food, one is giving one’s system a chance to push out the toxins that may have accumulated. Interestingly, the dictionary definition of “cleanse” is “to free from dirt or guilt; purge or clean.” Utilizing the term “cleanse” is a clever subliminal marketing word choice that leads consumers towards lofty aspirations of greater purity.

It is important to understand before embarking on a detox protocol the role the liver plays in the body, and whether a detoxification diet will in fact be effective in supporting the liver.

The word “liver” is rather aptly derived from the Old English word for “life,” in full regard of the many functions that the liver has within the body. The liver has the ability to synthesize the proteins that the body needs and also makes bile so that food can be digested, but the function that the liver is most famous for is detoxifying the blood.

Most people understand that their liver is where the toxins go, although thinking of it as a dumping point for toxins is not entirely accurate. Most food substances that enter the human body go to the liver from the small intestine for sorting via the portal venous system. The liver sorts out what to keep and what to get rid of.

The blood passes through the liver, which takes out harmful chemicals before, one hopes, they reach toxic levels. They are then made water-soluble so that they can be sent out of the body via sweat or urine. Therefore what happens in the liver is a form of filtering, but it is not like the lint filter in your tumble dryer that regularly clogs up. In a healthy body, toxins leave the liver pretty soon after they come in. They are not merely dumped there as though the liver were a landfill.

Because many toxins are fat-soluble, large quantities of such toxins that enter the body can be stored in fat. It is true that they may be stored in the fat cells in the liver, and that this is not desirable. However, in a healthy functioning body, which is being fed a balanced diet, this is rarely a problem as the liver does a very good job of discarding the toxins that enter the system in a timely manner.

Should one want or need to detoxify the liver at all, it is not quite as instant, simple and easy as spending a day or two (or ten) on a juice cleanse. To get these fat-soluble toxins out of storage is a multi-stage affair. Cleansing for a few days is unlikely to affect the liver directly and may actually deplete it of essential vitamins and minerals. For the majority of the population it seems somewhat misguided to go on a cleanse regimen in order to clear the liver, which is probably doing a good job already!

The truth is that most detoxification diets have less of a direct effect on cleansing the liver than advocates would have you believe. While detox diets might be a step towards healthier eating for a person whose standard diet is high in processed foods and toxic beverages, in reality most people who undertake liver cleanses are those who already eat a relatively healthy diet. Unfortunately, it is the more health-conscious individuals who are attracted to the health-boosting claims touted by detox gurus.

So from this biological point of view, one could argue that a detox diet may be somewhat ineffective, but there are also researchers who point to detox diets as being potentially damaging, mostly because people wrongly believe that if they “do” a detox once a year, that gives them a free ticket to eat and drink whatever they like the rest of the time.

Another concern arises from the premise that when a person embarks on a detox diet, the drastic reduction in calories, fat and protein forces the body to metabolize its fat stores for energy. As the fat stores are rapidly converted into more usable energy, any fat-soluble toxins that have been stored within them are released into the bloodstream in larger amounts than is normal. This means that the liver suddenly has a massive amount to process in a short space of time. This is how detoxification diet advocates claim that their cleanse protocols force the body to release toxins, and this is why some people claim that they feel slightly euphoric when on a detox regimen while others can feel headachy or sick.

In order to clarify the importance of proper nutrition in the way the liver works when detoxifying naturally, we must understand the process by which the liver breaks down unwanted chemicals. The process can be divided into two main stages.

STAGE ONE: OXIDATION

A special set of enzymes, called the cytochrome P450, are needed to alter the chemical makeup of the toxin that is being stored within the fat cell. The particular enzyme from the group that is used at any one time is different depending on the specific toxin that needs to be altered, but usually this reaction makes the toxin more reactive and more water-soluble. This chemical reaction causes free radical release, so antioxidants are important here, as they reduce the damage that free radicals can cause. Nutrients that are required in this part of the process include the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E; therefore a diet that eliminates fat can be problematic for the liver as these vitamins may be depleted.

After stage one is complete the toxin is very reactive, so it is important that the body has the enzymes that are required for stage two so that it can happen soon after.

