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Is detoxing in January futile?

We're often tempted to overindulge during the holidays, then wish we could wave a magic wand to undo the damage. With our liver working overtime to inactivate alcohol and process rich, fatty foods, a potion to heal stressed-out liver cells might just do the trick. But before you stress out your holiday budget on expensive dietary supplements, consider the following facts

Most toxins, or poisons, reach our bloodstream when we swallow or inhale them. Others pass through our skin, while still others are released by dying cells or invading bacteria. Many of these toxins pass through the liver -- the body's waste-purification plant -- where they are broken down and removed from the blood before they can do their dirty work.

Poisons are also broken down by the kidney, eliminated in the urine and feces, or exhaled. Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily; eating lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains; and avoiding tobacco smoke and other fumes can all help keep your body in top working order. So can cutting back on fried foods, animal fats, sugar, and caffeine.

Most people wonder how to detox after the holidays, but have you ever considered getting a jump start on the process?

Giving up alcohol or going on a detox for one month is pointless, especially after the excesses of the festive season, says a liver charity. Instead, the experts say drinkers should make a decision to stay off alcohol for a few days every week throughout the whole year. Experts agree that a short period of complete abstinence will not improve liver health. A longer-term attitude to alcohol is more desirable.

People tend to believe the hype about rejuvenating their liver by detoxing in January. "People think they're virtuous with their health by embarking on a liver detox each January with the belief that they are cleansing their liver of excess following the festive break.

"A one-hit, one-month attempt to achieve long-term liver health is not the way to approach it.

You're better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the entire year than remaining abstinent for January only." The thinking behind this approach is that total alcohol intake per person is kept down and the liver is given time to recover each week. Providing the liver has no lasting damage, it can repair itself very quickly, taking as little as 24 hours to go back to normal.

Detoxing for just a month in January is medically futile. It can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.

It is advisable to eat well and exercise regularly.

We can protect ourselves to some extent by avoiding obvious hazards such as recreational drugs, unsafe sex, and raw shellfish, all of which can cause the liver-damaging disease hepatitis.

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We’re often tempted to overindulge during the holidays, then wish we could wave a magic wand to undo the damage. With our liver working overtime to inactivate alcohol and process rich, fatty foods, a potion to heal stressed-out liver cells might just do the trick. But before you stress out your holiday budget on expensive dietary supplements, consider the following facts

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