Liver Flush For Acne – The Other Side Of The Story

Liver Flush For Acne – The Other Side Of The Story

I was looking at the data for internal search for this blog (the little search box in the upper right hand corner) and noticed that quite a few people had searched for liver flushing. It’s not something I would normally write about (given how implausible the whole thing is), but since minds are boggling to learn about it, I shall oblige.

The web suffers not from shortage of liver flush nonsense, and it’s seemingly 100% cure for acne too. What I wanted to do in this article is to approach liver flush with a skeptical perspective, and perhaps highlight some points the, shall we say, more enthusiastic websites leave out. So that you can decide whether liver flush is worth your time and effort and make an informed decisions about it.

What the heck is liver flushing anyway?

It’s a procedure that’s supposed to flush toxins and gallstones from your liver. There are many variations to it, but they usually involve fasting for a half a day and then consuming a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice (and no, that’s not like salad dressing) and Epsom salts. Enemas are also frequently called for.

You drink the mixture in the evening and go to bed immediately. The next morning you should see lots of ‘green stones’ in your bowel movement. The theory goes that consuming a lot of fat (hence the olive oil) forces the gallbladder to contract and expel bile, this literally flushes the liver as the bile goes through it. Apparently the acids from lemon juice help to soften the ‘stones’ and make them easier to pass.

Why would you do that?

The alt-med world has an obsession with the liver and the colon. They claim that modern life exposes us to so many ‘toxins’ that the elimination mechanisms in the body can’t keep up, and therefore the liver becomes congested. And because the toxins can’t be eliminated, they stay in the body and cause all manner of problems, including acne. They also claim that congested liver cannot properly regulate hormone levels, and thus we have a convenient ‘explanation’ for hormonal acne.

Some skeptical perspective

So what you just read is more or less the explanation and rationale the proponents give. Now, let’s look at these things with a skeptical eye.

What are the stones?

If you look at various liver flushing and cleansing forums, after a night of ‘successful flushing’ the proponents post pictures of stones they flushed out. These are offered as evidence that the flush worked.

Yet, are these green globs really gallstones?

The Lancet published an interesting case study in 2005. Apparently, a 40-year old woman with diagnosed gallstones (real ones) following advice from an herbalist did the liver flush and expelled ‘green stones’ (picture here). She then took the stones to her doctor.

The doctor examined the stones and concluded:

Microscopic examination of our patient’s stones revealed that they lacked any crystalline structure, melted to an oily green liquid after 10 min at 40°C, and contained no cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium by established wet chemical methods.1 Traditional faecal fat extraction techniques2 indicated that the stones contained fatty acids that required acid hydrolysis to give free fatty acids before extraction into ether. These fatty acids accounted for 75% of the original material.

Experimentation revealed that mixing equal volumes of oleic acid (the major component of olive oil) and lemon juice produced several semi solid white balls after the addition of a small volume of a potassium hydroxide solution. On air drying at room temperature, these balls became quite solid and hard.

We conclude, therefore, that these green “stones” resulted from the action of gastric lipases on the simple and mixed triacylglycerols that make up olive oil, yielding long chain carboxylic acids (mainly oleic acid). This process was followed by saponification into large insoluble micelles of potassium carboxylates (lemon juice contains a high concentration of potassium) or “soap stones”.

The so-called stoned had none of the characteristics of real gallstones, and the doctor was able to create these stones by mixing the ingredients in the liver flush with base (exactly what happens when the liver flush mixture mixes with alkaline bile in the small intestine).

In other words, the stones are almost certain the result of the flush itself and have nothing to do with actual gallstones. Without any evidence to indicate otherwise, my guess is that this process explains the vast majority of all the expelled ‘stones’.

Of course it’s possible that the liver flush also expels real gallstones, but so does eating a fatty meal.

This is a good example of the difference between real scientists and much of the alternative medicine world. The proponents offer these stones as proof that the flush works, without actually bothering to examine them and look for alternative explanation. Scientists examine the stones and try to figure out what happened, and whether the procedure actually works.