STAGE TWO: CONJUGATION

Here the liver continues to work on the chemical that it is trying to release from the fat cell. Its job now is to make this toxin even more water-soluble, so that it can be excreted via urine or bile. The liver usually achieves this by adding another substance to the toxin which dilutes it. Sulfur-containing foods such as egg yolks and amino acids such as taurine and cysteine are important in this stage of detoxification. These amino acids are also found in grass-fed meat and dairy products. If you are not eating these foods regularly, a detox regimen could potentially deplete your stores of these amino acids or the elements that are needed to synthesize them. Should this happen, your body might not be able to process the toxin from stage one into stage two, which will leave you with highly reactive toxins in your system.

So far this is a massive simplification of a very complicated system, yet it will give you a basic understanding of the incredible process involved in detoxification, and just what a great job your liver does on a daily basis. This should also help you understand that your liver needs specific nutrients in order to detoxify well. Your liver does not require a juice cleanse to do its job, and such measures could potentially be unhelpful and even rather meddlesome. This is because you are giving your liver much work all at once and may have depleted the enzyme stores that it needs in order to break down the fat-soluble toxins released in response to your detox regimen.

FATS HELP LIVER FUNCTION

There is another way that you can detoxify your liver, and that is by eating healthy fats. In the simplest form, when you eat fat, your liver releases bile to metabolize the fat. Bile helps the body metabolize those essential fat-soluble vitamins. As bile is a crucial part of the natural detoxification process within your body, if your bile levels are adequate you will eliminate toxins efficiently. One of the ingredients in bile is cholesterol; therefore if you are not consuming enough cholesterol your body will not be able to produce an adequate amount of bile. Cholesterol is found along with healthy fats from grass-fed animals, so eating these foods is a wonderful way to help your body detoxify. The key to a healthy detoxification regime is to do it gradually so that you do not overwhelm your body with a flush of toxins.

Detox cleanses seem to treat the body like a machine, as if it were a car that one could drain of its dirty oil at once and swap it for clean oil. Bodies are not cars, and changes in what is introduced into one’s body usually need to be made slowly so we can adjust and make the necessary metabolic changes. Few systems in the body change instantly. By design our bodies tend to alter themselves incrementally. For this reason, a better way to cleanse the liver is a long-term habit of eating healthy fats rather than a short bout of juice cleansing.

Another consideration when you are thinking about ways to detoxify is to look at the stressors present in your life. When you are stressed, your liver will focus less on detoxification because your body will be operating within its sympathetic nervous system. When the body is dominated by the sympathetic nervous system it diverts resources to the muscles (fight or flight) and away from organs (rest and digest). Stress affects our bodies in many different ways: our muscles tighten and energy is shunted away from our repair and renewal system—and this means that we will not be detoxifying optimally. For this reason, our bodies will store more toxins in fat cells when we are stressed because they do not have the energy required to convert and excrete them.

GELATIN AND RAW MILK

If your diet is full of highly processed foods and toxic drinks, a better plan than a cleanse would be turning to long-term healthy eating. As far as detoxing and the liver are concerned, if you already have a relatively healthy diet, you may be better off focusing on adding more of the foods that deliver those nutrients your liver uses to detoxify. To do something wonderful for your liver, give it a greater supply of nutrient-dense foods, such as cod liver oil, pastured butter, egg yolks, liver and bone broth. Bone broth in particular is an incredible source of nutrients, especially gelatin, which is very beneficial for the digestive tract as well as the immune system and heart.

Gelatin contains proline and glycine, which are amino acids that support liver detoxification. The human body can generate both of these amino acids itself, but if the idea of a cleanse is to give the body a restful experience, then eating foods that offer an abundant supply of such wonderful nutrients is surely the most advisable route to greater health.

You might also consider adding more exercise to your life. In a study with laboratory rats whose running wheels were removed from the cages, it was shown that they began to show signs of fatty liver disease after only a week of a sedentary life. In fact, this study demonstrated that fatty liver disease developed in 100 percent of the rats that had their running wheels removed—a staggering case for the role of physical activity in health.

The best thing that one can do for one’s liver is to eat foods that are low in toxins in the first place; choose organic produce that has not been sprayed with chemicals and limit the intake of processed, commercially produced foods as much as possible. These foods are nutrient-sparse and abundant in toxins. Grass-fed meats and dairy are richer in healthy fat-soluble vitamins A and E, which are involved in synthesizing those enzymes the body needs to break down the fat-soluble toxins in stage one of the detoxification process.

You may also want to consider raw milk produced by cows that are grazing on fields that have not been sprayed by toxic pesticides—an incredibly good source of fat-soluble vitamins A and D. When cows are fed commercial feed, shut in small stalls and deprived of sunlight, these vitamins are diminished. Because pasteurization destroys enzymes, denatures proteins, and lowers the vitamin content of the milk, raw milk is a much more nutrient-dense food.

