How Long Does It Take to Cleanse Your Liver From Alcohol
According to the American Addiction Center, it may take your liver over 1 week to completely detox from alcohol, and detox symptoms may last beyond that

According to the American Addiction Center, it may take your liver over 1 week to completely detox from alcohol, and detox symptoms may last beyond that. Studies have found that alcohol can stay in your: 

  • Blood for up to 6 hours
  • Breath for 12-24 hours
  • Urine for 12-24 hours (72 hours or longer with more advanced detection methods)
  • Saliva for 12-24 hours

In general, however, the time it takes for your liver to detox from alcohol depends on factors such as:

  • How much alcohol was consumed?
  • How long have you been drinking?
  • How long has it been since you last had a drink?
  • How much time is given to the liver to heal itself?
  • Have you ever detoxed before?
  • What degree of liver damage has occurred?

Liver cells die every time your liver filters alcohol, but a healthy liver is robust and able to renew itself. Long-term alcohol abuse, however, can impair the liver’s ability to repair and renew its cells, leading to permanent liver damage.

What are alcohol liver detox symptoms?

The following signs may be seen for over a few days during the process of liver detox:

In cases of alcohol abuse, the following signs are seen:

What are the phases of alcohol withdrawal?

8-10 hours after your last drink

  • Earliest signs of illness or hangover will appear.
  • Initial physical symptoms may be nausea and abdominal pain, accompanied by feelings of anxiety.
  • You may feel tired, sleepless, and restless.
  • This is because your liver is always trying to catch up and filter out toxins, exhausting itself in the process.

24-78 hours following the first symptoms of liver detox

  • Fatigue may last for about 24-78 hours following your last drink, and symptoms will be at their peak.
  • Confusion, difficulty focusing, or general haziness begin to set in.
  • Your body's working overtime, impacting your brain’s ability to process information.
  • Body temperature will rise as it adapts to the extra strain imposed on it, resulting in higher blood pressure.
  • This causes an increase in heart rate and anxiety, which in turn can cause more  anxiety and fatigue.
  • Many mistakenly believe that this marks the end of the liver detox cycle, and it may be tempting to reach for another drink to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce anxiety.

2-4 days following your last drink

  • You may begin to feel irritable and agitated, and your craving for alcohol may worsen.
  • Hallucinations and auditory anomalies, such as ringing in the ears and black spots in vision, may be observed.
  • During acute liver detox and withdrawal, seizures and trembling of the extremities are common.
  • These can be terrible to experience alone or without the assistance of treatment or rehab centers.

Symptoms of the third phase of alcohol withdrawal are the most severe and can even be life-threatening in extreme situations. For example, in cases of extreme alcohol abuse, liver detox can confuse the liver and result in delirium tremens.

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What is delirium tremens?

Delirium tremens is a serious withdrawal symptom that typically appears 48-96 hours or up to 7-10 days after your last drink. Symptoms include:

Delirium tremens is a dangerous disorder with a high mortality rate of 10%-15% if left untreated. It should be treated in an intensive care unit of an inpatient medical facility. Sedating drugs, close supervision, and supportive care are required until the health hazards have passed.

How is alcohol addiction treated?

Excessive and chronic alcohol consumption can alter brain chemistry, resulting in alcohol cravings, dependency, and ultimately, addiction.

Alcohol addiction treatment can help your liver health by helping you detoxify from alcohol in a safe setting while keeping you as comfortable as possible. Professional health monitoring is provided during the detox period to ensure your safety throughout alcohol withdrawal.

Many of the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal will have subsided after 5 days, but some may linger for a week or longer. Serious symptoms should be medically addressed at a detox center.

Traditional treatment will provide you with supportive therapy that helps you prepare for your return to daily life and control the urge to drink.

Do detox supplements work?

While there are several vitamins, herbs, or supplements available in the market that claim to help detox the liver, they are not regulated by the FDA and are not scientifically proven to work.

In some cases, herbs and supplements have the potential to cause harm to the liver, especially if they accumulate in the body and cause unwanted side effects.

10 foods that help detox the liver

  1. Lemon juice: Lemon and other citrus fruits have inherent cleaning properties that can revitalize the liver. In the morning, drinking a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice can stimulate the nerves in the digestive tract and liver, promoting good digestion and bowel movements.
  2. Apples: Apples are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, flavonoids, and terpenoids, making them one of the best detoxifying foods. They are full of nutrients, and the fiber content helps remove toxins from the bloodstream.
  3. Turmeric: Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice that can help with chronic inflammation. It is high in curcumin, which has antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, and anticarcinogenic properties which can help your liver filter out waste and repair liver cells.
  4. Garlic: Garlic contains strong sulfur compounds, selenium, and antibacterial agents, which protect liver function and promote the production of enzymes that help boost your body’s natural ability to cleanse itself.
  5. Beetroot: Beets, particularly the dark red kind, are another superfood that aids in liver cleansing. Beets are rich in iron, folates, phosphorus, vitamin C, copper, potassium and manganese, as well as plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene.
  6. Cruciferous vegetables: Glutathione, sulforaphane, and other compounds that boost liver detoxification are abundant in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. These activate cleaning enzymes, which aid in the removal of toxic materials from the body. 
  7. Leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables contain a lot of chlorophyll, which absorbs pollutants in your body. They are also high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them good for your overall health.
  8. Fish: Fatty fish such as fresh tuna, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation in the body. According to some studies, they also inhibit the accumulation of extra fats and maintain enzyme levels in the liver.
  9. Nuts: Nuts are high in lipids and nutrients that are good for your intestines and have been linked to higher levels of liver enzymes. For example, walnuts contain high levels of glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which naturally help cleanse the liver.
  10. Grains: All grains, such as millets, brown rice, oats, and barley, are high in fiber, which help reduce sugar storage in the liver.

