The liver performs up to 500 tasks daily, putting it in contention of being the busiest organ in the body. From protecting incoming blood flow from bacteria out of the intestines, to breaking down consumed foods into energy and amino acids, to removing poisonous ammonia from the blood and storing vitamins A, B12, and vitamin D, the liver is seemingly never at rest.
Although the physiology of the liver has been well described in modern medicine, many formulations choose to focus solely on the single aspect of detoxification. In particular, they use herbs or nutrients like glutathione to usher out toxins from the liver forgetting that detox is only one job out of the many that the liver performs. Milk thistle, in particular, has gained the most attention in this regard by both consumers as well as marketers. As such, they promote milk thistle as an herb that upregulates biotransfomation processes of detoxification within the liver. However, upregulating detoxification in an unsupported organ can often have negative side-effects.
A simple analogy for detoxification could be the removal of a wine stain from a piece of fabric. Our first effort would be to apply a detergent. However, by applying a detergent we can only temporarily ‘mobilize’ the stain. In this manner, the detergent acts by creating an ‘intermediary metabolite’ that is now carrying the stain in a fluid medium which can either be ‘removed’ or worse, simply ‘moved’ to another part of the fabric. In order to rid the wine stain from the fabric completely, we must also provide sufficient amounts of water to transport the remnants of wine to a different location. Furthermore, we must also provide for adequate pathways of elimination or the removal of the wine/water/detergent mixture before it spreads to the remaining fabric – a drain, for example.
Although this example is overly simplified, detoxification is similar in certain aspects. Milk thistle may act as a ‘detergent’ for some types of toxins, however, without providing the necessary components and support to the other organs and tissues that provide both mobilization and removal of the toxin (wine stain) we are simply moving a potential problem from one space to another. This redistribution of a toxic burden may account for some of the common side-effects seen with such attempts, such as GI distress, diarrhea, and bloating. The reasoning behind this reaction is in the simple fact that regardless of the amount of detergent you apply to a stain, without the other components necessary for removal, things may largely remain unchanged.
Himalaya formulates on the basis of supporting a person’s overall quality of life and represents a ‘systems’ approach versus a ‘reductionistic’ viewpoint. In other words, in order to best support detox, we must certainly support the liver…but from a holistic perspective it becomes equally important to support the kidneys, the gall bladder and bile duct, as well as the skin and even the gastro-intestinal tract. Simply providing ingredients that shuttle out toxins may only provide a temporary benefit for some and perhaps surprising disappointment for an unfortunate few. Whereas, promoting the liver as well as the systems involved with liver performance and detox as a whole, provides full body support beyond the simple scope of detoxification.
To prove this theory, LiverCare and its international version, Liv. 52, have been subject to significant human clinical trials, many of which have been published in prominent international medical journals. In these trials, LiverCare has been shown to support the efforts of detoxification by increasing intracellular glutathione levels. Glutathione is one of many amino acids that provide both protection as well as elimination routes for digested toxins. However, unlike formulas that only focus on detoxifying ingredients such as glutathione or milk thistle, LiverCare has also been clinically shown to support normal liver enzyme counts and serum antioxidant values in blood tests. These blood tests are vital in determining the vitality and wellness of the liver as well as the surrounding tissues of the body.
LiverCare represents a holistic approach to supporting detoxification through its uncompromising support of the liver. In this way, LiverCare supports not just, but the entire 500 functions of liver the providing support for the entire body.
Omar Cruz is a botanical researcher, author and clinical herbalist serving the industry for almost 20 years. Omar combines a cultural background of southwestern herbalism with his knowledge and passion for pharmacognosy in an effort to bridge traditional herbalism with western medicine. He has also dedicated several years to the study of Tibetan Ayurveda, which is a combination of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is the co-author of several textbooks, including “A Botanical Protocol Manual for Health Care Practitioners,” and “Traditional Medicines from the Earth (2nd Edition).” An invited lecturer at medical universities and teaching hospitals throughout the country, Omar now serves as Clinical Herbalist and National Educator for Himalaya Herbal Healthcare’s western hemisphere corporate office in Sugar Land, Texas.