You might be surprised to learn just how massive the global supplement industry is. In 2020 alone, Grand View Research says it was valued at $140.3 billion and that number is expected to grow throughout this decade. One type of supplement that has caught the attention of consumers is liver cleanse supplements.
While the packaging on these products claims to be one of the best things you can do for your health, there is good reason to be wary. Here’s some information you should know before picking up liver cleanse supplements at the drugstore.
Why Your Liver Is Important
Before learning about liver cleanse supplements, you should know there are endless reasons why it’s important to take care of your liver. This vital organ performs over 500 functions related to fighting off infections, processing what you eat, helping clot the blood, and so much more. Here are some more examples of what your liver does:
- Cleanses your blood
- Regulates your supply of body fuel
- Regulates the balance of hormones
- Regulates your body’s cholesterol
- Regulates your supply of essential vitamins and minerals
- Produces bile
What Is a Liver Cleanse?
A liver cleanse, also known as a liver detox, is a health program that aims to take out toxins in your body. According to WebMD, people choose to do this detox in order to lose weight or improve their health. Many people think it will help their liver after eating unhealthy foods or a night of drinking.
It’s important to note there is no scientific evidence that a liver cleanse actually removes toxins from your body or makes you healthier. That said, there are liver cleanse supplements available that claim to help your liver in various ways. Let’s take a look at these next.
The Claims Surrounding Liver Cleanse Supplements
Liver cleanse supplements lead consumers to believe their liver will be healthier after trying it. They often claim it can undo damage and restore it back into peak function after unhealthy eating and binge drinking.
According to Medical News Today, here are some examples of what liver supplement websites claim their products can do:
- Detoxify the liver and kidneys
- Promote overall liver health
- Optimize liver function
- Protect liver cells from inflammation
- Increase metabolism and promote weight loss
- Support respiratory and immune system function
How Liver Cleanse Supplements Work
Liver cleanses are a type of detox. One of the ways to partake in this detox is through herbal or dietary supplements. Before taking any supplements, you should talk to your doctor to ensure they’re safe for you to take.
There are other ways liver cleanses are advertised to the general public. Some other popular examples include liquid diets, juice diets, and restricted eating. Again, there is no scientific proof that liver cleanse supplements actually result in health benefits.
Liver Cleanse Supplement Ingredients
Consumers are able to purchase cleanse supplements over the counter or online. They contain ingredients that are used for different health purposes. Healthline says that many of these products use a combination of three herbal ingredients:
- Milk thistle: known to decrease inflammation and protect liver cells.
- Artichoke leaf: studies suggest it may protect the liver and help cells regenerate.
- Dandelion root: has been used to treat liver ailments, but there is limited research to verify this claim.
Supplements will contain various ingredients depending on the brand. Some other ingredients that may be used in liver cleanse supplements include:
- Wild tam Mexican root
- Yellow dock root extract
- Hawthorn berry
- Chanca piedra
- Tumeric extract
The Risks of Liver Detoxes
While liver cleanse supplements claim to be a cure-all for your liver, they can actually do more harm than good. Experts at John Hopkins Medicine say they have not gone through clinical trials and are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Unfortunately, some dietary supplements can even lead to drug-induced injury.
Medical News Today says 20-percent of liver injuries in the U.S. are due to herbal and dietary supplements. Some examples of what liver injury can lead to include:
- Reduced blood clotting
- Abdominal swelling
- Brain damage
- Liver transplant
Taking Care of Your Liver
It’s safe to say the best way to take care of your liver is not through detoxes or cleanses. Instead, focus on living a healthy lifestyle.
The American Liver Foundation says eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can promote liver wellness. Further, if you want to learn more about taking care of your liver in a safe and effective way, talk to your doctor before considering a liver cleanse supplement.