How to Detoxify Your Organs – Guest Post by Christopher James Clark
Christopher Clark is a chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science. His book, Nutritional Grail, has earned critical acclaim from the scientific community and has won three awards, including the Gold Medal in the Food category of the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards. You can read our review of his phenomenal book here.
Earlier this year, Dr. Loren Cordain’s, the founder of the Paleo movement, invited Clark to join his writing team. Besides writing for ThePaleoDiet.com, Clark also writes for The Huffington Post and various other publications. He also maintains his own Nutritional Grail Blog, which features over 150 step-by-step recipes. Below is an excerpt from Nutritional Grail on How To Detoxify Your Organs.
Supporting The Detoxification Organs
The liver, kidneys, and intestines are the primary detoxification organs. Excessive sugar consumption, especially fructose, burdens the liver considerably. Reasonable amounts of fructose (around 25 grams per day) consumed as whole fruit are healthy and encouraged, but most people consume far too much fructose through soda, fruit juice, and processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The average American consumes 97 pounds of sugar per year, half of which is HFCS.1 According to Harvard Medical School, 30 percent of US adults (and presumably those of other developed nations) have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a virtually unknown disease before 1980.2 Additionally, a 2012 study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that nearly 10 percent of US teens have this disease.3 Research presented at the 2011 International Liver Congress made headlines with the suggestion that half the US population could have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by 2030.4
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is directly related to excessive consumption of fructose (sugar). Besides drastically reducing (or eliminating) sugar, the best way to support the liver is by eating foods that promote detoxification, and foods high in antioxidants. Garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables are highly beneficial. Also, according to traditional Chinese medicine, sour foods, including lemons and limes, support the liver.5 An excellent herb for liver support is milk thistle.
Milk thistle is an inexpensive yet very beneficial herb that supports liver function while preventing glutathione depletion. Milk thistle is the most well-researched plant for the treatment of liver disease.6 Silymarin, the active component of milk thistle, acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radicals and lipid peroxidation. Silymarin has been used effectively to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, and various toxin-induced liver diseases.7 Milk thistle seeds contain 4 to 6 percent silymarin, whereas extracts contain upwards of 65 to 80 percent.
Clinical research suggests that milk thistle effectively combats nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.8 Traditionally, milk thistle has been used for centuries to support and protect the liver. It consistently ranks among the best-selling herbal supplements in the US. The US Department of Health and Human Services recognizes milk thistle’s liver protective properties through the mechanisms of “antioxidant activity, toxin blockade at the membrane level, enhanced protein synthesis, anti-fibrotic activity, and possible anti-inflammatory or immunomodulating effects.”9
Besides supporting the liver, we must also support the kidneys and intestines for proper and effective detoxification. Optimal kidney function requires plenty of pure water. Generally speaking, many of the same foods that support the liver also support the kidneys. Cruciferous vegetables and fruits/vegetables high in antioxidants are particularly beneficial as are the following herbs: dandelion, meadowsweet, nettle, and parsley. Strengthening the intestines requires thorough chewing, and eating foods containing probiotics and adequate amounts of fiber.
1Stephanie Strom, “U.S. Cuts Estimate of Sugar Intake,” New York Times, October 26, 2012
2“Abundance of fructose not good for the liver, heart,” Harvard Heart Letter, September 2011
3Kristina Fiore, “Fatty Liver Disease on Rise in Teens,” Med Page Today, May 25, 2012
4Press release, “New 10 year data shows non-alcoholic fatty liver disease will reach epidemic status in the US,” European Association for the Study of the Liver, 2011 International Liver Congress, Berlin, Germany, March 2011
5Tom Monte, The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, published by Perigee, 1997, pg. 554
6L Abenavoli et al., “Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future,” Phytotherapy Research, October 2010, vol. 24, no. 10, pg. 1423–1432
8Hajaghamohammadi et al., “The Efficacy of Silymarin in Decreasing Transaminase Activities in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial,” Hepatitis Monthly, Summer 2008, vol. 8, no. 3, pg. 191–195
9US Department of Health and Human Services, “Milk Thistle: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects Summary,” Evidence Report/Technology Assessment Number 21, AHRQ Publication 01-E025
Images: Copyright (c) Sarah Murray cc