What is Liver Flushing?

Last post, I told you about my experience with doing an herbal parasite cleanse.

At the end of the article, I told you about how they recommend you do a liver flush a week after you finish the herbs, in order to get out all the dead parasites that may be in there!

So What Is a Liver Flush?

Well, to give you the short explanation: the purpose of liver flushing is to detoxify your liver of toxins and accumulated junk. If all goes to plan, this should make your liver work a heck of a lot better, any symptoms you have should decrease, and your health should sky rocket.

Unfortunately, liver flushing is this unpleasant sounding procedure where you drink epsom salts and later a mixture of olive oil and grapefruit juice (there’s other steps involved, but that’s the basics). This allegedly causes your liver to quickly “flush” itself of toxins and to release gallstones that have gotten lodged there. Then you feel sick and have a lot of diarrhea the next day as your body purges all these stones and toxins out of your body.

Then if you’re lucky, you feel GREAT!

And the reason you would feel great is because your liver is a very important organ to have working properly, as it has so many jobs in the body. It’s inefficiency can quickly lead to disease. From hepb.org, the liver: 

  • Stores vitamins, sugar and iron to help give your body energy.
  • Controls the production and removal of cholesterol.
  • Clears your blood of waste products, drugs, and other poisonous substances.
  • Makes clotting factors to stop excessive bleeding after cuts or injuries.
  • Produces immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream to combat infection.
  • Releases a substance called “bile” to help digest food and absorb important nutrients.

Something else that it does is break down or metabolizes the body’s hormones once they have done their work in the body. This is significant because if the liver is not efficient at breaking down these hormones they can accumulate in the body and cause hormonal imbalances, which can lead to acne.

Anyway – in many people, including those with acne, the liver is not running at top speed and it can create all sorts of problems, which is why something like liver flushing has the potential to help you feel a heck of a lot better.

Is Liver Flushing Legit?

Liver flushing seems to be a cornerstone procedure amongst the alternative medicine crowd. So many people absolutely swear by this procedure. They swear up and down that doing liver flushes has allowed them to regain their health and feel amazing, and they keep getting better and better after each one that they do.

And seriously…. I figure there must be something to this, otherwise, why else would people be willing to do such a horrible and unpleasant thing again and again?

But there are also many skeptics. Many, many skeptics.

You see, during the flush, you generally pass from your bowels a lot of these bright green “stones”, called gallstones. Supposedly these are what is clogging your liver and causing it to run sub-par, and the big aim of the flush is to get as many of these stones out as you can. However, the skeptics say that the stones are not really stones from your liver, all they are made of is congealed fat from all the olive oil that you drank the night before.

Others say that this type of procedure is very dangerous, because if you really did have gall stones, they could get stuck on their way out and end up sending you to the emergency room.

Others say that it is not really helping you, it’s simply irritating your liver to the point where it expels some toxins. But in the long run, it does nothing.

What Do I Think About the Liver Flush?

I have no idea if it’s legit or not. To me, I think judging its “legitness” would be based off whether it makes you feel good after and decreases your symptoms. I can’t argue with all those who claim it has improved their lives.

However, I don’t know of its true long term effectiveness, or if the stones are really clogging your liver or if they are just congealed olive oil.

As for the risk of a stone getting clogged – well, I believe that is legitimate, but also that it’s probably a rare occurrence. Most things in life do involve some risk, but that’s up for you to decide (ie. do your own research if you’re considering this)

Personally, I was never really planning to do one of these flushes.

What influenced this decision was that I think that the first time I ever heard about liver flushing was from my pal Seppo over at AcneEinstien.com, and his experience and opinion on them was not positive. So I definitely started off with a bias there.

Plus, the cleanse :

  • Sounded complicated
  • Sounded really unpleasant
  • Sounded like it was quite hard on the body
  • Requires you to do it on a weekend, or when you have a day off the next day so you can be sick with your diarrhea. Who wants to spend their weekend doing that??
  • Not worth it – maybe would be worth it if you only had to do it once, but they recommend you do the cleanse approximately every month until all your symptoms and “stones” are gone for good. Apparently this takes an average of 10 – 12 times.

So, yeah. Not high on my list of priorities. So I never really bothered looking into it too much and ignored the whole thing.