No evidence of real stones

The proponents claim that the stones block the small ducts in the gallbladder and the liver. This creates congestion and prevents the liver from doing its job properly. There’s just one problem with that explanation, as Dr. David Gorski explains over at Science-Based Medicine.

If true obstruction were present and increasing the “back pressure” on the liver, it would be fairly straightforward to demonstrate by observing dilated biliary ducts in the liver on ultrasound. As is the case with most tubular structures in the body (small bowel, colon, bile ducts, ureters, etc.), when bile ducts are blocked, pressure behind the blockage causes them to dilate proximal to the cause of the obstruction, in the case of chronic obstruction quite impressively. Distal to the obstruction they tend to be normal in caliber or even collapsed (otherwise known as “distal collapse”). That’s how we figure out initially whether the obstruction is somewhere within the liver or if it’s in the bile duct outside of the liver. This part of surgery is not particularly complicated. It’s simple fluid dynamics, and that’s how we can usually tell where an obstruction is. It ain’t rocket science, as they say.

Despite being very simple and cheap to demonstrate with ultrasound, the proponents have never bothered to show that these obstructions even exist. They just think just about everybody should do the liver flush. Why bother with such silly things like evidence and reason? Bah, waste of time!

Do acne patients really have liver problems?

As discussed above, the whole point of the liver flush is to rid the liver of ‘toxins’ and so help it to function better. The proponents take liver congestion and liver problems as given. But is it really so? Do acne patients have liver problems not found in people with clear skin?

The proponents, to my knowledge, have never presented any evidence for this. Even the so-called Liver Doctor, Dr. Sandra Cabot, uses a dubious questionnaire to ‘diagnose’ liver problems. She makes up the abundance of dubious information with complete lack of scientific evidence. Her website has no references to scientific studies showing liver congestion causes any health problems, or that it’s even real. Neither has she ever published any scientific papers, at least nothing that’s indexed by PubMed.

So if there is evidence for liver congestion, the proponents are doing their very best to hide it. On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence against liver congestion and liver abnormalities in acne.

A 2006 study published in the Archives or Dermatology looked at the liver tests for 13,772 acne patients before and after Accutane treatment. Out of these, 94.9% showed normal liver enzyme levels at the baseline (before treatment) and 4.7% showed mildly increased levels. I’m fairly certain that if you were to take 14,000 healthy people without acne and compare their liver test values, you wouldn’t find any differences between the groups.

Since liver damage is a known side-effect of Accutane treatment, several studies have looked at liver function before and after Accutane treatment. Yet, there’s nothing in the medical literature showing liver damage or liver abnormalities among acne patients.

It strains credibility to the breaking point to claim that acne is a sign of ‘congested’ liver, yet medical scientists actively looking for liver abnormalities can’t seem to find anything wrong. Everything is, of course, possible, but I find this highly unlikely, especially considering that the stones itself are more likely to be the result of the flush itself than actual gallstones.

Does it work?

Well, as long as it works, who cares if the rationale and explanations for the liver flush are a bit wonky? Let’s face it. People who end up trying the liver flush aren’t exactly drowning in options. Most are people at the end of the road who feel they’ve already tried everything.

Encouraged by positive testimonials, like this one, they feel what the heck. It doesn’t really cost anything and there doesn’t seem to be any downside to it. If it does work, great, if it doesn’t, well nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I can totally understand that.

So does it actually work? Nobody has ever studied the liver flush, for anything. So we have no reliable data to draw from. So we are left with only testimonials and user reports. Many of those are positive, but there are a few things you should keep in mind while reading the testimonials:

  • People are far more likely to leave a positive report than a negative one. People who got good results from such a weird procedure want to tell others about it, because it makes them look smart and ‘in the know’. And people want to share things that work, that’s why acne forums are full of weird stories. Whereas people who got no results are less likely to fill the internet with their stories, because, well, trying such a weird thing with no results just makes them look silly. Even if only 3 people out of 100 got good results with the flush, you are still going to see more positive than negative stories.
  • Most positive stories come from dark corners of the internet dedicated to alternative medicine. And people who venture into those corners believe strongly into alternative medicine. So their observations are colored by their own biases, you really, really, really have to read this article about confirmation bias. This means any and all improvements in acne are automatically attributed to the flush. Even if it was just normal fluctuation or caused by something else, the person still fervently believes it’s because of the flush.
  • People often require many, many liver flushes before they see good results. It’s not uncommon for someone to do it 20 to 30 times before declaring ‘success’. The standard interval between flushes is 2 weeks, so this whole thing can take 6 to 12 months before success is declared.
  • The flush is almost never the only thing they do. People into alternative medicine usually also improve their diet, practice stress reduction, and do other healthy things. All of which can help acne.

The honest truth is that you can’t conclude anything from the testimonials. There are just too many confounding variables to be able to say anything about the liver flush. Maybe it works for some people, but given how implausible it is, I find it highly unlikely to be useful.

And though there are far more positive testimonials, there are also negative reports, such as this one:

I hate to say this but i followed that protocol to the T and my skin literally got 10 times worse. After the 5th LF [liver flush] my face was covered with literally 100’s of pimples ( like trying to count the stars). I know it may help many people but it was without a doubt the worst thing to ever happen to me (i came dangerously close to suicide) and now have permanent scars for life.


Is it dangerous? Are there any downsides to it?

In the vast majority of the cases doing the liver flush is harmless. Not that different from eating a really, really fatty meal. That said, if you have real gallstones, consuming so much fat can put a lot of pressure on the gallbladder and cause ruptures if the real stones block the small tubes.

So I wouldn’t do this if you feel pain after eating a fatty meal (possible indication of real gallstones).

The flush can also make you feel nauseated and dizzy. During my alternative medicine years, I did the flush quite a few times. Most times it went just fine, but the last time I did I started feeling really, really sick and ended up spending half the night vomiting in the toilet. Ahh.. the joys of experimentation. That also happened to be my last liver flush.

The basic liver flush is also really cheap; just olive oil, lemon juice and Epsom salts. Some variations may require herbs or detox kits that can end up costing more.

The proponents also claim you need to do colon cleansing and maybe even parasite cleansing before the liver flush. Because apparently otherwise it doesn’t work, and going through all that will cost far more than a bottle of olive oil and lemon juice.

Anyway, going through the basic liver flush seems harmless – even if it doesn’t do any good either.


Liver flush is one of the more popular alt-med therapies. Probably because alt-med proponents blame toxins for just about every disease out there, and detoxification is one of the jobs of the liver, and apparently your liver needs little flushing to keep up with things. Therefore the liver flush will help with just about every disease. So goes the loopy logic.

The whole premise of the liver flush is extremely shaky. Despite tens of thousands of acne patients undergoing liver function tests, scientists have never found real abnormalities in acne patients. And despite being very easy to test with ultrasound, there’s no evidence that obstructions in the gallbladder or the liver would be common. Despite the fact that the proponents claim modern life exposes all of us to so many toxins the liver just can’t keep up.

What we do know is that acne is a result of hormones, inflammation and genetics. And that it responds to diet changes, stress reduction, gut healing and other such things, none of which have any real connection to the liver.

All the evidence points to the liver flush being highly implausible and, at best, waste of time. Still, if you feel like you have no other options and want to try it, by all accounts it seems more or less harmless.

About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstein(a.k.a. Seppo Puusa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoy digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.

24 thoughts on “Liver Flush For Acne – The Other Side Of The Story”

  1. Seppo,

    I read Andreas Moritz’s “The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse” and I can’t say that I was particularly impressed by it. Only one chapter is about the actual cleanse itself, and the other chapters are basically the author’s own theories on disease and illness that I didn’t find convincing. The book can more or less be summarised as follows: if you have any disease or illness, do the liver cleanse multiple times and you will be cured. This includes cancer, diabetes, AIDS etc.

    A google search will also reveal that Andreas Moritz died recently at a relatively young age, which is of course a cause for concern. I certainly think there are dangers ingesting large quantities of Epsom salts, for example, and perhaps Andreas went one step too far.