QUESTION

Long-term heavy alcohol consumption can cause: See Answer

What are the benefits of a successful liver detox?

  • Increased energy: Removing the buildup of toxins in your body will leave you feeling energetic. During the initial stages of detoxification, gradually cut out processed foods, sugar, salt, and caffeine, and replace them with healthier foods that can support your energy levels.
  • Improved digestion: Your diet should include a variety of fiber-rich foods which can promote the natural detoxification processes of your digestive system. You may have more regular bowel movements, as well as reduced bloating or nausea.
  • Elevated mood: Detoxification often  improves sleep, clears toxins from the brain, and boosts mood. Toxin elimination makes you feel lighter and better, both physically and mentally
  • Reduced inflammation: Inflammation of the joints and muscles is a frequent symptom of toxin buildup in your tissues. After a detox, you may feel less achy.
  • Clear skin: Helping your body flush out toxins such as free radicals and heavy metals may result in clearer skin. Proper hydration also aids in waste removal and promotes healthier skin.

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What does liver detox mean?

The liver is one of the largest organs in the human body. It helps to remove toxins, wastes, and digest various nutrients and medicines. It has a huge potential for self-recovery. The so-called liver tox is not only unnecessary but also dangerous and can initiate liver damage in an otherwise normal liver.

Liver detox is a therapy/program that claims to remove or cleanse or flush toxins from your body. There is no evidence to prove its benefit.

The so-called liver detox program includes several steps that involve fasting, a restricted diet, or drinking certain juices or liquids for several days. It may suggest consumption of herbal or dietary supplements, diuretics, and laxatives improve your system.

How do you flush out your liver?

Detox or flush is a fancy term that implies making dietary changes that help the liver function better.
Detox or flush is a fancy term that implies making dietary changes that help the liver function better.

Detox or flush is a fancy term that implies making dietary changes that help the liver function better. Many claims are made, wherein certain powders, pills, and enemas can be taken by individuals to clean their system; however, your liver can cleanse itself. It does not require any extra aid; in fact, many times, such detox can cause more harm than any good. Rather than using a pill or juice to flush out from the body, you can try these methods to help your liver clean your system:

  • Flush out with plenty of water intake: Water is the best flushing agent. It flushes your liver and kidney when taken optimally. Make sure you have 8-10 glasses of water daily.
  • Get regular exercise: Exercise helps to burn extra calories that reduce your risk of diabetes, excess weight, high blood pressure, and high blood fat. These conditions also have a relationship with fatty liver disease, which may cause liver cirrhosis (inflammation and scarring).
  • Limit alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol seriously hampers liver function. Stay away from alcohol as much as possible. The maximal allowed dose is one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men (30 mL).
  • Eat nutritious food: A balanced diet that includes organic pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, and whole grains keeps your liver healthy. The following foods could potentially help the body cells to heal and replenish:
    • Garlic
    • Citrus fruits (lemon/lime)
    • Turmeric
    • Walnuts
    • Beets
    • Carrots
    • Green Tea
    • Apples
    • Avocado
  • Choosing the right type of healthy fats: Avoiding too much unhealthy fat and salt may help to keep your liver healthy because a high-fat diet is another contributor to fatty liver disease. Choose healthy fats from plant sources such as almonds, coconut, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds or animal sources such as eggs and fatty fish (salmon).
  • Cut down sugar: Keep the daily sugar intake up to 20-30 g or less because the liver is responsible to digest the sugar level in the blood. Too much sugar in the blood may exhaust liver function.
  • Stress management: Manage your stress with meditation and yoga. It will control your cortisol level that may reduce stress on your liver. You can use certain counselling for better results.

Are there any side effects of liver detox?

Yes, it may cause harmful side effects such as:

Liver injuries

  • Liver inflammation
  • Weakened your immune system
  • Kidney damage
  • Onset of migraine
  • Irritability
  • Weakness or fainting spells

Liver detox program/therapy must be avoided if you have

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Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Piedmont Healthcare. How quickly the liver can repair itself. https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/how-quickly-the-liver-can-repair-itself

Cleveland Clinic. How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-long-does-alcohol-stay-in-your-system/

Swain E. How Many Years of Drinking Before Liver Damage? Alcohol Rehab Help. https://alcoholrehabhelp.org/blog/drinking-liver-damage/

Nall R. How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/how-long-does-it-take-to-detox-from-alcohol#other-factors

Fletcher J. How long does it take to detox from alcohol? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-long-does-it-take-to-detox-from-alcohol