The liver is the human body’s largest internal organ and one of the most important for survival. Without it, bodily tissues would die from lack of nutrients and oxygen and the digestive process would not be able to take place. One of the liver’s most important functions is the removal of toxins from your system. This function is why cleansing your liver and living a healthy lifestyle is so crucial. Performing a liver cleanse can help remove toxic buildup for overall health and wellness.
Short Breakdown of the Liver Cleanse
- Days 1 to 4 — Prep: Eat light, healthy meals; For best results, eat only fruit. Add liver-cleansing herbs to enhance the liver-detoxifying effects of the cleanse.
- Day 5 — Pre-flush: In the evening, you will prep your liver for tomorrow’s flush using a combination of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt combined with water, followed two hours later with 6 ounces of extra virgin olive oil. Then get some rest overnight.
- Day 6 — Flush: Take an oxygen-based colon cleanser to help flush the toxins released from the liver and gallbladder during the night. Take it easy and continue to follow a healthy diet. Allow yourself time to rest.
The Liver’s Location & Design
Before doing a liver cleanse, it is important to understand what the liver is and all of the necessary functions it performs. Inside your body, the liver sits primarily on the right side. It spans across the top of the abdominal cavity, above your stomach and below your diaphragm, leaning down towards the right kidney. This vital organ is soft and rubbery with a reddish-brown color, weighs about three pounds, and contains one pint of blood at any given moment. It is triangular and consists of two primary lobes made up of 1,000 tiny lobules that are part of the hepatic duct. This duct transports bile made by the liver to the gallbladder and the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.
Functions of the Liver
The liver is responsible for essential activities beyond digestion and filtering toxins. The functions it performs on a daily basis warrant regular health maintenance and care.
The liver is the metabolic center of the body. Controlled by the central nervous system, the liver is responsible for the metabolization of macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins). This metabolic process also produces free radicals that antioxidants scavenge to maintain the oxidative and antioxidative balance in the liver. Insulin and glucagon hormones are what drive the metabolic function of this organ.
The liver is responsible for the production of bile, proteins for blood plasma, glucose, and cholesterol. The bile your liver produces helps break down fats in the small intestine and take away waste. The proteins used for blood plasma are also made in the liver and consist of fibrinogen, prothrombin, and albumins. The first two proteins are coagulation components that aid in the blood-clotting process, while albumins maintain the blood’s environment to keep blood cells at an even hydration level. The production of cholesterol and other proteins help transport fats throughout the body.
The liver helps keep your blood sugar levels steady. It produces and distributes glucose depending on your body’s requirements. When you eat, your liver holds onto sugar, or glucose, to use as fuel for a later time. If there is little to no sugar present in your body but your organs and red blood cells require it, your liver produces another kind of fuel called ketones derived from fats. A low level of insulin in your body is what triggers this process called ketogenesis.
The liver acts as a storage unit holding your glucose supply, nutrients, minerals such as iron and copper, and vitamins A, D, E, K, and B-12. Many of these components are collected from blood passing through the hepatic duct. This function of the liver ensures that a constant supply of these essential nutrients will be provided to the body’s tissues when they require them.
The liver is part of the innate immune system, also known as the nonspecific immune system. This type of immune system provides immediate action against infection but does not generate long-lasting immunity to the organism, which is a trait the adaptive immune system carries. The innate immune system identifies an issue and sends immune cells to the area requiring defense and repair. The liver’s primary immunity function is to identify and remove harmful toxins in the body. It also helps with the production of cells responsible for the activation of the adaptive immune system.[4, 5]
The production of bile means that the liver plays a role in yet another key body process — digestion. The cells responsible for this process, called hepatocytes, are found in the parenchymal tissue of the liver. They make up 70 to 85 percent of the liver's mass. Bile passes through bile ducts and is either stored in the gallbladder or released into the duodenum to help with digestion. Bile is comprised of cholesterol, water, bile salts, and a pigment called bilirubin. These components that make up bile help break down fats into fatty acids.
The liver and kidneys are the main organs responsible for detoxification. The liver protects the body from toxic chemicals by cleaning blood and filtering out harmful chemicals in red blood cells. This process transforms these chemicals into compounds that can then be safely and efficiently removed from the body through urine.
