Liver detoxification programs can take on many different forms, each of which may be associated with certain cautions. Detox diets, liver cleanses or liver flushes are often advocated as ways to purge the liver of toxins – with some regimens even claiming to help expel gallstones.
Before beginning some type of liver detox, make sure you know what symptoms might arise, what to look out for and what could pose a serious health threat.
There is more than one way to do a liver detox. As such, it is easy for innovators to call an effective, ineffective or potentially hazardous regimen a valid detox plan.
5 Common Liver Cleanses
- Master Cleanse – Also referred to as the lemonade diet, participants are instructed to fast for 10 days while only consuming a lemonade concoction made with lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne. Laxatives are taken before bed and salt water is consumed in the morning to encourage defecation.
- CAUTIONS: This is a type of starvation diet. Unfortunately, going into starvation mode slows down metabolism. The daily laxative regimen can cause dehydration, deplete electrolytes, and impair normal bowel function. It can also disrupt the normal microorganisms that perform useful digestive functions. A person who goes on this diet repeatedly may run the risk of developing metabolic acidosis, a disruption of the body’s acid-base balance, which results in excessive acidity in the blood – a potentially perilous condition.
- Although initial dramatic weight loss is common, the weight typically comes back quickly after the fast. In addition, starvation diets can cause gallstones, the use of laxatives can damage the gastrointestinal tract, and dependence on laxatives can manifest in a short period of time.
- Liver or Gallbladder Flush – Originating from the work of Randolph Stone, participants are to consume primarily apples and apple juice, restrict their food intake to fruits and vegetables, consume a laxative (such as Epsom salt water) and drink olive oil and herbal tea.
- CAUTIONS: Besides the risks of fasting and using laxatives, the most serious danger for a liver flush is the risk of dislodging a real gallstone. Often, those who have gallstones are not aware of their existence, and getting a gallstone stuck in the gallbladder duct necessitates emergency surgery.