Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.Q. Dear Terry, “With so many environmental toxins stressing the liver to the max, I was wondering if you have any recommendations for what you could take for liver support in general.” —Rob S., Colorado Springs, CO A. Dear Rob, I agree with you—there is certainly a lot of environmental stress on our liver. Add to that alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and obesity, and it’s no wonder why so many people struggle with liver health. Two herbs that are extremely useful in liver health, and are also safe to use every day are milk thistle and curcumin. Those two together would be extremely effective. However, you need to be aware that both improve liver function, which means increasing bile flow. This is a good thing, because bile is the vehicle that carries toxins out of the liver into the intestines and out of the body. If a person has a gall bladder full of large stones, the increased flow of bile can cause discomfort. In very rare cases, it can push a stone into the bile duct. Therefore, if a person suffers from gallstones, he or she should check with a healthcare practitioner prior to use to make sure it is OK. Many naturopathic physicians use these botanicals because they can actually help flush gravel out of the gallbladder because of the increased bile flow, which may prevent the development of larger stones. More research needs to be done in this area. Curcumin and milk thistle also both support the liver’s ability to regenerate itself and to resist oxidative and toxic stress, and they do so in a complementary manner. One thing to consider, however, is that curcumin is very poorly absorbed. Look for a formula that has enhanced absorption, at least 7 to 10 fold over plain curcumin, and that this is demonstrated in published, human studies. I’d also avoid any curcumin product that uses piperine (a black pepper extract) as this substance further stresses the liver and interacts with a large number of prescription medications. For detox purposes, which are so important to healthy liver function, I rely on chemotyped plant oils. A formula with peppermint, rosemary, Labrador Tea, juniper, lemon and cypress is very effective for detoxifying the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. I recommend you use a formula such as this for at least 30 days to see maximum effect.