Signs of a Poorly Performing Liver
You are exposed to toxins every day. These toxins can come in the form of water, food preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, and electromagnetic radiation which can greatly affect the liver. There are several signs to look for regarding a troubled liver.
- Tendency for the body to overheat resulting in excessive perspiration
- Difficulty digesting fatty foods
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Inflammation of the liver
- The development of dark spots, commonly referred to as liver spots, on the skin
- New weight gain or the failure to lose weight even after lowering calorie intake
- Bloating in the abdomen
- Fat around the upper part of the abdomen
- Pain over or around the liver
- High blood pressure
- High levels of triglycerides
- Mood swings and depression
- Sleep apnea
What Is a Liver Cleanse?
Sometimes referred to as a "liver detox," a liver cleanse involves following a regulated diet over a period of several days. A common protocol runs for six days, with several preparation days followed by a flush. The objective of a liver cleanse is to reduce or eliminate toxins in the liver so that it can perform all of its functions more effectively.
Why Is a Liver Cleanse Necessary?
The liver is your filter for toxins. After a time it can become clogged with toxic residue, hindering its ability to keep your body free of these unhealthy components.
Think of the liver like the air conditioning filter in your house. You know it’s time to replace or clean it when it becomes dark and clogged. In this state, the filter can no longer keep your house clear of things like dust, pet dander, dirt, and toxins. Before the liver gets to a similar state, it’s time for it to be cleansed of the toxic residue that has built up over time. This will also give the liver time to heal itself.
Steps to Cleanse the Liver
A week before the cleanse you should rid your home of toxins, and eliminate products that contain chemicals like nail polish, hairspray, or other chemically produced beauty products. Stay away from alcohol before and after a cleanse, and consider eliminating alcohol from your life altogether. 
You'll have the best results if you eat clean, healthy meals and avoid meat, fatty foods, and foods high in sodium such as processed foods leading up to the cleanse.
The liver cleanse lasts six days and involves preparing you liver a flush (the first four days), a pre-flush day, and the purge itself on day six.
Following a healthy liver cleanse diet is important in the first days of your cleanse. Eat fresh foods and keep your meals light. Also, drink plenty of purified or distilled water. You can enhance your water with a liver-supporting herbal blend, such as Liver Health. Global Healing includes Liver Health, Oxy-Powder, Turmeric, Olive Oil, and Epsom Salt in the Liver Cleanse Program™, which is designed to stimulates the liver and purge toxins. The program contains supplies for a six-day liver cleanse. Below are more detailed instructions:
Days 1 to 4: Foods to Avoid
Because the liver acts as a filter, we suggest eating only fresh, healthy foods during the cleanse to avoid added buildup and eradicate the liver of residual toxins. To help establish a foundation of good health, reduce your consumption of the following as much as possible, or better yet, eliminate them from your diet entirely:
- Dairy products
- Refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial dyes
- Table salt
- Artificial preservatives
- Processed foods
- Microwaved foods
- Canned foods
- Excess Coffee or Caffeine
Days 1 to 4: Foods to Embrace
In order to support a healthy liver cleanse, there are liver-friendly foods that can aid in digestion and promote a healthy evacuation of toxins from your body. These foods contain vitamins and minerals, namely potassium, that are linked to healthy liver function. It's best to eat a plant-based diet — only fresh, organic, or locally-grown produce. Fruits and vegetables provide your body with nutrients that draw out toxins and support the cleansing process. Embrace these foods during your liver cleanse:
- Water (only distilled, purified, or fluoride-free)
- Fresh, natural juices
- Herbal teas (non-caffeinated)
- Water, enhanced with apple cider vinegar or pure lemon juice
A healthy liver cleanse should involve homemade meals using only fresh, plant-based ingredients. Try using these recipes when undergoing a detoxification process.
Dr. Group’s Liver Cleanse Soup
- 1 beet
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup broccoli
- 10 garlic cloves
- ½ onion
- ¼ lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Himalayan crystal salt
Wash the vegetables and finely chop the ingredients to your preferred consistency. Pour 32 ounces of distilled or purified water into a soup pot and add all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer on low heat for one hour.
