5 signs your liver needs a detox – DR.VEGAN
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5 signs your liver needs a detox

5 signs your liver needs a detox

It's all too common to get that feeling you need a detox after too many days enjoying too much food and alcohol. Or you may simply feel like you need a cleanse.  

Our nutritionists share the tell-tale signs your liver may need a detox, and how to avoid the toxic overload that can lead to ill health, weight gain and low energy. 

You may also enjoy 'The best foods for detoxing your liver'. 

5 signs you need a liver detox

1. Fatty floating stools

Bile produced from the liver plays a key role in separating nutrients from toxins and waste, as well as digesting fat in the small intestine. A lack of bile from the liver can lead to a build-up of toxins in our bodies, and cause fatty, floating stools, due to the fats not being absorbed or broken down properly.

Lean more in 'What does your poo say about your health'. 

Understand your diet. Create your FREE online Diet Profile.

2. Being overweight

As a major fat burning organ, your liver plays a significant role in weight loss.

A liver overloaded with excess sugar, alcohol and toxins can become damaged, inflamed or fatty, reducing its efficiency. When your liver becomes inefficient, it stops burning fat and instead begins to store fat, causing you to gain weight.  If you feel you're gaining more weight than you'd expect with your diet and lifestyle, it can be a sign your liver needs a detox

Read our 'Nutritionists' advice for losing weight healthily'. 

3. Tired all the time

The liver plays an important role in converting dietary fibre and carbohydrates into energy, but an under functioning liver doesn't produce the energy from your diet that your body needs, and can be at the root of tiredness and fatigue.

If you feel constantly fatigued or struggle to get up in the morning, or find your energy dwindles too easily during the day, despite a good night's sleep and plenty of rest, it can be a sign your liver needs a detox. If you're regularly tired and suffer poor sleep, it might also be due to your stress hormone, cortisol, which inhibits melatonin, your sleep hormone. 

Learn more in 'What is cortisol' or 'How your diet can help your sleep'.

4. New allergies and sensitivities 

Reduced liver function and a less efficient detoxification system can lead to the accumulation of high levels of toxins in your body, which in turn can lead to new food and nutrient sensitivities.

New allergies and sensitivities resulting from a reduced liver function can include:

5. Over exposure to toxins

Your liver works to transform toxins to be released out of your body, but your liver doesn't have an infinite capacity. If you're constantly exposed to toxins from unhealthy foods, air pollution, pesticides, toiletries and beauty products, and home detergents and cleaning products that you can encounter in everyday life, these can all put your liver under strain.

A body overburdened with toxins will show various signs and symptoms as highlighted above, and unless released, the toxins end up stored deep in your body's fat. 

Tips for liver health 

There are simple changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to improve your liver health. Great foods for detoxifying your liver include onions, garlic, artichoke, brazil nuts, lentils, grapefruit and beetroot.

Learn more in 'The best foods for detoxifying your liver' and here are some simple tips to follow.

Try bitter foods and herbs 

Bitter foods, herbs and spices such as artichoke, dandelion, rocket, chicory, beetroot, turmeric and fenugreek seeds have traditionally been used to help stimulate bile production and support the liver at fulfilling its job of removing toxins from the body.

Shop Gut Works, Pre & Probiotic, 50bn CFU

Eat cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale can help increase the liver's natural detoxification enzymes, protect it from damage, and improve blood levels of liver enzymes.

You might enjoy our Baked Chilli tofu with Kale & Noodles recipe.

Hydrate yourself well

Dehydration can directly affect your liver's ability to detoxify the body, making it harder for waste products to be expelled.

Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of filtered or mineral water a day, and more in hot weather or when you are working out.

Shop Curcumin & Turmeric

Avoid aerosols and toxic personal care products

If you do use aerosols, make sure you do so in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask to avoid exposure. Or you can try sustainable, plastic and toxin-free deodorant from Wild Deodorant

Wear gloves and long sleeves when using cleaning solutions, insecticides and other toxic chemicals and if you're inside, keep the room well ventilated. Also, make the switch from chemically based to natural personal care products to avoid further toxic burden on the body.

Dora Walsh is a Registered Nutritional Therapist mBANT CNHC and Registered Nutritionist mBANT. She runs Nutrihealspecialising in nutritional therapy and lifestyle medicine.

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Jackson, E., Shoemaker, R., Larian, N., & Cassis, L. (2017). Adipose Tissue as a Site of Toxin Accumulation. Comprehensive Physiology, Volume 7, Issue 4, P. 1085–1135. 

Ziem G, McTamney J (1997). Profile of Patients with Chemical Injury and Sensitivity. Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume 105, (Suppl 2), pp 417–436.

Valussi, M., (2011). Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Volume 63 (sup1), pp.82-89.

Hodges, R. and Minich, D., 2015. Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 2015, pp.1-23.

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