Your liver is one of the busiest organs you have. Between processing food, neutralizing toxins from your food and environment, and helping regulate your blood sugar levels, it doesn’t get much downtime.
Even if you take good care of your body and eat the right foods, everyday activities like sitting in traffic, using a public restroom that smells like cleaning chemicals, and other exposures can negatively affect your liver, but the top liver-supporting supplements can help.
Here are a few to consider.
Liver Supportive Supplements
Always consult your doctor before adding new supplements to your diet. These supplements are known for their liver supportive benefits, and some of them have been used traditionally for thousands of years for liver concerns. It’s best to work with a qualified medical professional when planning your diet and supplement regimen.
Burdock root has been used for centuries to help detoxify the liver. You’ve likely seen burdocks when hiking – they are the little spiky balls that stick to your clothes. While annoying, they are quite medicinal for your liver, especially if you drink alcohol as studies have shown they can reverse liver damage.
Yellow Dock Root
Yellow dock roots contain phytochemicals with a high content of glycosides that protect the liver. As a result, they help maintain body’s bile production and may help the body properly absorb nutrients. Yellow dock root can also help fight oxidative stress and help the liver run efficiently.
Dandelion is rich in phytochemicals known to act on the liver. Dandelion is known as ‘liver tonic’ in folk medicine as it may increase bile flow. Many people use dandelion tea to detox their liver, and studies show that dandelion can effectively prevent liver disease and dysfunction.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that your liver makes. It is involved in repair, it helps make proteins that your body needs, and it supports your immune system.
Glutathione is available in capsule form, but studies show that this supplement works most strongly when administered via IV.
Your liver takes in a lot of toxins from the environment from breathing, smelling, and eating. So even if you live a holistic lifestyle and eat 100% organic, you still ingest toxins that your liver must process.
Vitamin C helps reduce your body's free radicals, helping balance antioxidants. This reduces the body’s oxidative stress which can cause liver disease if not handled. Vitamin C also helps reduce fatty tissue in the liver, helping to prevent fatty liver disease.
Milk thistle has been used for hundreds of years to detoxify the liver. It’s a tall plant that grows bright pink flowers and its leaves create a milky substance that prevents free radical damage and reduces oxidative stress. In some cases, it may also restore damaged cells.
Sugar and Your Liver
Your liver has a hand in processing sugar, and it’s a primary sugar storage facility for when you need more fuel than you’re taking in by food. But, unused stored sugar turns to fat, and fat in the liver can become problematic.
To ease your liver’s burden, eating less sugar—or better yet, zero sugar—can help give your liver less of a dietary burden and free it up to focus on neutralizing everything that’s coming at you from your environment.
Giving your Liver Extra Love
It’s important to protect your liver constantly, but there are times when it may need a little extra love.
- After illness. Your liver is a primary organ and when your body is under stress from a virus or bacterial infection, it works overtime. As a result, it can take time for your liver to recover from the illness, even after the symptoms are gone.
- After harsh medications. Drug-induced liver injury can occur from medications you must take for other issues. Because everything is filtered through the liver, they can disrupt your liver’s normal function, causing temporary injury. Giving your liver extra love during this time can help reverse the damage.
- Excessive Pollution. If you’re exposed to excessive pollution, it can cause temporary liver damage, or even lead to liver cancer. Giving your liver extra support during that time can help it recover faster and prevent more damage.
- Drinking. A night of drinking may be fun in the moment, but it can burden your liver and lead to inflammation. Treating your liver right in the weeks following can help it recover.
Take care of your liver! It’s one of your most important organs. Talk to your doctor about supplements to support your liver to help you look and feel your best.
- Lin, SC., Lin, CH., Lin, CC. et al. Hepatoprotective effects ofArctium lappa linne on liver injuries induced by chronic ethanol consumption and potentiated by carbon tetrachloride. J Biomed Sci 9, 401–409 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02256533
- Pfingstgraf IO, Taulescu M, Pop RM, et al. Protective Effects of Taraxacum officinale L. (Dandelion) Root Extract in Experimental Acute on Chronic Liver Failure. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021;10(4):504. Published 2021 Mar 24. doi:10.3390/antiox10040504
- Jensen T, Abdelmalek MF, Sullivan S, et al. Fructose and sugar: A major mediator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 2018;68(5):1063-1075. doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2018.01.019