Liver function is central to human health. It plays a vital role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and is central to filtering toxins and waste products from our blood. The detoxification process occurs in two phases: phase I and phase II.
Natural Detoxification by the Liver
Phase I detoxification involves a group of enzymes known as cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. These enzymes break down toxins into smaller molecules that the body can process more easily. However, this phase generates reactive oxygen species (ROS or free radicals), which can be harmful if not neutralized by antioxidants.
Phase II detoxification involves a series of enzymatic reactions that attach small molecules to the toxins produced in phase I, making them water-soluble and easier to eliminate from the body. These reactions are catalyzed by various enzymes, including glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), and sulfotransferases (SULTs).
Overall, phase I and phase II detoxification work together to neutralize and eliminate toxins from the body. However, its not hard to overwhelm the body with toxic input, causing toxins to accumulate, and leading to a range of health issues.
To support liver health, many people turn to liver support supplements. Here, we will deep dive into the best liver support supplements and the evidence of their effectiveness.
What are Liver Support Supplements?
The best liver support supplements are dietary supplements that boost the liver’s function of removing toxins and waste products from the blood. These supplements typically contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, and herbs involved in various processes supporting liver health.
Some of the most common ingredients found in liver detox supplements include Silymarin (from Milk Thistle), Alpha Lipoic Acid, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Metabolic Maintenance® offers each of these nutrients as standalone supplements, and formulated together in one of the best liver support supplements on the market: Metabolic Detox®.
Below, we will delve into the clinical research surrounding these ingredients and evidence for the use of these supplements for liver support.
The process of liver detoxification involves converting toxins into less harmful substances, and then eliminating them from the body through urine or feces. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seeds contain a flavonoid compound called silymarin. Silymarin has been shown to support liver function by protecting liver cells from damage caused by toxins and free radicals .
Silymarin is a potent antioxidant, which means that it helps to protect the liver from damage caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by the accumulation of free radicals in the body, which can damage cells and tissues. Silymarin helps to neutralize free radicals and protect the liver from oxidative damage .
Silymarin also supports healthy inflammation in the liver. Chronic inflammation in the liver can lead to liver damage and the development of more serious issues. By supporting healthy levels of inflammation, silymarin can help to protect the liver and boost liver function .
Silymarin can help protect the liver from toxins such as alcohol, acetaminophen, and other chemicals. In a study conducted on rats, silymarin was found to reduce liver damage caused by alcohol . Another study found that silymarin protected the liver from acetaminophen toxicity by reducing oxidative stress .
In a study conducted on patients with liver disease, silymarin was found to improve liver function and reduce liver damage . It also supports liver regeneration by stimulating the production of new liver cells .
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring compound found in the body and in some foods. Much like silymarin, it has powerful antioxidant activities in the liver and supports healthy levels of inflammation. Alpha Lipoic Acid helps to neutralize free radicals and protect the liver from oxidative damage . ALA can help to protect the liver and boost liver function .
Again, similar to silymarin, ALA has been shown to protect the liver from toxins such as alcohol and acetaminophen [9,10].
ALA may be especially beneficial to those with (or at risk for developing) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In a study conducted on patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), ALA was found to improve liver function and reduce liver damage . ALA may also contribute to reduced fat accumulation in the liver, a common symptom of liver disease [11,12].
N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is a modified form of the amino acid cysteine and has been shown to have various benefits for the liver. Much like silymarin and ALA, its benefits can mostly be attributed to its powerful antioxidant activities that target the liver and its benefits to healthy inflammation.
NAC is probably the most famous nutrient for liver protection, supported by the fact that it actually has a drug classification from the FDA. NAC is so effective at protecting the liver against acetaminophen overdose, that it was classified as a drug in 1963, and is still used in hospitals for that application . Of course, the dosing and method of application are completely different and separate from this nutrient’s use as a dietary supplement.
If you are concerned about the health and function of your liver, you deserve the best liver support supplements on the market. Look no further than Metabolic Detox®. This formula contains liver supportive silymarin, ALA, and NAC, in potent doses that support the health of your body’s most important detox organ.
Another factor that sets Metabolic Detox® apart from other dietary supplements is everything it does not contain. Metabolic Maintenance® products deliver pure nutrition. They are free from added toxins, such as dyes, stabilizers, preservatives, and excipients. Additives like these can make a product last longer on the shelf, but they also add to the toxic load your liver has to process.
Not with Metabolic Detox®. You will find only the nutrients listed inside a vegan, cellulose capsule. Metabolic Maintenance® employs third-party testing of both raw ingredients and our finished products, so we can stand behind our quality and purity guarantee.