Lemon juice helps repair the liver

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Does drinking lemon juice in water each morning offer health benefits? This topic is a common source of debate. Dietitians will probably tell you there are no health benefits and this is merely a fad. I disagree and there’s research to prove it.

Fresh lemon juice can help protect your liver from alcohol induced damage. A Chinese study was conducted on mice and the results were published in the journal Biomed Research International. The study used 30 male mice and results showed lemon juice “exerted hepatoprotective effects on alcohol-induced liver injury”.

Liver impairment in the mice given ethanol was measured via elevations in the liver enzymes ALT and AST. Lemon juice was actually able to return ALT and AST in the blood of the mice to normal. The researchers commented also that it “remarkably improved the liver histopathological changes”. Other harmful effects of ethanol consumption were also reversed by the lemon juice; these included increased lipid peroxidation and increased liver triglyceride levels. These are quite amazing findings.

What is it in lemons that has these remarkable benefits? The researchers believe several compounds are responsible: vitamin C, essential oils, pectin and flavonoids. Vitamin C can certainly prevent oxidative damage and lipid peroxidation. The pectin and essential oils in lemon help to improve the health of the gut lining, thereby reducing waste products that arrive at the liver via a leaky gut. Alcohol does increase intestinal permeability and allows bacteria from the gut to travel to the liver, potentially damaging liver cells.

Lemons really are a wonder fruit. Although this study was conducted on mice, most research is initially done on mice or rats. Also, alcohol, drugs and other toxins harm the liver of mice and humans via the same mechanisms. Even if you don’t drink much alcohol or any alcohol, the toxins we are regularly exposed to in our environment can cause harm to our liver cells. Many of our patients have elevated liver enzymes on a blood test, which can be caused by a number of factors.

Obviously, it’s best not to drink alcohol in excess in the first place. There’s only so much natural remedies can do. Eventually alcohol will cause liver damage. This article is really aimed at people who are trying to improve their health but have a medical condition that is causing elevated liver enzymes.

We have seen the beneficial effects of lemon juice on the liver health of our patients over many years, which is why Dr Cabot included a lemon drink each morning in the eating plan of The Liver Cleansing Diet. Lemon juice can be added to freshly made raw vegetable juices. If you are concerned about your liver health, I strongly urge you to make fresh lemon juice a regular part of your diet.

Please be aware that the acid can erode tooth enamel. So it’s best to swish fresh water around in your mouth a few times afterwards, to wash the acidic lemon juice off your teeth.

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