Raw milk is also a wonderful source of glutathione. Glutathione is an incredible detoxifier and has been elevated to the status of “master antioxidant” by many nutritionists because it increases the activity of all the other antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E. Glutathione is comprised of three amino acids: glycine, glutamate, and cysteine, all found in undenatured form in raw milk. One can take oral supplements of glutathione, but these have been shown to be poorly absorbed rendering them a waste of time and money. There is also some evidence that supplements in this form may interfere with the natural process of glutathione production in the body. The best way to increase levels of glutathione is to digest it by consuming raw milk, as well as red meats and organ meats. Additionally, raw whole milk provides vitamin D, which increases intracellular glutathione.

The same “supplement charade” is true of calcium. Calcium glucarate is helpful in the stage two part of the detoxification process, specifically, in the glucuronidation stage where toxins are bound to water substances such as bile so that they can be removed. Raw milk and raw milk products are our best sources of usable calcium however it is believed that it is not the calcium that is active but the glucarate (http://examine.com/supplements/Calcium-D-Glucarate/).

The take-home message is that your liver is an incredible organ that seamlessly performs a number of essential functions in your body every day, and it can do its job without the intervention of a commercial cleanse. If you want to help your liver detoxify your body, the best thing that you can do is eat nutrient-dense foods such as organic free-range eggs, liver and meats, homemade bone broths, as well as full-fat raw dairy. These healthy foods will provide your liver with a rich supply of vitamins, amino acids and minerals and help it do what it does best: detoxify.


SIDEBARS

MIKE OLASKI’S MASTER CLEANSE OR LEMONADE DIET

The Master Cleanse involves three phases:

Ease-In: 3 days of slowly removing processed foods from your diet.
The Lemonade Diet: “10 days to lose weight fast, and feel great at last.”
Ease-Out: 3 days of slowly eating more and more complex foods.

The magic “lemonade” consists of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. Olaski suggests drinking a minimum of six to twelve glasses per day, for a total of ten days.

Apparently this cleanse is not so great for the bowels because Olaski recommends taking a laxative before bed and doing the “salt water flush” in the mornings. This consists in drinking a quart of warm water to which is added one tablespoon of salt.

Says Olaski, “Every day of the Master Cleanse that you overcome the psychological need to eat, you feel a growing sense of control that motivates you to complete the process.”

DR. OZ’S 48-HOUR WEEKEND CLEANSE
Dr. Oz’s 48-Hour Weekend Cleanse “is based upon eating certain ‘detoxifying’ foods that he thinks will keep [your] systems running smoothly. The plan couldn’t be simpler to follow so you’re not always focused on what to eat next.”

The cleanse starts with a breakfast of quinoa with prunes, nutmeg, grated ginger, flaxseed oil and rice milk. Lunch is a smoothie of almond or hemp milk, flaxseed, frozen blueberries and banana, all blended with ice. Dinner is a vegetable broth soup served with a side of sauerkraut.

Snack items allowed include a blended drink of kale, pineapple and ginger or a mixture of pineapple, lemon and
pomegranate juices. Raw vegetables are also allowed as snacks.

Dr. Oz’s also promotes a three-day detox cleanse that will “eliminate harmful toxins and reset your body.” The program consists of a morning detox tea, multivitamins, and smoothies containing flax seeds, fruit, spinach, kale, almond butter, almond milk, coconut water and coconut oil.

JON BARRON’S LIVER DETOX & BLOOD CLEANSE
This program is promoted with the following promise: “By cleansing the liver, we’re talking about inducing the liver to purge all of the fats, old cholesterol deposits, gallstones, poisons, drug residues, and toxic waste stored therein. Probably nothing else you do (including even the colon detox) will make a greater difference in your overall health. The liver is so important to our well-being that many healers maintain that most diseases cannot develop in the body (that, in fact, no form of cell degeneration can occur) if the liver is functioning in an efficient, healthy manner. Conversely, an unhealthy liver is very likely at the root of most serious health problems.”

The cleanse begins with 8 ounces of pure water on arising, “to flush your digestive tract,” followed by a smoothie
made with fresh citrus juice, fresh apple or grape juice, garlic, olive oil, and ginger, blended with water. Liver detox teas and tinctures are consumed throughout the day. Fresh salads with homemade dressing are allowed. He also recommends potassium broth (made with potato skins), grated beets, digestive enzymes and herbal “blood cleansers.”

