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Foods and Supplements to Help Support Liver Detoxification

Updated on February 15, 2015

We live in a toxic world. Our main detoxification system the liver is working overtime and we need to provide it with the nutrition and raw ingredients that it needs to do its job.

Our liver never had to work so hard as now with all the toxins and chemicals in our environment. We go outside and we smell the cars and engine fumes. We stay indoors and there are those who say that indoor air quality is poorer than outdoors. We eat our fruits and vegetables and we get some pesticides as well (if they are not organic). We eat fish for health and they say there is mercury. We eat beef and get a tiny dose of antibodies and hormones that was given to the cattle (if they are not grass-fed or organic).

The liver has a sophisticated two-phase detoxification system (and that is not is only task). After the skin, the liver is the second largest organ in the body. But nevertheless the toxic load may be a heavy burden for it.

Let's see what we can do to support our liver the best we can. Of course one way is to lessen the burden by eating organic and use natural products. And exercise -- it improves liver enzymes and liver health [reference]

But in this article, we focus on the raw ingredients in nutrition and supplements.

Broccoli and sulforaphane

According to the article "The Best Detox" by Dr. Michael Greger, broccoli is the number one source of sulforaphane. What does sulforaphone do? It is a phytonutrient that boost the liver’s detoxifying enzymes.

In the below video, Dr. Greger talks more about broccoli's powers in detail. See his other videos on improving liver function.

Sulfur Rich Foods

Examples of sulfur rich foods are Brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, onions, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and even egg yolks. In general, cruciferous vegetables are rich in sulfur.

In addition, the glutathione molecule is the body's own detoxifier and antioxidant. Glutathione binds mercury, making it less dangerous. If you study biochemistry, you will know that the glutathione molecule contains a sulfur group. Okay, so now you know why your body needs sulfur. Read more about the amazing role of glutathione in our body.

Increase Fiber

Get more fiber from vegetables and fruits. And don't juice them; you remove the fiber that way. Eat the whole vegetable and the whole fruit.

Getting enough leafy greens is very important. Aim to have half your food intake to be vegetables.


Turmeric can help the liver.

Sayer Ji writes in that ...

"The database now contains 86 studies demonstrating the ability of turmeric (and curcumin) to protect the liver against a wide range of chemical and drug exposures."

Tumeric may even kill liver cancer.

B vitamins

Article on writes ...

"To keep you liver functioning efficiently, it needs a good supply of B-complex vitamins to assist it with the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins."

B-complex vitamin means the whole group of B vitamins as opposed to just one B vitamin. Just make sure that the B12 in your vitamin is the Methylcobalamin form which contains the methyl group in the molecule so that your body can use that for its important methylation cycle.

Read more about the importance of B-vitamins here.

Try to get your B vitamins from natural food such as leafy greens. Although B12 is only found in animal products including meats and fish and egg yolk has some too. Chicken liver is a very good source of B12. It makes sense, eat liver for your liver. The chicken liver must contain some of the raw ingredients that your own liver needs. In fact, vitamin B12 is stored in the liver.

Foods that Support the Liver

The below video shows 14 foods that helps support the liver.

It mentions the following foods ...

  1. Garlic (allicin and selenium)
  2. Grapefruit
  3. Beets and Carrots (flavonols and beta carotene)
  4. Green tea (plant flavonols)
  5. Leafy greens
  6. Avocados (helps produce glutathione)
  7. Apples
  8. Cold press organic olive oil
  9. Whole grains (B vitamins)
  10. Cruciferous vegetables
  11. Lemons and limes (vitamin c)
  12. Walnuts (amino acid arginine detoxify ammonia and support glutathione production)
  13. Cabbage
  14. Turmeric
  15. Artichokes, asparagus, kale, Brussels sprouts

Liver support

BioMatrix has some scientific explanation of what is needed to support the liver. They also make a liver support supplement which includes L-Methinine, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, Taurine, and reduced L-Glutathione.

N-Acetyl-Cysteine (also known as NAC) acts as a precursor to the body's own detoxifier glutathione. It enables to body to make more glutathione. However, some say that NAC can feed yeast for those people with yeast problems.

Another supplement for detox is UltraClear Plus by Metagenics. It also contains NAC as well as many vitamins and minerals that support detox. You can see this in their ingredient list. It include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. As well as minerals like Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, and Phosphorus. And other ingredients.

Because this supplement contains Calcium, Iron, and vitamin A (all of which can be a problem if used in excess), you should not take detoxification supplements for long durations unless supervised by a physician by nutritional testing.

Ideally you can get the same vitamins and minerals from foods.

For example, you get chromium from broccoli. B vitamins from leafy greens. Vitamin D from getting out in the sun. Etc.

Because so many vitamins and minerals are needed in the body's detoxification system, aim to eat as wide a variety of vegetables as possible.

There is also indications that probiotics can support the liver -- the thinking being that it helps via its effect on the microbiome. Reference here.


Article is only the opinion of a freelance writer at the time of writing, and not that of a medical professional.


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    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 3 years ago

      Thanks for visiting. I just added a link to article about how broccoli is the number one source of sulforaphone, which is a phytonutrients that boosts the liver's detoxifying enzymes.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 3 years ago

      very true bls

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Will definitely finish up those apples in my fruit bowl now!