Why I decided to do it in the end was that it just kept popping up on my radar all of a sudden. There was:

  • The prompting by my recent parasite cleanse
  • This article popped up on HighonHealth.org
  • I had a long Skype chat with Melissa from CureEndometriosis.com, and she said that she had done her first liver cleanse a while ago, and for three months, tons and tons of symptoms she had disappeared and she felt great.

So I figured, what the hey. Why not just try it once. For the sake of experimentation and curiosity.

Tuuuuneee in next time to find out what happened!

Watch this Article in Video Form:

What do you think about this liver flushing business? You ever tried it?

**Update** Click here to find out what happened with Tracy’s liver flush

photo by suite101

25 Responses to What is Liver Flushing?
  1. Sampson
    August 3, 2012 | 12:01 pm

    I think the diarrhea is pretty much all due to the epsom salts. Epsom salt = magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate is used as a laxative.

    I assume if there’s something magical about the magnesium + olive oil combo, it would be fine to use ANY form of magnesium. Many other forms do not cause the laxative effect, but should still (provided liver cleansing is legit) expel these gallstones during the next bowel movement.

    • Sampson
      August 3, 2012 | 12:17 pm

      Also worthwhile to mention that grapefruit juice is a potent CYP450 inhibitor (an enzyme in the liver) that’s responsible for metabolizing a LOT of stuff out of your body. It’s actually one of the most potent CYP450 inhibitors out there. Most citrus fruits are CYP450 group inhibitors and that’s actually why if you get a prescription for many drugs, it will say on the bottle or your doc will tell you not to take the medicine with orange/grapefruit juice. It may increase the concentration of the drug in your blood to an undesirable level, due to the liver being unable to filter it out as efficiently.

      Who knows, maybe there is something to the very specific combination of grapefruit + magnesium + EVOO. If nothing else, at least you can be sure you’re doing your body some good from the additional magnesium.

  2. Nathan
    August 3, 2012 | 2:53 pm

    Sampson:

    I value your option having read quite a few of your comment over the past few months.

    In your mind, do you think the method of cleansing the liver is “good”? Have you ever tried it? Heard any bad things?

    Thanks!

    • Sampson
      August 4, 2012 | 5:12 pm

      I would personally just get an L-Cysteine and Milk Thistle supplement.

  3. Mary
    August 3, 2012 | 7:49 pm

    Whoa, this is going to be very, very interesting to watch. I’m glad you’re blogging/vlogging about this. It makes sense to clear out the liver so it can deactivate used hormones. But yeah, it does sound a little dangerous or at least rough on the body. I guess for some it will work well and for others, not so much. Best of luck to you!

  4. Seppo
    August 3, 2012 | 10:31 pm

    Best of luck Tracy. Hope you end up with a better experience than I did ;)

    The main clincher for me is that ultrasound scans don’t show any ‘stones’ in the liver. With ultrasound you can get an accurate picture of the tubes in the liver and the gallbladder. It can show enlagement in the tubes and this would indicate the so-called ‘soft’ stones.

    To me this is a huge red flag. If we can’t see the stones prior to the flush then where did they come from?

    Anyway, I do hope you have a good experience and the few days of clean eating prior to the flush never hurts.

    • Tracy
      August 4, 2012 | 7:34 am

      Yeah I think it’s pretty sketchy… I poked a couple of my “stones” with a spoon just to see what the deal was, and they were so soft, they obviously weren’t real gallstones.

  5. Maria
    August 4, 2012 | 12:53 am

    Hello,
    First of all, sorry for my grammar, Im Spanish.
    I read your articles throught rss and when I saw you speaking about liver flush I thought It will be nice to share my experience.
    I have tried this liver flush as I have a chronic illness. I like triying natural things to stay as healthy as possible.
    Ok, down to the point: I kind of hated this experience. And I usually don’t Hate. I will never ever will try it again.
    Me, as you, read about the people that liked and the people that disliked it.
    I did follow the whole process. The drinking apple juice several days before to make it easy for stones to pass throught your bowels to the night when you have to drink so much of the horrible mixture. I was quite ok with the process until that last night. I did follow it until the end but hey! It was a bit of a he’ll to oblige my body onto drink such a big quantity of disgusting stuff. My body wanted to vomitate all that. I had the worst night of the year. Oh yes, I sow next day that things they call stones. Not very sure if that are stones.
    But the thing is, did I notice a major or minor improvement in my health? No, not really. Will I try it again? Not at all.
    I think there are much better ways to keep healthy. I have a book about Liver cleansing with I think is fantastic and its method is soon much natural. It’s like a 8 weeks diet. But is very easy to follow. The 4 middle weeks you can only eat vegetarian. You can not eat gluten or sugars in this weeks. Apart from that is easy to follow. And you can see the results right away. The books name is the liver cleansing diet by Dr Sandra Cabot.
    My final word on this essay; -) is: be nice to your body, it’s always better the natural gentle stuff that the radical cut out.
    Hope you find helpful my words.
    Pd; my aunty who has CFS aswell did follow several times the liver flush and she is not better at all.

