Posted on: September 20, 2015 at 6:57 pm
Last updated: April 22, 2017 at 11:36 pm

This awesome post was written by Dr. Heather Wdowin, a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor, accomplished diagnostician, and practitioner. You can read more about what she does here


In modern life, we are surrounded by toxins which produce free radicals and oxidative damage in every tissue of the body.  The liver uses antioxidants and other nutrients to detoxify those free radicals. If you are human, you need to support your liver because of the increasing toxicity of the environment combined with unhealthy cultural habits.  Do you have any of these symptoms which may indicate you have poor or compromised liver health? Liver detoxification may be next on your list of things to do for your body.

Signs of Bad Liver Health

liver health detoxification liver enzyme




  1. Headaches and Migraines – Chronic migraine patients have lower antioxidant capacity (1). Chemicals, hormone changes, and alcohol are all hard on the liver and can trigger migraines. Oxidative stress is also considered a key event in causing migraines (2), and we often see detoxification significantly help migraine patients clinically.
  2. Psoriasis – Impaired liver function is linked to psoriasis.(3) People with psoriasis are twice as likely to have advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It should be noted that in the West, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the top chronic liver disease (4)
  3. Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome – Sugar consumption has dramatically increased during the last few decades, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup found in processed foods; it has been positively associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (5)
  4. PMS – The liver metabolizes all of the hormones in your body and keeps them in balance. If the liver isn’t working optimally, estrogen and progesterone get out of balance, causing PMS and menopausal symptoms appear or worsen. Elevated levels of estrogen can also cause cholestasis, and result in a vicious circle where liver function is slowed down, and estrogen levels continue to increase because it isn’t being processed and excreted. (6)
  5. Fatigue – Your liver needs a lot of B vitamins in order to metabolize and detoxify. (7) B vitamins are also very important for your mitochondria to produce energy from the food that you eat; low B vitamins can result in fatigue, malaise and depression.(8)
  6. Acne – Oxidative stress has been found to play a key role in acne progression.(9) The skin is another major detoxification organ for excretion. If the liver cannot handle all the toxins by itself, excretion of the toxins can occur through the skin (10)
  7. Digestive problems, including bloating and constipation, can indicate that there are problems with your liver.

The liver is an unsung hero of health because it processes every chemical we come into contact with.  We are biochemically responsible for every molecule we encounter (11), and liver detoxification consists of two phases which need a variety of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in order to work properly.



7 Best Lifestyle Choices You Can Make for Good Liver Health


  1. Eat Clean: For good liver health, you must subtract toxins and alcohol from your life. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are good for you, but they also have pesticides that your liver has to detoxify.  Add organic fruits and vegetables to your diet, especially those found in the dirty dozen.[1] Limiting your alcohol intake and the amount of simple sugars you eat will also benefit your already hard working liver.
  2. Best foods for the optimal liver health: Apples (organic), Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Cranberries, Turmeric, Dandelion greens, Garlic, Grapes, Grapefruit, Kale, Olives, Pomegranates, Radishes, Raspberries, Rosemary, Spinach, Strawberries, and Tangerines.(12). Whey protein increases glutathione production by the liver. (13)
  3. Drink Water: So simple, yet many people are chronically dehydrated; many are unaware that coffee, tea and alcohol do not count as water intake.
  4. Implement Fiber: Fiber decreases the reabsorption of toxins in the digestive system because it speeds up your digestive process and inhibits the intestine’s ability to reabsorb toxins. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, and it can also be supplemented in the form of psyllium husk or ground golden flax seeds. (Note: grind flax seeds yourself as needed, when they are ground ahead of time the healthy fats in them can oxidize, and cause more harm than good.)
  5. Antioxidants:  Oxidative stress from the environment and the body’s own metabolism contributes to the damage we see in fatty liver disease. (14) Antioxidants help to neutralize oxidative stress, and are good for more than just your liver. Vitamin C, resveratrol and turmeric are some of the best known, and most effective antioxidants
  6. Milk Thistle: Milk Thistle a.k.a. Silymarin increases the ability of the liver to repair itself and is liver cell protective.(15)

Detoxification is a complicated process, but if you follow the previous seven suggestions, you will be lessening the burden on your liver so it can continue to protect you from oxidative stress, a major cause of disease.

[1] EWG has a list of the 12 foods with the highest pesticide residues, as well as 15 that don’t need to be bought as organic.

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In Text Citation Sources

  1. L, C., MD. (2015). Evidences of Reduced Antioxidant Activity in Patients With Chronic Migraine and Medication-Overuse Headache. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 55(7), 984`-991. Retrieved from
  2. N, M., MD. (2015). Neurotoxicity by Synthetic Androgen Steroids: Oxidative Stress, Apoptosis, and Neuropathology: A Review. Current Neuropharmacology, 13(1). Retrieved from
  3. Murray, M. T., and J Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 2nd ed. (Rockilin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1998).
  4. Jancin, B., & Van de Voort, E. (2013). Http:// Clinical Endocrinology News. Retrieved from
  5. Laguna, J. C., Alegret, M., & Roglans, N. (2014). Simple Sugar Intake and Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Epidemiological and Mechanistic Insight. Nutrients, 6(12), 5933-5954. Retrieved from
  6. Murray, M. T., and J Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 2nd ed. (Rockilin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1998).
  7. Ibid.
  8. Depeint, F., Bruce, W. R., Shangari, N., Mehta, R., & O’Brien, P. J. (2006). Mitochondrial function and toxicity: Role of the B vitamin family on mitochondrial energy metabolism. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 163(1-2), 94-112. doi:10.1016/j.cbi.2006.04.014
  9. Al-Shobaili, H. A. (2014). Oxidants and anti-oxidants status in acne vulgaris patients with varying severity. Annals of Cliniical and Labratory Science, 44(2), 202-207. Retrieved from
  10. Ruch, R. J. (1996). Toxic responses of the skin. Chemical Exposure and Toxic Responses, 1, 133.
  11. NUCCI, R., TEODORO, A., & GAMA, E. (2016). Liver regeneration and aging: a review. J. Morphol, 33(4), 179-182.
  12. Crinnion, W. (2011). AARP Clean, Green, and Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat. John Wiley & Sons.
  13. Tseng, Y. M., Lin, S. K., Hsiao, J. K., Chen, J., Lee, J. H., Wu, S. H., & Tsai, L. Y. (2006). Whey protein concentrate promotes the production of glutathione (GSH) by GSH reductase in the PC12 cell line after acute ethanol exposure. Food and chemical toxicology, 44(4), 574-578.
  14. Casas-Grajales, S., & Muriel, P. (2015). Antioxidants in liver health. World journal of gastrointestinal pharmacology and therapeutics, 6(3), 59.
  15. Ibid.
Dr. Heather Wdowin
Naturopathic Medical Doctor
Dr. Heather Wdowin is a Cornell University educated Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in functional medicine and complex chronic disease cases. She is an eclectic practitioner with 15 years experience treating a diverse range of patients. She has worked with professional athletes, recovering drug addicts, people battling cancer, and patients no one else could help. She determines the cause of disease with advanced medical testing and diagnostics, and treats that cause by working with the patient through education and functional, logical, evidence based medicine. She is an educator of both the public as well as physicians and health care workers, a world traveler, and nature lover.

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