TRUE DETOX SOUP
This recipe incorporates a number of potent ingredients for a most nourishing and detoxifying broth:

Several pounds of bones optimally from grass-fed/pastured animal sources
1 diced onion (onions contain cystine, an amino acid which the liver uses to produce the powerful antioxidant glutathione)
1 head of garlic, crushed
A couple of pounds of mixed, chopped organic vegetables. (Sulfur-rich vegetables will increase your stores of glutathione.)
Celtic sea salt to taste
A dash of raw apple cider vinegar to help extract the minerals from the bones
About 1 gallon of water, or enough to cover the bones

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 hours or longer. The longer it cooks the better, as the simmering water will extract more gelatin from the bones. Don’t be afraid to allow it to simmer for up to 72 hours! Drain broth and discard the bones.

To serve as soup add some chopped vegetables, fresh garlic and chopped ginger. Once the vegetables are cooked blend and serve with sourdough bread and grass-fed butter.


RESOURCES

  • Rector, RS et al. Cessation of Daily Exercise Dramatically Alters Precursors of Hepatic Steatosis in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) Rats. The Journal of Physiology, Sept. 2008.
  • Harvard Health Publications. The dubious practice of detox. HealthBeat Newsletter July 2008.
  • Lipid Detoxification, Whole Health Network, Mark Squibb, http://publications.whnlive.com/.
  • Naish, J. (2011, December 12). The great detox deception: From mud wraps to drinking syrup, detoxes are ‘pointless, dangerous claptrap.’
  • Tendler D., Lin S., Yancy Jr. W.S.,Mavropoulos J., Sylvestre P., Rockey D.C., Westman E.C. The Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Pilot Study. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2007.
  • Alternative Detox, British Medical Bulletin, http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/ 2012/01/31/bmb.lds002.full.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2014

Tabitha Farrar is author of the book Love Fat which is due to be released at the end of this year. She works as a health editor and writer, yoga instructor, and is a strong advocate for a diet high in nutrient-dense foods. Her twitter handle is @Love_Fat_

21 Responses to Liver Detoxification: Starve or Nourish?

  1. Susan Nagl says:

    Hi Tabitha. Your arguments make a lot of sense. I do eat FR eggs, liver, meats, broths and full fat raw cheese. I also have done cleanses that included some juicing but also had lots of steamed veggies and had good fats for each meal along with psyllium and bentonite shakes, etc. I’d say the only thing that wasn’t in there from my normal diet was meats and eggs. So here is my question: why did I feel so very good after these 12 days cleanses? I also lost some weight that did not come back on. It seems like maybe a combo of healthy everyday eating and a cleanse once in awhile could be the ticket.
    Not feeling argumentative here just very curious.
    Susan

    • Debbie says:

      I agree a cleanse once in a while works for me, and on that note what ingrediants did you use for your juiscing?

    • Susan says:

      That seems to be more the effects of fasting – a 3 day fast rejuvenates your cells. Not really of detoxing the liver. If you eat regular American food, you probably put less stress on your liver when you fast. I do intermittent fasting sometimes.

  2. Anon says:

    I walked away from “instant” cleanses long ago and prefer daily, gentle tools for detoxing the liver, specifically regular consumption of beet kvass fermented over 4 weeks and without whey. Can you speak to the effectiveness of beet kvass (consumed daily) and coffee enemas for detoxing the liver (in addition to a balanced diet of healthy fats and lower carbohydrate consumption)?

  3. AT last, a sane and sensible write up on “liver cleansing” and “detoxing” I’ll definitely be sharing this around

    Thank you Tabitha

  4. Hector Ducci says:

    Hi, i liked you article very much. I have recently done my first ” liver and gallstone flush”, (as described by Dr. Andreas Moritz and Dr. David Jubb ) and passed 500-600 toxic gallstones out of my system by intaking 8 oz of olive oil after a 5 day preparation diet and program..
    I feel that this article did not address , in sufficient depth, this important aspect of Liver detox…To try to effectively remove environmental and food based toxins from our entire body is certainly a good and noble idea. BUT, to remove these gallstones which are obstructing our flow of bile seems like the primary and MAJOR OBJECTIVE in someone who wants to get their body back to its full running healthy potential.
    To discuss liver detox with out tackling this aspect of the Liver’s situation seems to me to be avoiding the real necessary topic at hand. To remove these gallstones , according to the Liver flush school of thought, is the first and foremost task of anyone who wants to begin the path of detox…If you have not done this first, any other approach to detoxing may be simply wasting time….