    • Tracy
      August 4, 2012 | 7:31 am

      Hi Maria – thanks for sharing that! sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience with this. Make sure you come back on Tuesday and find out how mine went… you’ll find it interesting..
      And also, thank you so much for recommending that book, I will check it out for sure

  6. amy
    August 4, 2012 | 6:10 am

    surely there are other ways to improve your liver and clean it that are a lot more gentle and safe?

    • Tracy
      August 4, 2012 | 7:29 am

      Yes… I definitely believe there are!

      • Kim
        August 4, 2012 | 4:00 pm

        Hey tracy,
        Have you ever tried oil pulling? Do you think it would help with acne? Supposedly you just swish with seame oil for 20 mins and then spit out, its supposed to remove toxins.. I would lk to know your thoughts on it..
        I have tried it today with cocnut oil.. I tried the coconut oil topically, because i read so many raving reviews how it cured acne and etc.. Boy was that a mistake, i jave a big inflamed pustule now! My face was just getting better and now its back to square one..

        • Tracy
          August 5, 2012 | 7:48 am

          Hi Kim,
          I don’t know – oil pulling is just another one of those things that some people swear by but who really knows. I have had a couple people email me and say that oil helping REALLY made them detox and after the detox passed, their acne cleared up or improved a lot.

          I’m not really sure of the mechanism behind it or how it possibly works? Unless you really have that much bacteria in your mouth that just getting rid of it makes such a significant difference. I don’t understand how it could “pull” toxins ??

          Either way – I’ve tried it a couple times but never stuck with it because it’s kind of a pain.

          • Helen
            May 19, 2013 | 3:46 am

            I liked the results of oil pulling in regards to boosting the immune system. BUT, soon after I began administering this, I lost a large molar. It had a large restoration, the tooth broke, and the new restoration was so close to the nerve and caused it to die. I had the tooth removed and now there is a large space! I am afraid to try any more oil pulling since I do have many dental fillings and don’t want to lose any more teeth! (age 52).

  7. Amy
    August 4, 2012 | 11:10 pm

    Hello, I have done the Liver Cleanse quite a few times. The first time I passed literally thousands of stones. I do not have a gallbladder so my poor liver was seriously taxed. The stones are soft because of the malic acid in the apple juice. If you get sick it could be because during the pre-cleanse there were animal proteins consumed. It is really best to do a vegan diet the week of pre cleanse. Also, imperative that you are going to the bathroom 2 or 3 times a day – yes pooping – before you attempt to do this cleanse. All those stones getting stuck and getting reabsorbed is a toxic nightmare. That all being said a way less harsh way to clean your liver is via Dr. Schulze – http://www.HerbDoc.com – I seriously get no compensation for this – but his products are AWESOME!!!! Especially his colon cleanse (intestinal formula #1 – his website tells more of you are interested) and liver cleanse. His liver cleanse is way less harsh than the epsome salt one. Just remember to have a clean good working colon (beet juice works amazing as well!) before you try this. Best of luck on your healthy Journey… :)

    • Tracy
      August 5, 2012 | 7:49 am

      Hi Amy! Thanks for sharing your experience – have you noticed significant long term health benefits from doing the cleanses??

  8. Terry (My Journey With Candida)
    March 23, 2013 | 4:05 pm

    I do a liver flush quite often. I do pass gallstones and I know it help me. You are right… there are a lot of Nay sayers.. to heck with them.

