The liver flush revisited

Pic shows “stones” produced by a “liver flush”

We posted something about the “liver flush” about three years back, but a recent thread in a local community forum where someone got so excited he posts “I removed my own gallstones!” prompts me to bring up the subject again. It goes to show you that the viral emails just won’t die. I’m sure the same email supposedly by a “Dr Lai Chiu-Nan” with details how you can “remove gallstones naturally” is still going round and round.
People are fooled after drinking the vegetable oil and juice concoction and then get excited when they pass out little green balls which they take for “gallstones” but in actual fact they aren’t.

From Quackwatch on The Truth about Gallbladder and Liver “Flushes”

In the usual “flush”, half a cup or more of a vegetable oil is consumed together with citrus juice and Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), usually after a brief fast. Many green, brown, yellow or black blobs of various sizes may later appear in the bowel movements. Some bear a slight resemblance to gallstones, but they are not stones. They are merely bile-stained “soaps” produced by partial saponification (soap formation) of the oil.

The above Quackwatch article is indeed a good read should you be interested to know more. While at the end of the day the “liver flushes” are ineffective, they are probably also harmless for most with some caveats to bear in mind.

The greatest risk may apply to those who postpone surgery despite being at risk of major complications i.e. those with regular symptoms or who have recovered from potentially lethal complications such as acute pancreatitis or acute cholangitis (bile duct infection).

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