    • Samantha says:

      Hector, thank you for this post. I agree. Not sure why the WAPF is advocating (indirectly) against liver flushing. It’s critical to jump-start the process of healing. Especially for someone who has never cleansed their liver before, and/or who has a lifestyle and diet that are harmful to the liver. I have done several flushes and have found the benefits to be miraculous. I agree our diet can aid in keeping the liver string and healthy, as recommended in this article, but feel it is an oversight to not also acknowledge the power of liver flushes. I think we need to do both.

  5. B says:

    thank you Hector Ducci.
    And before that, make sure bowels are moving so liver flush can be excreted.
    Half a@@.article.

  6. s says:

    The author didn’t even read the link to calcium d glucarate shown in this article. That link, found on the site examine.com, states that calcium d glucarate is largely a bad supplement to use. So…milk containing gluc-etc, as stated by the author, wouldn’t make sense either.

    Raw milk is great, but anything in it starting with “glucarate” isn’t likely why raw milk is great.

  7. Cindy says:

    Very disappointed in this article. Liver cleanses and other cleanses have been around for thousands of years. The average American diet is over feeding people and their organs. If you look beyond the very limited knowledge in the USA on health and diet as your source you are not going to learn very much. The liver is related to the eyes. I had dry and frequent blood shot eyes and my US doctors only recommended eye drops. I went to a Chinese herbal doctor who knew in less than minute that I needed to cleanse my liver. I was given some herbs and felt immediate relief. Still going through the detox part but the difference if very visible. As long as people latch onto the western medical practices that are only about 200 years old and based on enriching the pharmaceutical industry they will not find relief from illness. As Dr. Price found out that the wisdom of these ancient cultures truly are the healers and promoters of health.

    • Fred says:

      Hi Cindy,

      Thank you for sharing your experience? How is your detox going? In fact I have been doing the same, going to chinese doctor in order to be fine, and he even didn’t notice my red eyes, even if I knew that what you said. It had to be me asking him to do something. He gave me something and it didn’t change anything. Probably I should start looking for someone else. Can you share what you’ve been taking for detox, or what herbs did he give you? Thank you.

  8. Carmen says:

    To those who seem to feel better after their favorite cleanse, try a WAPF conference. I noticed the cleansing effect just eating breakfast, lunch, dinner at the WAPF conferences and how better and cleansed I feel after the extended weekend. Normally during the weekend, I also get sample doses of Green Pasture cod liver oil, Standard Process Echinacea Premium, Fab Ferments fab ferments, Vital Choice seafood, etc. As well as plenty of dairy, kombbucha, broth, unrefined salt, herbal tea, etc. I come home having been fed intellectually, soulfully, and nutritionally. I eat to my fill and place no restrictions.

  9. Kelly says:

    thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences. here is mine. been on a primarily organic, gluten free, grass-fed beef and butter diet. got a little more zealous with adding coconut oil and butter (put it in my coffee)afterwards felt nauseous. it passed but at lunch time after eating organic chicken and rice was almost finished and had to run due to an awful need to vomit! thankfully I didn’t but came close! the nausea lasted on and on so didn’t eat anything and did major research online concerning this which led me over and over to the gallbladder/liver flush need! just want to know plainly if I should do this flush and which one it the best? all the sites thus far say yes, until I got to this one which I respect as well. just want balance and clear direction for the next step on this journey. I would need to start the prep tomorrow. any caring help would be much appreciated! blessings!

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Kelly,
    you had too much, too quickly. Feeling or being sick after high fat indicates a possible lack if bile to emulsify the fats.

  11. Shawna Rodd says:

    I have become a critical consumer not only of products but of practices. I insist upon clinical evidence to support claims. If research is claimed, I ask for the specific research. I appreciated your article along with the your references!