  9. Annika
    May 7, 2013 | 7:34 am

    I had chronic leaky gut with recurrent infection and numerous other unpleasant symptoms. The doctors kept doing labs and said I was fine although I felt like I was dying. They did 3 AIDS tests because my immunity was so low. I believe lifestyle due to bad diet and alcohol triggered it. So, I decided to heal myself. I did a parasite, colon, heavy metal, and 3 liver cleanses with olive oil. Each cleanse ran for a month to two months, for a total of 7 months straight.I also went 95% organic,and cut back 90% of my meat consumption. With each cleanse, I felt like I was going to die. The die off of toxins caused me hell.I cried many days and nights. But I had recently lost my health insurance, and had no money for a naturopath, so I was desperate.You have to be willing to change and endure because doctors don’t want to treat you until it’s too late, and they can get paid more money for drugs, or a more dangerous treatment than cleansing. Today, I feel like a brand new person. But the only danger is that because I didn’t see a naturopath, I wasn’t replacing vitamins, and have now developed nutritional deficiencies that I am working on. However, if you do these cleanses properly, they can save your life. The only danger comes in not replacing vitamins and minerals during the entire cleanse. Vitamin deficiencies can be deadly.But toxins can be more deadly, as is seen in America as so many of our loved ones who are in pain or dying too early.

  10. Gina
    July 24, 2013 | 5:15 am

    For anyone with a scientific bent of mind: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/flushes.html

  11. [...] estrogens, a good liver supplement will also help this process along. Some might suggest doing the liver flush, but… I tried that, and it was a horrible, horrible experience, so I can’t say I really [...]

  12. Doug
    October 13, 2013 | 1:08 pm

    I am 56 years old and have done several successful flushes. My shoulder was so bad I couldn’t play golf or do a single push-up. After my first flush the morning I woke up I told my wife of 24 years that my shoulder pain was gone ( she of course thought I was nuts because two shoulder doctors said my only option was for them to “surgically clean my shoulder up” I had arthritis tendentious and a couple more itises.) Today two years later I play twice a week and can do 35 push-ups. I lowered my cholesterol from 270 to 170 without a single dose if Lipitor or any other med that my doc tried to prescribe. My triglycerides are 39. Yes you get sick during the night as you flush all that garbage out your system but it’s so worth it. I take NO MEDS!! I don’t give a rip what the “practicing medical” community says, they sell drugs end of story. I fully endorse this and know 100% that these flushes changed my life

    • Tracy
      October 13, 2013 | 10:18 pm

      Hey that’s awesome, I’m really glad liver flushes worked out for you so well!

  13. Jameelah
    October 31, 2013 | 1:52 pm

    Hi I used to have a really damaged liver that would cause me pain due to medication forced on me when I was a teen. I only took it for a month then quit because my dr wouldn’t listen to me when I said my liver was starting to hurt me…which was the main side effect of the medication. Anyways from then til college I had bad acne on my forehead that would not go away. I am very athletic and eat quite healthy but my acne was always on my forehead it would embarrass me.

    I am a rather healthy person and one day was doing cleanses, I had just finished cleansing my colon and came across a liver cleanse of 4oz walnut oil mixed with 4oz apple juice followed by 4oz of lemon juice. it tasted awful and made me want to throw up but I didnt. I did it over the weekend, many trips to the bathroom followed and I had absolutely no energy for about a week. After that week my energy returned and over the following weeks I noticed my acne had gone away on my forehead I was so relieved. to this day I have never done a second liver cleanse and because I eat clean still and dont use any medication it has not returned, 3 years later. However the taste was so awful I cannot imagine trying to do it again and will look into a softer method. But I am a believer in liver cleanses.

  14. Joe B.
    January 9, 2014 | 5:39 am

    Really doesn’t take a whole lot of research to find out that the process is bogus. The alleged “stones” people discover in their poo is actually a product of the drink they took. It’s externally concocted, those it gets a nice swipe of green bile from the liver before it shows up in the stool. No medical establishment endorses it. Many go to the trouble of debunking it. The American Cancer Society, for instance, “poo poos” it. Here’s a site that compiles the evidence that this does not flush your liver, and that the things you see are actually solidified and encapsulated oil globules that you just drank: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/flushes.html

    • Svea
      January 9, 2014 | 11:11 am

      Hi Joe,
      thanks a lot for your insights. Very interesting article!

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