Supporting Liver Detoxification
The liver is a fascinating organ that acts as a filter, storage unit, and processing plant. It literally carries out hundreds of functions in the human body and is considered the master organ of detoxification as it processes toxins for elimination.
The liver is involved in both Phase I and II detoxification. Phase II liver detoxification is significant because that’s when the byproducts produced during Phase I are neutralized so they can be excreted from the body. The conjugation process that takes place during Phase II makes toxic compounds water-soluble for easily elimination. While both Phases are critical, supporting Phase II is vital when it comes to completing the detoxification cycle. There are several nutrients and herbs shown to support liver function, as well as Phase II detoxification.
Curcumin (Turmeric root extract)
Curcumin has quickly become one of the most widely studied botanicals in the scientific literature due to its antioxidant properties and its ability to support a healthy inflammatory response. It’s not surprising that a 2018 systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in the journal Integrative Medicine Research also found that it can help support liver enzyme function.*
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
Dandelion has a history of use as a traditional herb to support the health and function of the liver. A 2016 review published in the Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science concluded that dandelion offers a wide spectrum of liver support.*
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
The research regarding milk thistle and liver function is significant. According to a 2017 review published in the journal Molecules, milk thistle has a variety of “molecular targets” when it comes to supporting liver function including oxidative stress, insulin resistance, liver fat accumulation, and mitochondria. In addition, the researchers describe milk thistle’s immune system modulation. Regarding these mechanisms of action, this information is consistent with previous research including a 2016 review published in the journal Clinical Phytoscience.*
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is a glutathione precursor and glutathione is a master antioxidant that has been shown to support detoxification. A 2018 study published in the journal Scientific Reports demonstrated that NAC prophylactically normalized bilirubin and other liver enzymes compared to control. This is consistent with previous studies that demonstrate that NAC supplementation can positively support liver health.*
In addition to these nutrients and herbs, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can work synergistically to support liver function and Phase II detoxification.
Devaraj E. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 2016;6(4):202-205.
El-Serafi I, Remberger M, El-Serafi A, et al. Scientific Reports. 2018;8(8293).
Federico A, Dallio M, Loguercio C. Molecules. 2017;22(2):191.
Hellerbrand C, Schattenberg JM, Peterburs P, et al. Clinical Phytoscience. 2016;2:7.
Hodges RE, Minich DM. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2015;2015.
Mansour-Ghanaei F, Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A, Joukar F. Integrative Medicine Research. 2018.