    However, that’s not to say that liver cleanses may not be beneficial, if care is taken – I certainly don’t think that drinking down olive oil with some lemon juice is particularly dangerous. I’m also not entirely convinced that the stones released are simply olive oil mixed with lemon juice and bile. If this was indeed the case, how could a situation be explained whereby three intial flushes produced stones and then the next three produced none? Could this not suggest that the liver has indeed been purged of stones.

    I’ve got a healthy questioning mind, but I also have an open mind as well.

    When it comes to liver cleansing, I suppose the best means of figuring it out is to do a few cleanses and see how you feel.

    • Thanks for the rational comment, Dave. I’m afraid that sooner or later this article will be overrun by True Believers who accuse me of keeping people sick and increasing their suffering. Go figure.

      Anyway, yeah, Andreas Mositz. I can’t say I’ve had the dubious pleasure of reading his book, but it seems very similar to other alt-med books. They all seem to have their own One True Cause of all diseases, and all you have to do is to follow their treatment to reach eternal health and happiness. Much like Hulda Clark, except in her case everything was caused by parasites or flukes and you could use her zapper to kill them. She also happened to die of cancer, after publishing a dubious book on curing cancer.

      I can’t comment on Andreas’ untimely death. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some easily treatable diseases but refused Western medical care because he was believed his own nonsense. This stuff happens, and it’s very tragic when children die because of irrational beliefs their parents hold.

      Honestly speaking, I don’t have an explanation for all the stones and why they sometimes come and sometimes don’t come. It’s possible some of them are actual gallstones as they occasionally do get flushed out of the gallbladder (and this can happen even without the liver flush).

      What I can say is that we have very little reason to believe the proponents. They’ve never given any evidence, it’s all based on empty assertions and unreliable testimonials. Furthermore, some people claim to expell hundreds of stones after a single flush. The gallbladder is quite small, so it strains credibility to say it can hold hundreds and hundreds of such stones. And some of the stones are claimed to be the size of golfball, yet the ducts connecting the gallbladder and the liver are so small golf ball sized objects could never pass through them.

      It’s good to keep an open mind, just make sure you don’t confuse open mindedness with gullibility. Being open minded means taking in all the available evidence and making your mind based on all of it.

      When people accuse me or skeptics of not having an open mind (and I’m not saying you are accusing) what they really mean is ‘you are close minded because you don’t believe YYY without sufficient evidence’. Being open minded also means considering how the claim or new piece of information fits into the existing body of knowledge. Through various sciences humans have accumulated a vast body of knowledge that’s been verified over and over in rigorous experiements.

      As often is the case, a some alt-med theory contradicts much of this existing body of knowledge. Take homeopathy as an example, for it to be true much of what we know about physics and chemistry would not have to only be wrong, but spectacularly wrong. This if of course possible, but very unlikely given how many times the existing theories have been tested and verified.

      So what homeopaths are really saying is that you should ignore the knowledge accumulated through hundreds of years of scientific enquiry and believe their theory of magic water. As implausible as homeopathy is, it’s actually been tested in clinical trials several times. And over and over it’s been shown to be no better than placebo. Yet, we are being accused of being close minded should be not believe into homeopathy.

      It’s not really different with the liver flush. The premise behind the flush contradicts more or less everything medical sciences have learned about acne. As I mentioned in the post, there’s no evidence of liver congestion or toxins being the cause of acne. It’s all based on empty assertions.

      Being open minded here means taking into account all the evidence, not just the empty assertions from the proponents. Given that they have no provided no evidence, at least that I could find of, then all the evidence points to it being useless. That is the logical, open-minded conclusion in this case.

      Yes, do keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out 🙂

      That said, if you want to try it, then by all means go ahead. By all accounts, it should be harmless.

