To liver cleanse or not to liver cleanse…. a bilious question

I just got a call from a frantic woman.  “I need to get a colon irrigation right away!”  Not your standard comment. Most people do not choose to have a tube stuck up their nether parts and various fluids pumped in.  Not something I offer in my clinic, nor would I ever request one. Anyway, that is a topic for another day. When I asked her why she wanted the colonic, she told me she was doing a “liver cleanse” , and that she had only released a dozen green deposits compared to the eight other people she knew who had done it, the champion being her brother with a record 600 deposits. She was quite frantic, because the book advised that this could mean she now had a blockage in her intestine which needed an immediate flushing out.

If you have been interested in alterative health for any length of time you will have heard of this cleanse. It involves, along with diet changes, drinking a vast amount of olive oil and taking epsom salts orally. Now, when your body has a large intake of fat, the gallbladder contracts and sends out a squirt of bile. The bile mixes with the fat and “emulsifies” it, kind of like adding dish detergent to a greasy pan. It makes the fat easier for the body to process and eventually eliminate. The theory behind this cleanse  is that it will clean out  the gallbladder and liver.  What it actually does is irritates the gallbladder, and if the gallbladder is diseased, may cause it to rupture, which actually happened to one of my  classmate’s sister.  A spasm of the gallbladder will not dislodge large stones, may possibly dislodge very small stones and may cause medium stones to lodge in the bile ducts, which could cause intense pain and likely mean immediate surgery! The  liver –   well it is actually working harder than usual as it struggles to produce the bile to handle the extra fat. The green deposits by the way that this lady and her numerous friends were passing were bile deposits, not gall stones.

There are ways, however to support the liver which will be far more beneficial than a “liver cleanse”. First stop drinking alcohol. Second stop eating sugar. Third cut out fried foods. These will all take the stress of detoxing off the liver.  Next, put plenty of green leafy vegetables into the diet. Get lots of rest, drink lots of water and sleep well. Get fresh air and exercise.  These measures will all do far more for your liver, your gall bladder, your heart and the rest of your body than drinking olive oil and epsom salts. If you want more specific treatment for your liver,  make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. Please don’t believe everything you read.

About Wendy Presant, Registered Health and Nutrition Counselor, Certified AIP Coach

I am a registered health and nutrition counselor with a special interest in helping caregivers dealing with autoimmune disease. I am also a Certified AIP coach. Caregivers often put other's needs ahead of their own, and consequently, their own health suffers. I can help you get back on track. To find out more about how I coach, you can book a free fifteen minute phone call at

Posted on July 12, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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