How To Detox Your Liver

cross section X ray showing the liver
X ray showing the Liver at the top Left of this scan

Detoxification or Detox for short, is a life saving process that your body does daily as it deals with the toxins it encounters. 

Some of the toxins are the exhaust fumes of vehicles – especially diesel engines, some toxins come with the food we eat either as chemical sprays used by the farmer or additives used by the food processor. Some even occur in our intestines provided by bacteria or fungi and some in the liver itself as it battles mightily to handle, to detoxify and render harmless all this toxic mess!

Detox is natural, even if most of the toxins nowadays are not. As we evolved our detox abilities got better and better to allow us to deal with the toxins in the natural environment.


Not so long ago most humans lived as hunter gatherers. How much of their diet came from gathering wild fruit and berries and digging up roots and how much came from hunting is unknown but toxins faced our ancestors at every step. 

“Is that fruit edible?” And “how about these leaves?” and “This root, is is safe to eat?”

For us, plants are important foods but plants have their own life cycle and will defend themselves against attack just like we do. Plants also evolved and they produced a dazzling array of self defense mechanisms – toxins being the biggest weapon in their armoury. 

Most plants make toxins to defend themselves against being eaten.

We adapted to handle the toxins they produced. And that brings us to the liver. 

The liver is the major organ of detoxification and is where most of the lifesaving work of detox takes place.

And to ram home the importance of detox consider this quote from Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, “Up to 90% of all cancers are thought to be due to the effects of environmental carcinogens.” 

That means that if our detox systems work efficiently they protect us from cancer. And if we do what we can to boost our ability to detox and remove toxins from our body we give ourselves the best chance of health in the future.

How do we boost our detox ability? By eating foods that provide the liver with the natural nutrients it needs to do its job!

Liver Detox – Step by Step

Step 1 The Filter in the Liver

I filter my drinking water, millions of people do. The water from the tap often has toxic chemicals and sometimes life forms too. Best to block the biggest and most obvious offenders then.

The liver does that too. Every minute 2 quarts of our blood flows through the liver and it does a superb job of grabbing 99% of bacteria and various clumps of debris picked up somewhere along the way – on the first pass of the blood through the liver! 

Step 2 Bile Production

Bile is a liquid made by the cells in the liver which flows down the bile duct carrying toxins with it and into the small intestine where it can be safely absorbed by the fibre in your diet and carried out of the body when you have bowel motion. 

Step 3 Enzymes in the Liver

When you chomp into some lovely crunchy French bread, enzymes get to work almost immediately. Right there in your mouth as you are biting and chewing and enjoying the taste and aroma of the bread, enzymes in your saliva are working on the bread to digest it and make it available as nutrition for your body. 

The Liver does that with enzymes too – in 2 steps of its own.

First of all the toxins coming into the liver in the bloodstream are of 2 types. Not natural and manmade but water soluble and fat soluble!

 Some of the toxins themselves are fatty substances and they need a detox process of their own.

The liver has to work differently depending on whether the toxin it gets to work on dissolves in water or whether it is oily and needs something extra to help it dissolve. 

In Phase 1 of this enzyme process- the toxin is turned into a water soluble form –which can be handled easily or it is turned into something which may be less dangerous which makes a lot of sense or if that can’t be done it is turned into something that is more dangerous – which seems not to make sense at all.

If that sounds a bit scary it is because you understand what’s going on! 

What then?

The liver has grabbed a toxin and rather than detoxify it has, well, retoxified it! Phase 1 of Detox often produces very dangerous chemicals which are then handed over to ….. 

Phase 2 of Liver Detox

In Phase 1 specialist enzymes try to chomp away at the toxic molecules to break them up and make them safe for us and easy to detox. This does not always work and so the “big hitters” of Phase 2 slot onto the toxin and give the body a handle to get hold of to help it throw the toxin out. 

The technical word for this fixing a handle on is conjugation.

So the body needs a whole store of “handles” and it gets them from your diet. The handles might be sulphur from garlic or Vitamin B from whole grains or magnesium from greens.

And if your diet does not include the foods that help the liver with its detox then the toxin cannot be detoxified and it stays in a highly reactive form and does damage to all the tissues it comes across.

The liver itself gets damaged by eating a junk diet and so does the whole body since the liver is the main detox organ of the body.

Detox is daily, detox is natural and detox depends on eating a good healthy liver detox diet. We cannot detox by drinking water and we cannot detox by juicing since neither water nor fruit juices have all the detox nutrients we need for the liver to do its transformations of toxins into safe chemicals.

Detox in 3 Steps

That is why in my Detox book I talk about a Detox programme taking 3 steps with Step 1 concentrating on eating a nutritious liver detox diet and step 2 devoted to healing the gut.

Only after that is the body ready for the Detox. If you charge into Detox without preparation you might find a lot of symptoms like headaches, aches and pains and breaking out into rashes.

Don’t be put off by this, rather take some encouragement and plan to give your body and your health the biggest gift of all – a proper step by step Detox.

You might be delighted and surprised by the extra energy and clarity of mind you get after the detox. And you may get some extras like clearer skin and weight loss too!

Would that be OK?

photo credit wiki

Alex Newell ND

I'm Alex Newell and I am a Physicist who retrained as an Osteopath and Naturopath when my own health began to decline in my 30's. In fact I kept training and asking questions and began writing books and blogging over the last few years. The purpose of this blog, is to help those with an interest in Natural Health Care to improve their health and detox and chelate industrial chemicals out of the brain and body in a safe and effective way. Please feel free to ask questions and contact me

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