  2. I have no opinion either way about the liver flush per say, I have done one, after wroking on my gut health for two years, and though it was not pleasant I know it took my ability to detox to another level and released a toxic load into my body by my reaction, no ¨stones¨-i did not do it for ¨stones¨, I knew I had none. I have been detoxing from heavy metals for a year, as well as candida and healing my gut for 3. My desire to comment is because of this statement ¨What we do know is that acne is a result of hormones, inflammation and genetics. And that it responds to diet changes, stress reduction, gut healing and other such things, none of which have any real connection to the liver.¨ There is no organ in the body that exists interdependently of another. I never had gut health issues, they were all mental health, and discovering they were gut related was almost impossible because of this type of reductive and fragmented way of thinking which is predominant in the medical world. Western medicine loves to make these kinds of assertions, and divide the body up, so I caution you against doing the same as you make conclusions about the research you read, you will continue operating under the greatest myth that perpetuates illness, that the body is separate systems and can be treated as such, you must heal the whole body to achieve health, and that happens in layers and steps that often defy the logic and order of science and cannot be quantified in research. I was diagnosed with bipolar, adhd, narcolepsy and so on, and mis-medicated and mis-treated, by top doctors, as if it ¨was all in my head¨,I crashed a car because I had severe food intolerance, nobody knew, I had the most severe and unusual reactions to even the healthiest foods, no doctor could figure it out,and finally I did, and no research exists to really corroborate the truth I have experienced. So I will take anecdote over science most any day,as we truly are individual, unless it is related to setting my bones or the like. Thank for this site as well, it is full of great information.

    • First, let me say that I’m happy you feel better and got over whatever health problems you had.

      Regarding reductionist thinking, you are making a massive strawman argument. The claim that scientific medicine divides the body into separate organs and fails to understand ‘the whole’ is a myth perpetuated by various holistic healers and amounts to nothing more than competition bashing.

      No serious medical scientists would ever argue anything like that. There are plenty of examples to the contrary. For example science starts to recognize the effect the brain and brain abnormalities have on gut issues. Similarly, the influence of the gut on the skin is being studied and recognized.

      Doctors specialize because nobody can anymore understand in depth all the organs and systems in the body. But that doesn’t mean they would be blind to influences outside of their speciality.

      Scientific medicine is massively complicated, much more so than what various holistic healers would have you believe. What they offer is a travesty. They rely on pre-scientific concepts of health, things that made sense at the time they were invented. But now we know better. We understand the chemistry and physics in the body. And because of that we are much better off, with things like vaccines and insulin that save countless lives every day.

      You can spin it as much as you want, but the fact remains that scientific approach to medicine has saved more lives than any form of ‘holistic healing’. Not to mention that it has replaced all forms of traditional healings because it delivers better results.

      Nobody claims scientific medicine is perfect. Our understanding of many health issues is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean altie doctors would know any better. They demonstrably have almost no clue of what they are doing. They keep promoting homeopathy and other forms of magical thinking all the time. It’s akin to butcher claiming to understand surgery.

      And when I said that acne responds to gut healing, hormones and diet and that those things have no real connection to the liver, I didn’t mean that in the literal sense. Of course all the organs are connected to some degree. What I meant is that there’s no evidence that liver problems would cause the kind of hormonal abnormalities or gut problems we see in acne.

      You are also making the classic ‘your science can’t study my woo’ argument. Just because science doesn’t yet understand how something works doesn’t mean science couldn’t measure its health effects. It’s almost always possible to set up a randomized and controlled experiment to study almost anything. We don’t have to understand how something works to measure its effects. Countless such studies have looked at different alt-med modalities and the vast majority are negative, i.e no results.

      None of this of course means we should not try to heal the whole body with diet, lifestyle and other ‘holistic remedies’. We just shouldn’t abandon reason and logic while doing so.

  3. Skin issues are usually caused by blocked elimination systems and the body is trying to release toxins and when eliminations are blocked…the skin is the best back up option…acne is a hormonal , dietary issue BUT is also a constipation issue…and NO constipation is not just bowel related

    The liver is key to EVERYTHING…by not linking the liver with acne is ignorance…liver is key to hormones and nutrient uptake and toxin elimination

    I have personally completed 10 liver flushes…before I did #1, I had high cholesterol, elevated liver enzymes, poor digestion etc…very toxic bowels…I did some blood work after flush 7 just because I was curious…ALL levels previoulsy really high were back in normal range for the first time in 6 years.

