Spring detox and liver health
When it comes to liver health, experts point to milk thistle. Sigmund Brzostowski, Sales Manager at Yerba Prima, says whole foods“While there are always new formulations for liver health/detoxification, Yerba Prima only has one product in this category because in the end science and nutrition always seem to come down to milk thistle like milk thistle. only ingredient that works.The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, which essentially acts as an antioxidant.Medical research on milk thistle and liver health has shown that silymarin can help relieve inflammation and promote cellular repair Cellular repair is really key when it comes to helping promote a healthy liver Yerba Prima uses milk thistle standardized to 80% silymarin in its products, including Women’s Renew and Men’s Rebuild .
“Looks like milk thistle is still at the top of the recognized liver support ingredients,” agrees Kim Hapke, ND, consultant to Metabolic Maintenance’s R&D department. “It exhibits antioxidant protective qualities as well as promoting cell repair, and has positive effects on glutathione levels and inflammation.” Beyond milk thistle, Dr. Hapke says it gets personal. “Depending on the patient’s presentation, I might choose to add more antioxidant support from nutrients like alpha-lipoic acid or N-acetylcysteine, or support normal inflammatory balance with curcumin, or d ‘help digestion and fat metabolism with ingredients like burdock and choline.’ Metabolic Maintenance offers Metabolic Detox capsules containing silymarin from milk thistle, N-acetyl-L-cysteine and alpha-lipoic acid. The company also offers a Metabolic Detox Complete, which offers everything in Metabolic Detox capsules, plus everything in a multivitamin, omega-3s, prebiotic inulin, and a plant-based protein blend, for complete nutrition.
Diving deeper into milk thistle, David Winston, RH (AHG), founder and president of Herbalist & Alchemist, notes that it is a hepatoprotective herb. “Hepatoprotective herbs such as milk thistle, turmeric, schisandra, licorice or artichoke leaf contain antioxidant/anti-inflammatory compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids and flavonolignans, which protect against oxidative damage caused by hepatotoxic drugs, alcohol and industrial pollutants. These herbs also improve hepatic glutathione production, help repair damaged hepatocytes, and inhibit the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
As for another category of liver-supporting ingredients, Winston points to liver tonics, “which mildly improve normal liver function and may have mild hepatoprotective activity. Herbs such as dandelion root, chicory root , burdock root, blessed thistle, or elecampane are used to support liver health in people with a high-fat diet, slow bowel or slow transit time, high LDL-C, or ailments chronic skin conditions.”
For those with a relatively healthy liver but inadequate bile secretion, Winston suggests cholagogues/choleretics, which stimulate both the liver and gallbladder. This group of herbs includes Oregon grape root, barberry root, red alder bark, Chinese corydalis, and fringed tree bark. Winston explains that signs that may suggest the use of these herbs include poor fat absorption; nausea or dyspepsia when eating fat; abdominal bloating; or right-sided abdominal pain.
Herbalist & Alchemist offers a range of products that incorporate Winston’s recommendations, from unique herbal extracts such as Schisandra and Milk Thistle to Original Bitters, an herbal blend that includes Dandelion Root, Artichoke and Peppermint. .
Global Healing experts support Winston’s turmeric recommendation. “One of the most overlooked herbs for liver support is turmeric and especially low oxalate turmeric,” says Jonathan Group, DC, RD, Senior Product Advisor. He explains, “People with kidney problems or repeated kidney stones cannot take a lot of turmeric because it is naturally high in oxalates, which can cause kidney stones.” Global Healing offers low oxalate raw turmeric extract – and for those curious how it’s extracted, company founder Edward Group, DC, NP, has a video on his YouTube channel (under “Dr. . Group”) describing the process.
Another option comes from Enzymedica: Purify Liver Detox contains schisandra extract, milk thistle, and compounds including glutathione. Known as the “master antioxidant”, glutathione is used by the body to help remove toxins from cells; protect against the harmful effects of radiation, chemicals and environmental pollutants; and using the energy (5).
Offering antioxidant support from a different angle, HealthPlus Inc. sells Liver Detox, which contains several liver-supporting ingredients, including N-acetyl-L-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, and astaxanthin.
Alejandro Junger, MD, also finds the herbs helpful in his practice. “Science is just catching up with what ancient cultures have been using for millennia. Ayurvedic medicine provides extensive knowledge and experience of powerful herbs that have been used successfully for a long time. One such combination is a triad of powerful adaptogens: bhumyamalaki, katuki, and punarnava. This herbal combination is known in India not only to protect the liver, but also the kidneys. In India, it is used to treat inflammation and as a powerful antioxidant, and to treat and prevent fatty liver disease. Organic India USA produces a supplement called Liver Kidney which is exactly this formula. I use it myself and have prescribed it to several of my patients. Its mechanism of action is at several levels. Ingredients provide antioxidants, essential for detoxification and overall cellular health; they also provide nutrients in the form of minerals and vitamins.
This combination of adaptogens also, as the name suggests, helps the body adapt, adds Dr. Junger. “On the liver, this could mean promoting hepatocytes to upregulate the synthesis of enzymes needed to deal with detoxification activity, the P450 enzymes in the liver. More controlled scientific studies are needed to fully understand what the ancient Ayurvedic texts explain so simply, clearly and even poetically.
Also providing a blend with traditional herbs: Viva Herbals offers Chi-Tox tea, which contains green tea extract; maitake, reishi, shiitake and cordyceps mushrooms; Goji Berry; and several herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – schisandra, milk thistle, Chinese skullcap and Chinese licorice.
An important note about herbal formulas: “Synergy studies over the past 15 years have clearly shown that the careful combination of herbs can result in exponential improvements in herbal activity, whereas incompatible herbs can create anti-synergy or antagonism,” says Winston. “It’s not just about throwing a bunch of weeds together. The key is to look at traditions that have found over long experience that certain combinations of herbs enhance activity and promote healing. Examples include the use of turmeric with ginger to increase absorption and potency, the eclectic use of fringe tree bark with culvert root, or in TCM combining rhubarb with gardenia fruit to eliminate liver heat.
Moving on to herbs, Dr. Junger adds protein to the list of helpful supplements: “Liver cells need protein to make detoxification enzymes, so a good source of protein is a must. During periods of detoxification, I ask my patients to supplement their protein intake with vegetable proteins, mainly rice and peas.
Also beneficial: extract from French oak wood, such as Robuvit, from the Horphag brand. “Extensive research shows that Robuvit is effective for natural detoxification support, as it increases the enzymatic capacity of the liver needed to effectively neutralize toxins in the body,” says Bornet. “It is rich in polyphenols of the ellagitannin class, such as roburines and other flavonoids specific to oak wood, which improve basic cellular function to fight aging, increase energy and fight fatigue. A 2016 study found that Robuvit supplementation helps individuals recover from temporary liver damage from alcohol consumption faster than control groups.