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9 Signs That It’s Liver Detox Time


How do you know if your liver needs detoxification?

The human liver is a multi-tasking, dynamic, brilliant organ – performing a long list of functions to sustain life. In an ideal world, the liver operates flawlessly and is able to keep the bloodstream free of toxins with minimal effort. However, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the communities we live in, the paths we travel, the products we apply to our skin and most of what we come in daily contact with are full of pollutants that can easily burden an industrious liver. Although an occasional vague symptom is no cause for worry, increasing frequency and intensification of these nine signs might actually be your liver crying out for detoxification help.

The signs of a liver congested with toxins are common complaints; so common that few people pay these symptoms much attention. This is understandable, except when four or more of these signs occur regularly and seem to be getting worse. The following nine types of discomfort (when they are daily happenings and grouped together) could mean that your liver needs help:

  1. Headaches – There are dozens of reasons for a headache, ranging from a stiff neck, to eyestrain, to stress, to a virus, to low blood sugar, to dehydration, to a hangover, to a congested, toxic liver. Find out about “An Alternate Approach to Liver-Related Headaches.”
  2. Constipation – Chronic, difficult elimination that is not aided by increasing hydration and fiber intake could be a result of toxins slowing the liver’s digestive functions.
  3. Fatigue – A symptom associated with a majority of health issues, fatigue that is unrelieved by sleep could be related to liver toxicity. Usually, the liver stores glycogen for when the body needs a burst of energy. A sluggish, congested liver is unable to properly store, release or process glycogen.
  4. Liver-Area Pain – Pain or discomfort around the liver (upper, right abdominal area under the ribcage) is often a sign of liver inflammation. Although there are several triggers of liver pain such as a virus or excessive fat, toxins will always aggravate liver inflammation.
  5. Insomnia – Because toxicity can interfere with the sleep cycle, insomnia might be a symptom of toxins in the liver. Difficulty sleeping between 1 and 4 in the morning tends to be more common when liver detoxification is needed. Learn how “Chinese Medicine Links Liver Disease with Insomnia.”
  6. Brain Fog – Cloudy thinking, confusion, forgetfulness and an inability to focus could be due to a liver that is overloaded with toxins. When there are more impurities then the liver can effectively neutralize, the toxins accumulate in the bloodstream and cross the blood/brain barrier. Read more about “The Connection Between Brain Fog and Liver Health.”
  7. Hormonal Imbalance – This category can range from mood swings, to PMS, to low libido. Because the liver regulates sex hormones, a congested and toxic liver will not function optimally and cause a hormone imbalance.
  8. Digestive Problems – The liver plays a key role in digestion. By producing bile, the liver helps break down dietary fats. A liver burdened with excessive toxins may be unable to produce, release or distribute bile, leading to abdominal discomfort, bloating, smelly and loose stool, nausea and heartburn.
  9. Itchy Skin – When there are too many toxins in the blood for the liver to efficiently get rid of, they accumulate in the bloodstream. Toxins in the blood frequently cause rashes, redness, irritation and itchy skin. Discover “9 Natural Itch-Relief Approaches.”

Any one of these nine liver toxicity signs can have many different causes – some of which are not liver-related. However, when four or more of these signs co-exist on a regular basis, a liver detox might be helpful.

There are many approaches to liver detoxification. Some of the more respected include:

  • Increasing water intake to keep hydration levels up.
  • Supporting liver detoxification with a comprehensive supplement like LiverSupport & Detox.
  • Drinking lemon water at room temperature upon awakening in the morning.
  • Consuming organic, freshly juiced fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoiding alcohol, sugar, trans-fats, processed foods, conventionally farmed meat and simple carbohydrates.
  • Consuming plenty of fiber and water to help flush toxins out of the colon for constipation – or adding a supplement like Colon Cleanser for more help.
  • Exercising regularly to stimulate lymphatic and liver circulation.

Many people deal with signs of a congested, toxic liver without realizing what is going on. When these signs persist without a clear health reason, aiding your liver with detoxification could be the solution.

We live in the real world, where our exposure to toxins is always prevalent and ongoing. Recognizing when your liver is struggling can guide you towards detoxification – which will help you feel better and improve your liver’s function, resilience and longevity., 10 Signs Your Body is Screaming at You For a Detox, Retrieved January 10, 2016,, 2016., Ten Signals Your Liver Needs to Detox, Anne Baker, Retrieved January 10, 2016, Nourish Holistic Nutrition, 2016., 15 Signs Your Liver Needs a Detox + How to Do it, Jayne Leonard, Retrieved January 10, 2016,, 2016., 12 Signs You Need to Detox, Sara Gottfried, MD, Retrieved January 10, 2016, Gottfried Institute, 2016.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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