Does Cranberry Juice Help to Detox the Liver?
Every day your liver performs more than 400 functions. Chief among them are storing vitamins, iron, glucose and fats so your body can use them later, and metabolizing food into nutrients that are vital for health and life. The liver also plays the role of eliminating toxins, medications and harmful substances from your bloodstream.
Benefit of a Liver Detox
Over time, toxins, alcohol, medications and illegal drugs build up and can leave your liver sluggish and less effective at doing its job. An illness, such as cancer, also takes a toll on the liver, which is the largest organ in your body. A liver detox or cleanse — ideally with a natural agent such as cranberry juice — protects the liver from chemical toxins, stimulates bile production and supplies the liver with the nutrients it needs, such as antioxidants, for detoxification.
How Cranberry Juice Supports Liver Detox
Cranberry juice is rich in vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, which thins and decongests bile, allowing your liver to metabolize fats more efficiently. Vitamin C also boosts production of glutathione, the key antioxidant your liver needs during both stages of its detoxification process. This nutrient is also an effective chelating agent, which means it binds to toxic drugs and metals to make it easier for your liver and body to remove them. Finally, vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it helps to protect the liver from free radicals that damage cells and tissues.
An adult can drink 3 fl. oz. or more of pure cranberry juice, or about 10 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Whenever possible, buy unsweetened cranberry juice to use during your detox. In the alternative, make the juice at home from fresh or frozen cranberries.
Cranberry juice is generally safe to take, even if you’re pregnant. However, it has a high oxalate content, which puts you at risk for kidney stones. Speak to your doctor about drinking cranberry juice to help detox your liver if you already have kidney stones, you are diabetic, or you are taking blood-thinning medications. It’s also essential to consult your doctor before trying a detox diet if you have any other medical condition or you’re on a medically supervised or special diet.
- “The Detox Strategy”; Brenda Watson, C.N.C., et al.; 2008
- “The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet”; Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., C.N.S.; 2005
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cranberry
- bit245/iStock/Getty Images