  12. Shawna Rodd says:

    Just a small note, the last reference link does not appear to be working. I was able to find it at:
    http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/01/31/bmb.lds002.full.pdf+html

  13. Slav Heller says:

    I want to address two issues. I don’t think that the Master Cleanser is about liver cleansing, at least not at first days as we need a decently functioning liver to remove the released toxins via bile. It certainly cleans bowels. The longest I was on it was 25 days and was really surprised to see what over time was leaving my body through bowels. I also did liver/gallbladder flush a few times, with different effects. But I also saw some incredible volumes (may even a pound) of “stones” that were disposed by the liver and the incredible relief I felt after that. Actually, when they say that there four(?) types of stones, what I saw were emerald-coloured cholesterol balls and pieces, covered with brown layer (probably old bile). The largest one I saw was almost an inch in diameter. It is obvious that liver cannot function well with such plugs in the internal ducts. But both of these quite drastic methods are not substitutes for right food and, I believe, may be risky if our digestive system is weak and in deeper trouble. As for scientific proof of all these concepts, who is going to conduct such experiments if the medical establishment fully denies any merit in them.

  14. Mike says:

    People still falling for the olive oil liver flush stone scam.

    from and old article: (Priceless no gallbladder but gallstones from a liver flush LOL)

    Gallbladder and liver “flushes” are widely advocated as a way of treating gallstones and helping with medical conditions ranging from allergies to cancer [1-4]. In the usual “flush,” half a cup or more of a vegetable oil is consumed together with citrus juice and Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), usually after a brief fast. Many green, brown, yellow or black blobs of various sizes may later appear in the bowel movements. Some bear a slight resemblance to gallstones, but they are not stones. They are merely bile-stained “soaps” produced by partial saponification (soap formation) of the oil. A recent demonstration found that mixing equal volumes of oleic acid (the major component of olive oil) and lemon juice produced several semi-solid white balls after a small volume of potassium hydroxide solution was added. After air-drying at room temperature, these balls became quite solid and hard. When formed in the intestine, these objects absorb bile and become green [5]. It has also been shown that red dye will appear in the interior of the “stones” if consumed with the oil [1].

    The fact that the material is due to some kind of transformation of the oil is clear from user descriptions and ultrasound images. The most obvious evidence is that the alleged “stones” float on the toilet water [2,3,6], as might be expected of a largely oil-based substance. Gallstones sink. Patients with medically diagnosed gallstones may be able to confirm this for themselves by looking at their own ultrasound scans.The stones, if free to move, will settle at the lowest part of the gallbladder, even though bile is much denser than water. The picture to the right shows a cross-section of the gallbladder (the oblong black area) with three moderately large stones in the lowermost area. Supporters of the flushes claim that although some kinds of stones sink in water, cholesterol stones, being composed of lighter material, will float [2,3].That’s not true. Cholesterol stones can display some buoyancy while in the gallbladder, but only by floating between the older, concentrated bile lying in the lowest part of the gallbladder and the fresher, less concentrated bile above. Radiologists can use this “layering” effect to determine whether the stones are likely to be mainly cholesterol and thus suitable for gallstone dissolution using bile salts such as ursodeoxycholic acid. The same stones will sink in water and also in the slightly denser formol-saline preservative commonly used in operating rooms when saving the stones for the patient or for laboratory analysis. This is why people accustomed to handling real gallstones simply know that they always sink. Other clues about the true nature of the “stones” include:
    •They tend to dissolve into an oily smudge in time, or with heat [5]. Patients are advised to keep them in the freezer [1,2]. Gallstones are stable.
    •They have an irregular globular shape and in the many available photos [4] never display the sharply facetted appearance that gallstones often have when rubbing up against each other in an overcrowded gallbladder.
    •They are usually described as soft [7] and waxy or “gelatinous” [8]. Real gallstones are often very hard and difficult to crack. Softer gallstones always have a fine, crumbly, dry texture.
    •Gallstones are thus difficult to cut cleanly with a knife, unlike the “stones” shown at http://curezone.com/ig/i.asp?i=7072.
    •They may be bright green and possess a translucency never seen in gallstones.
    •They can be produced in amounts far beyond the capacity of either the gallbladder or the entire biliary system, as long as flushes are continued and regardless of whether the user still has a gallbladder.

    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/flushes.html

    • Pam says:

      May I recommend you read Jon Barronn liver detox, as he clearly states that gallbladders are removed due to gallstones however those gallstones form because the liver is not functioning as it should. Hence surgeons eliminate the symptom without addressing the cause (the liver — which also can have stones, by the way). His articles are loaded with citations that back up what he says. Have a read

  15. Fred says:

    Hi people,

    Very interesting discussion here. Though I am new to liver cleansing though I have a healthy diet, and try to eliminate processed foods from diet. In the sidebars, I didn’t understand if the author is being ironic or just recommending them… can someone tell me please? Are the liver flushes as Andreas Moritz writes essential at first, before anything?

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