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  • Dr. Kaitlyn Zorn ND

Supporting Liver Detoxification

At the start of 2019, I created the RENEW Detox Series, along with its accompanying Ebook. Subscribe to my mailing list on the homepage to download yours for free. Click here!

For those of you that were not able to join along, or wanted to learn more, this post highlights some healthy ways to promote liver function based on clinical research. Since Spring is almost among us, let's get started with some "Spring Cleaning".

So how does the liver detox anyways?

The liver contains 2 types of enzymes called cytochrome P450, categorized into Phase 1 and Phase 2 and are responsible for different chemical reactions that allow for toxins to be excreted through the body.


Phase 1 involves chemical reactions that firstly deactivate harmful toxins, chemicals and drugs (which need to be safely broken down in the body).

Certain foods, supplements and herbs help to support this first liver phase.

Phase 1 Supporting Therapies

Vitamins B6, B12 and C have been shown to help induce (increase) the phase 1 cytochrome P450 enzymes. B Vitamin-deficient diets in rat studies have led to increased fatty liver disease, as these vitamins are important co-factors for the P450 enzymes.

Milk thistle (Silybum Marianum) and Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis) are herbs commonly used in herbal medicine to promote liver detoxification. These herbs also have an affinity for these enzymes, and encourage bile production. Bile, a compound released from the gall bladder, is important in transporting fat-soluble compounds to the liver. Many toxins are fat-soluble, meaning that they are absorbed into fat cells. This makes them harder for the body to excrete, and can accumulate with time.


  • Vitamins B6, B12 and C are Phase 1 P450 liver enzyme cofactors

  • Botanical herbs Milk Thistle and Dandelion root promote liver detoxification function


Phase 2 cytochrome P450 enzymes are important in turning Phase 1 enzyme byproducts into compounds that are safe for the body to excrete through the kidneys (urination and sweat).

Phase 2 Supporting Therapies

There are quite a few nutritional therapies/foods that have been researched in this regard, especially those containing Sulphur groups and glutathione compounds in their chemical makeup.

Examples of these foods are: Vegetables from the cruciferous family (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts) and the Allium family (Onions, garlic).

Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, this helps to break down reactive oxygen species created by toxic compounds.

Examples of fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals: Apples, berries, turmeric, green tea, dark purple/blue and green vegetables


  • Cruciferous vegetables, and onions & garlic help Phase 2 liver enzymes convert Phase 1 byproducts into excretable ones

  • Apples, berries, turmeric, green tea and dark-coloured vegetables aid in reducing oxidant stress/cell damage during the detox process

General Detox Recommendations:

1. Drink 8 cups of water/day. Adding lemon to water stimulates digestive enzymes through increase stomach acid. This aids in promoting bile flow from the gall bladder.

2. Incorporate movement into your daily life, as this helps with lymphatic flow and drainage.

3. Avoid produce heavy with pesticides. Here is a list of the Dirty Dozen in pesticides (buy organic) and Clean fifteen (non-organic fine).

Other Naturopathic Treatments

Consider Acupuncture, which allows stress reduction and helps to improve the body's ability to regulate bodily processes such as detoxification.

Also to consider, is Clear Change 10-Day UltraClear RENEW Powder (available through naturopathic doctors), which is a formulated nutritional shake using a balance of B vitamins, Vitamin C and other herbal compounds to help facilitate healthy detox, energy, digestion and vitality.

Book an Appointment or Complementary 15 minute Discovery Call by clicking here for more information. Covered by most benefit plans. Evening and remote (phone, email) consults available.


1. Hodges & Minich (2015). Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

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