By Amy Medling, Founder of PCOS Diva
Women with PCOS are more prone to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in the environment than our peers. As a result, these toxins interfere with our hormones and worsen our symptoms despite all of our best efforts. While we can take steps to avoid EDCs, it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate them. This is the main reason that I detox twice a year. I am always left feeling lighter, energized, and more refreshed.
I’m not talking about doing one of those detox fads that can actually do more harm than good to those of us who work hard to keep hormones and insulin balanced. I am talking about a gentle, whole food cleanse designed to take stress off of your liver and detoxification pathways and let your body do what it is meant to do – naturally detoxify. The best detox programs even include meditation to relieve toxic stress.
Detox and the liver
The liver is the body’s largest abdominal organ and is primarily responsible for cleaning alcohol and toxins from the blood. It works by taking up toxic substances and converting them into harmless forms or makes sure they are released from the body. There are many ways to support the liver as it detoxes, and among supplementation.
Below are some of the best supplements for detoxification and to optimize liver health and your body’s overall detox capabilities.
Glutathione is a strong antioxidant and one of the most abundantly produced antioxidants in the body, as it is found in all cells. Critically linked to the ability for your liver to detoxify is having adequate glutathione levels. Every time your liver is exposed to excess toxins, glutathione levels in the liver drop significantly, and if the liver has low concentrations of glutathione, it will much more prone to liver damage.
- N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)
If you follow PCOS Diva, you know that I have written extensively about the benefits of NAC and take this supplement myself on a daily basis. As a detox supplement, NAC is able to replenish glutathione levels in the body.
- Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a plant whose fruit and seeds have been used for more than 2,000 years as treatment for liver disorders. Silymarin is the active substance in milk thistle and is the primary compound found in most liver supplements. Several studies show silymarin helps stimulate the body’s detox pathways, improves liver regeneration, and even helps inhibit growth and spread of cancer cells.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your skeletal muscles, amounting to 61%, with the remaining 39% distributed among the lungs, stomach, brain, and liver. When it comes to detox and liver health, glutamine also serves as a precursor to glutathione and has liver regeneration and preserving benefits.
- Green Tea
Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. Many consume it for health benefits brought about by its abundant polyphenol content. And because of its polyphenols, a 2017 study actually concluded green tea is capable of exhibiting protective effects against environmental toxins and pollutants, as well as provide antioxidant and liver-protective benefits.
What do popular superfoods like red wine, kale, and blueberries have in common? A compound called quercetin. Quercetin is a natural substance and multiple studies all link it to longevity, cardiovascular health, physical performance, and improved immunity against diseases. It’s also been shown to help the liver recover from oxidative damage and restore it back to its normal state.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
MSM helps improve cell permeability which then allows efficient release of built-up heavy metals, waste, and toxins. What makes MSM even more special for detoxification is its sulfur compound as it plays a major role in making sure the body has enough glutathione for every organ, especially the liver.
All of these powerful detoxifiers are found in the shakes and supplements of my Sparkle 14-Day Detox program. Visit pcosdiva.com/sparkle to learn more and get started!
Want to learn about detoxifying whole foods? Read 10 Super Foods for Cleansing with PCOS.
Amy Medling is a certified health coach, who specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health and happiness.
- Kaplowitz N. The importance and regulation of hepatic glutathione. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 1981;54(6):497-502.
- Yim CY, Hibbs JB, Mcgregor JR, Galinsky RE, Samlowski WE. Use of N-acetyl cysteine to increase intracellular glutathione during the induction of antitumor responses by IL-2. J Immunol. 1994;152(12):5796-805.
- Freitag AF, Cardia GFE, da Rocha BA, et al. Hepatoprotective Effect of Silymarin (Silybum marianum) on Hepatotoxicity Induced by Acetaminophen in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats . Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2015;2015:538317. doi:10.1155/2015/538317.
- Magalhães CR, Malafaia O, Torres OJ, et al. Liver regeneration with l-glutamine supplemented diet: experimental study in rats. Rev Col Bras Cir. 2014;41(2):117-21.
- Chen L, Mo H, Zhao L, et al. Therapeutic properties of green tea against environmental insults. J Nutr Biochem. 2017;40:1-13.
- Sadowska-Bartosz I, Bartosz G. Effect of Antioxidants Supplementation on Aging and Longevity. BioMed Research International. 2014;2014:404680. doi:10.1155/2014/404680.
- Saleem TSM, Basha SD. Red wine: A drink to your heart. Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research. 2010;1(4):171-176. doi:10.4103/0975-3583.74259.
- Kressler J, Millard-stafford M, Warren GL. Quercetin and endurance exercise capacity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(12):2396-404.
- Li Y, Yao J, Han C, et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):167. doi:10.3390/nu8030167.
- Chen X. Protective effects of quercetin on liver injury induced by ethanol. Pharmacognosy Magazine. 2010;6(22):135-141. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.62900.
- Zhang M, Wong IG, Gin JB, Ansari NH. Assessment of methylsulfonylmethane as a permeability enhancer for regional EDTA chelation therapy. Drug Deliv. 2009;16(5):243-8.
- Kim S, Smith AJ, Tan J, Shytle RD, Giunta B. MSM ameliorates HIV-1 Tat induced neuronal oxidative stress via rebalance of the glutathione cycle. American Journal of Translational Research. 2015;7(2):328-338.