Dr. Group’s Liver Cleanse Juice
To alternate meals during your cleanse week, try a blended drink.
- 3 organic carrots (washed and peeled)
- 2 organic apples (washed and cut)
- 1 organic beet (washed and peeled)
- 6 organic kale leaves
- ½ organic lemon (washed and peeled)
- ½ inch ginger root
Blend until the desired consistency is reached.
Days 1 to 4 — Preparation
During the first four days, keep your meals light and healthy. Eat abundantly from the list of suggested foods above. Chew your food thoroughly and eat at a slow pace to ensure proper digestion.
To stay hydrated as your body cleanses itself, drink half your body weight of water in ounces per day (if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces). A suggestion to enhance the detoxifying process: mix two tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) to one gallon of distilled water. You can prepare this in the morning and enjoy it throughout the day. Shake and refrigerate.
Fresh, raw fruit is a great way to enhance your liver cleanse. Watermelon is a great choice due to its water and fiber content. Some of the best fruit choices for liver cleansing are:
To get more nutrients into your system while on a cleanse, eat a handful of nuts or seeds. Good choices include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
Natural supplements consisting of herbs and spices like turmeric, milk thistle, and dandelion are a great way to add more nutrients and flavor to meals while maintaining a healthy liver detoxification.
Day 5 — Pre-Flush
To prepare for the flushing process on day five, you will be ingesting water, Epsom salt, and olive oil over a period of about two hours.
About two hours before bed, mix one tablespoon of Epsom Salt in eight ounces of warm purified water and drink it quickly. You may experience liquid stools within 20 minutes after ingestion, so it is advisable to be near a bathroom. Try not to eat for about two hours prior to taking the Epsom salt.
Two hours later, drink ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil, ideally organic. You may add a small amount of freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, or lemon juice to improve taste. It is important that you drink all six ounces. There are a few ways to ingest the oil to make it easier to go down:
- Thicken the oil by refrigerating it for a few hours
- Using a jar, pour 4 ounces of orange or grapefruit juice (1/2 cup) into the oil and shake until thin
- Split into two cups with juice in one and oil in the other and drink through a straw alternating between the two
Immediately after drinking the oil, go to bed and lie on your right side with your knees pulled up to your stomach for 30 minutes. After this step, you can stretch out and go to sleep. Cramping can occur, which is a sign the purge of toxins is working. Walking around for ten minutes followed by another attempt at sleep should help cramps. Nausea can be another common side effect due to the release of toxins from the liver. It's ok to vomit if necessary. This is a sign that your body may do well with another cleanse.
Day 6 —Flush
The day after completing the cleanse, consider doing a natural water enema or taking six Oxy-Powder® capsules immediately after waking up to naturally flush the stones that have been released from the liver and gallbladder.
Take it easy and continue to follow the body cleansing diet. Since you've just rid your body of harmful toxins, now you want to keep it clean and healthy. Drink plenty of distilled or purified water.
What to Expect During a Cleanse
You may or may not see waste materials that your body released during your liver cleanse. Keep in mind that everyone is different and the results of your cleanse depend on your diet and lifestyle.
Liver cleanses are different for many people, but a lack of energy and an emotional response can occur. Some people may also notice a few issues with their skin, along with an overall feeling of sickness during or after the cleanse (this is sometimes called the healing crisis). These conditions will improve over a short period.
Top Liver Cleanse Benefits
Many people don’t realize the impact an unclean liver can have on their daily performance, energy levels, and even appearance. The accumulation of different toxins is taxing on the liver. These toxins are lumped into two categories: exogenous toxins and endogenous toxins.
Exogenous toxins are comprised of anything that originates outside of the body including toxins found in food, water, and air. Endogenous toxins are a normal byproduct of your body resulting from cellular metabolism. Performing a liver cleanse to remove these toxins can affect the overall wellness and health of your entire body.
