Liver Health Formula is a supplement manufactured by PureHealth Research, which claims to “cleanse, detox” and “repair fatty liver”. It’s mostly sold on Amazon.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Liver Health Formula based on published medical research to determine if the brand is likely to deliver on its claims, or if it’s just a marketing gimmick. We’ll also explain why we find the company’s health claims to be unscientific.
Questionable Health Claims
The entire premise that the liver needs to be detoxified with supplements is questionable and lacks a scientific basis. The function of the liver is to detoxify blood. While there is medical evidence that improved nutrition through diet can improve liver health, we haven’t come across any medical research proving that supplements can “cleanse” or “detox” the liver, and we find these health claims to be vague and unscientific.
Liver Health Formula also claims to “repair fatty liver,” which is a liver condition typically caused by obesity, type-2 diabetes, or alcoholism, that results in a fat buildup in the liver.
While there is some research suggesting that some of the ingredients included in Liver Health Formula may benefit patients with fatty liver disease, the formulation appears significantly underdosed.
The first-listed ingredient turmeric root powder has a dose of 300 milligrams (mg), while a medical review of turmeric for fatty liver disease showed that every study had a minimum dose of 500 mg, and typically at or over 1,000 mg. Also most of the studies used turmeric extract or curcumin (the main bioactive chemical compound in turmeric) rather than turmeric powder, which is less potent.
The ingredient dandelion powder appears to be even more underdosed, with Liver Health Formula only providing 100 mg. Most clinical trials on this ingredient for treating fatty liver disease, like this trial from 2013, used doses at or above 1 gram (g) per kilogram (kg) body weight, or nearly 1000x the dosage in the supplement.
Additionally most of the medical studies we reviewed on dandelion for fatty liver disease used dandelion root extract, which is more potent than the dandelion powder contained in Liver Health Formula.
We generally warn consumers to be wary of companies that make bold health claims without providing any research backing those health claims, and that warning seems relevant in this case.
We already covered turmeric root powder and dandelion root powder, which seem underdosed for treating fatty liver disease but may have a minor benefit to liver health overall.
Liver Health Formula also contains Vitamin D3 at a dosage of 10 micrograms (mcg). This is a strange and non-standard way to list the dosage of Vitamin D, which is almost always listed in International Units (IU). 10 mcg equates to 400 IU.
A medical review published in the Cochrane Library examined 15 individual medical trials on Vitamin D supplementation for liver disease, and concluded that “vitamin D has no beneficial or harmful effects on liver diseases”. Essentially, it’s a waste of money.
Another ingredient in Liver Health Formula is beet root powder at a dose of 200 mg. There are some animal studies suggesting beet root extract may be beneficial for ameliorating liver injury, however again the amount in the supplement appears significantly underdosed.
The dosage used in the linked study is 300 mg/kg, or over 1000x the dose included in Liver Health Formula, and again the medical studies tend to use the more concentrated extract supplement instead of the raw powder.
Liver Health Formula also contains silymarin, a popular ingredient in liver supplements. It’s derived from milk thistle. Unsurprisingly, the amount contained appears woefully underdosed.
Liver Health Formula contains 50 mg silymarin. A meta-study published in the Advances in Therapy journal examined clinical trials on silymarin for liver disease. The minimum dose used in any of the reviewed trials was 280 mg/day, and the vast majority of the trials used over 400 mg/day.
We can’t identify one ingredient in Liver Health Formula that appears accurately dosed to provide liver health optimization or injury amelioration in humans.
Do Liver Health Supplements Make Sense?
We tend to disagree with the idea that liver health supplements are necessary. For healthy adults, there doesn’t appear to be much research that taking supplements for liver health leads to improved health outcomes, and the practice seems illogical because a healthy liver already filters toxins from the bloodstream.
Liver health can be optimized through lifestyle changes such as abstinence from illicit drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as Tylenol which may injure the liver in high doses. Reducing alcohol intake can significantly improve liver health.
There are also dietary modification strategies proven in medical research to benefit liver health. The linked review documents how a removal of processed foods from the diet, an increase in fiber consumption and an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) can improve liver health and reduce incidence of liver diseases such as fatty liver disease.
For patients with liver injury, some supplements may be effective, but the dosage is much higher and the type of product (extract vs. raw powder) is often different from that in Liver Health Formula. Liver injury is an extremely serious category of disease, with often fatal outcomes, so we recommend that patients diagnosed with any liver injury speak with their doctor about supplements backed by science and appropriate dosages, rather than take a supplement from Amazon.