In our toxic world liver support is becoming increasingly important. I say "support" rather than "detox" because detoxification is the liver's full time job. Hence, if you want to "cleanse" your body, one of the most efficient ways to do this is to provide substances that enable the liver to complete its job, and aid transport and elimination of toxins from the body... versus simply flushing them out into the blood, only to have them recirculate and settle back into your tissues. This is the rationale behind Opti-Liv Extra.
In general, the liver takes fat-soluble compounds, which can be pretty nasty and hard to get out of the body, and biotransforms them into harmless water soluble molecules that are then eliminated through the kidneys and bowel.
Yet, the intermediate substances created in this process can be even more damaging than the original ones our liver set out to process. These "reactive intermediates" can cause high levels of free-radical and oxidative stress. And if the process of transforming them to their water-soluble end-products remains incomplete, they can spill-over into the blood stream, and wreak havoc on our system, making us feel terrible.
Anyone hung-over from excess alcohol consumption experiences an extreme example of such a process. Yet, it can also apply in a more moderate way to individuals who simply feel "toxic", and generally unwell.
So a good liver support supplement will not only facilitate smooth transformation / packaging / transport of detoxified substances, but will also provide liver-specific antioxidant protection against the "sparks" that can be created while the liver is doing its energy-intensive job.
Each capsule of Opti-Liv Extra contains:
- 250mg of Milk Thistle (standardized to 80% silymarin)
- 200 mg of N-Acetyl-Cysteine
- 150mg of Schisandra chinensis
- 100 mg of Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- 50 mcg of selenium (as selenomethionine)
This combination of ingredients helps the liver to "peacefully" biotransform toxins, while providing a strong shield against oxidative stress, principally by raising and sparing the liver's reserves of the all important glutathione.
We have covered glutathione before in this related article:
Glutathione is a "master molecule", critical for a host of bodily functions, not the least of which is a key role in liver detoxification and protection. Glutathione is also vital for mitochondrial energy production, hence energizing the liver to help it carry out all its functions more effectively.
As the principal herb in Opti Liv Extra, Milk Thistle is well known as a broad spectrum liver protectant and regenerator. Being antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and helping to spare glutathione, this herb has the capability to protect liver cells from insult and injury, keeping them functional and resilient in the face of compounds such as alcohol or acetaminophen that would otherwise be damaging. (1,2,3) The active constituents of Milk Thistle are considered to be a group of flavonoids collectively known as "Silymarin". Silymarin has demonstrated the ability to regenerate damaged, and even resected (i.e. surgically removed) liver cells. (2) So even after the damage has already been done, milk thistle demonstrates broad-spectrum liver benefits. (3)
N-Acetyl Cysteine, or NAC is directly converted to glutathione in the body. This is why it is used in hospital emergency rooms as an antidote for the largest cause of liver failure in North America, i.e. acetaminophen overdose. NAC has been shown to raise intracellular glutathione, and directly support mitochondrial energy production, thereby preserving organ function, and preventing cellular damage, particularly in the liver. (4)
Likewise, the herb Schisandra also demonstrates the ability to raise glutathione, protect the liver, and be helpful against many forms of stress. (5) It was included in the formula, not only for its liver-specific benefits, but for its span of adaptogenic and normalizing effects.
The "Extra" in Opti-Liv Extra is Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and the mineral Selenium.
Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA) is an extremely versatile anti-oxidant that is both fat and water-soluble. It is active in virtually all tissues. It not only plays direct roles in energy production, but also supports insulin sensitivity and recycles other "spent" antioxidants, such as Vitamins C, E and glutathione back into their active or "reduced" states. (6) In addition, ALA protects your genetic material such as DNA from free-radical damage, while chelating heavy metals like mercury and excessive iron. (7,8)
Selenium is critical to the function of the potent antioxidant family of enzymes called glutathione peroxidases, central to cell protection, and also has important anti-viral properties. (9,10)
Milk thistle, ALA and selenium form the "triple antioxidant therapy" established by Burt Berkson MD, PHD for supporting the livers of those dealing with hepatitis. (11,12) Since the 1970's Dr. Berkson has extensively used alpha-lipoic acid and the triple antioxidant therapy to save many from death sentences due to liver failure, or liver cirrhosis. (13,14) (You would think this would have made him a hero, but instead he has been chastised by his profession...see ref: 15.)
So, if you are looking for supplements for liver detox, instead consider supporting your complete liver function with the above combination of natural ingredients. They will help protect you from a toxic world by improving your ability to process and eliminate toxins, instead of just recirculating them around your body.
Opti-Liv Extra has definitely been one of our most popular and successful formulas ever since its inception in 2006. Yet, it is relevant to bring up that "The liver works the night shift", i.e. it tends to be most active at about 2 am. Since alpha-lipoic acid can give you energy and wake you up, if you are looking for night time liver support, or simple digestive improvement you can consider our original Opti-Liv formula, which does not include ALA or selenium.
Lastly, remember that if you are doing a Spring cleanse, it is also a good idea to bolster your elimination with a good colon-flush formula, such as Opti-Colon Cleanse.
Continue to be well,
3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434 .... good silymarin summary
4) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X04010605 ... NAC raises glutathione