Improves Your Outward Appearance
An unhealthy outward appearance can show what’s going on inside of your body. Detoxifying your liver may help to boost your immune system and enable required nutrients to reach destinations that help with cell regeneration. Once your inside is refreshed, your outside will reflect that and may reduce the appearance of age by as much as five to ten years.
Promotes Healthy Weight
Weight loss can be one of the results of a liver cleanse. When the liver becomes blocked due to high toxicity levels, it isn’t able to perform two of its key functions — bile production and metabolism. Cleaning this organ encourages healthier functioning making it easier for the liver to break down fats and produce bile.
Boosts Overall Vitality
Fatigue, sleep apnea, and sluggishness can be linked to an unhealthy diet and unclean liver. Flushing your body of toxins through a cleanse enables the body to receive the nutrient byproducts produced by the liver. These nutrients will have a marked effect on your energy levels as well as an overall feeling of wellness.
Helps Curb Liver Stones
The kidneys and gallbladder aren’t the only organs to produce stones; your liver can achieve this as well. These stones are similar to gallstones with the exception of location, and form due to high cholesterol levels. When too much cholesterol is present in the body, excess amounts may crystallize into lumps resembling tiny pebbles. These stones, stored in the liver, can considerably affect liver function. Performing a cleanse may help flush these unwanted stones out of your system, supporting a more productive liver.
Supports the Immune System
The liver’s role as part of your immune system can be compromised as a result of residual toxins. Cleaning these toxins from your liver will give your immune system a boost by affecting your liver’s ability to address infection and identify toxins in the blood.
How Often to Do a Cleanse
The number of times you choose to perform a liver cleanse is up to you. Experts recommend a full cleanse two or three times a year. Always consult a trusted healthcare professional before beginning any cleanse. However, some people perform this process several times with five to 10-day intervals to feel a more profound result. To start your cleanse, try Global Healing's Liver Cleanse Program™. This all-natural, multi-tiered program uses the power of Liver Health to kickstart your liver’s natural cleansing abilities, and Oxy-Powder to facilitate toxin removal.
- "Liver: Anatomy and Functions." John Hopkins Medicine. hopkinsmedicine.org. n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2017.
- Rui, L. "Energy Metabolism In the Liver." Compr Physiol. Jan 2014;4(1), 177-97. Web 2 Nov. 2017.
- "How Does the Liver Work?" PubMed Health. Rev. 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
- Alberts, B., et al. "Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. Innate Immunity." New York: Garland Science; 2002. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
- Gao, B. "Basic Liver Immunology." Cell Mol Immunol. May 2016; 3(3), 265–266. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.
- Freitas-Lopes, M., et al. "Differential Location and Distribution of Hepatic Immune Cells." Cells. 2017 Dec 7;6(4). pii: E48.Web. 6 Nov. 2017.
- Collins, J.T., et al. "Anatomy, Abdomen, Small Intestine." pubMed.gov. StatPearls Publishing; 19 Oct. 2017. Web. 6. Nov. 2017.
- "What Processes Does the Liver Undergo to Remove Toxins?" Cornell College. cornellcollege.edu. n.d. Web. 6 Nov. 2017.
- Baker, A. "Ten Signals Your Liver Needs to Detox." Nourish Holistic Nutrition. 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 7 Nov. 2017.
- "Natural Liver Cleanse." Your Health. herbalremediesadvice.org. Web. 7 Nov. 2017.
- Bayless, K. "This Is What Happens to Your Body After Detoxing for One Week." Living Healthy. 21 May 2016. Web. 7 Nov. 2017.
- McClees, H. "How to Detox Your Liver the Natural Way: A 5 Step Guide." One Green Planet. 3 May 2017. Web. 8 Nov. 2017.
- Farrar T. “Liver Detoxification: Starve or Nourish?"The Weston A. Price Foundation. westonprice.org. 17 NOV. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2017.
- "Dr. Group's 6 Day Liver Cleanse Instructions." The Power Hour. n.d. Web 9 Nov. 2017.
- "Healthy Liver Supplements: Your Detailed Guide to a Natural Liver Cleansing Diet." Natural Liver Cleansing Diet. livercleansing-diet.org. 2015. Web. 9 Nov 2017.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.