    Say what you want…the liver flush works…the ‘stones’ are of varying levels of calcification from what I understand…and yes i get less and less each time i flush…and take the same amount of olive oil each time….I have known people to cure their liver cancer and other types from liver flushing

    It works for me…and I also pased thousands of parasites doing flushes and de-wormer…have pics to prove it

    • I’m happy to hear that you are feeling better now. But that in itself doesn’t mean that liver flushing would be responsible for your improvements. You said that you have done 10 liver flushes to date, which means a lot of time has passed since #1 and now. And it means a lot of things have happened and changed during this time. Any of the other things could be responsible for your improvements. Or it’s possible that whatever was troubling you has resolved on its own, most health problems are self-limiting and resolve without us doing anything about them.

      Humans are really, really bad at making cause and effect relationships when it comes to our health. I know I’ve fooled myself many times by jumping to wrong conclusions based on personal experience.

      I don’t claim to know your situation, but I do understand the many cognitive fallacies all humans have. Based on your story here, it seems like you are falling for a cognitive fallacy called confirmation bias. I recommend you read more about it so you don’t lead yourself astray.

      And no, skin issues are not caused by blocked elimination system and the body is trying to release toxins. This is just one of the many nonsensical explanations to acne that the alt-med proponents push. This is problematic for many reasons. 1) They have never shown any evidence to support this hypothesis. 2) Medical research on acne quite conclusively shows it’s caused by hormones and inflammation – not some unnamed toxins. 3) Nobody has ever demonstrated that humans are ‘clogged up with toxins’.

      If you like to perpetuate these claims, I’d suggest you try to address the problems I outlined and provide actual evidence to support your claims.

      • “Actual evidence” in your book only comes from well known researchers linked to big pharma. They are only out for a profit. No profit for them in healthy people, is there? Think about it for a minute or two.Good health FTW. Capitalism FTL.. Not saying I do or don’t believe liver flushes are important, but to say that the liver has no connection to diet changes, inflammation, stress or hormones is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Get some sense. Why do you think Chinese medicine focuses so much on healing the liver? Think they were just fucking around for the last 8000 some odd years? Come on man….really?

        • Ugh, I’m getting tired of the same old arguments. If science doesn’t support your predetermined view then I suppose it’s easier to tarnish all science with the ‘Big Pharma’ brush than to actually evaluate your beliefs.

          The US government spends about $130 million every year to fund studies on alternative medicine through The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. And even more through the alternative medicine arm of the National Cancer Institute. $200+ million buys a lot of research.

          The big pharma may indeed be out only for the money, but they are not the only source of research funding. The government, even outside the alternative medicine organizations, funds a lot of research.

          “Actual evidence” in your book only comes from well known researchers linked to big pharma.

          This is just plain silly. The vast majority of the citations in my book, or on this blog, in no way support the use of pharmaceuticals on acne. In fact, I have several posts here urging people not to take antibiotics for acne. Because there’s no evidence they work long term and there’s some evidence to show they might cause long term harm – all backed by scientific evidence. Are those studies also coming from the big pharma? I suppose we should then ignore them and keep taking antibiotics.

          but to say that the liver has no connection to diet changes, inflammation, stress or hormones is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Get some sense.

          That would be ridiculous. Then again, I never said anything even remotely resembling that. So I’m not sure what are you complaining about.

          The point of this post was that there’s no evidence that acne is connected to liver problems, or that acne patients have any more liver problems than people without acne, or that the liver flush itself would do anything useful. You are making a massive straw man argument.

          Why do you think Chinese medicine focuses so much on healing the liver? Think they were just fucking around for the last 8000 some odd years? Come on man….really?

          This is turning into a massive tour of logical fallacies. Why did the Chinese focus on the liver for 800 years? Perhaps the same reason they focused on yin/yang and nonexistent qi energy and meridians for thousands of years. Given the medical understanding that time, it made sense to think there’s some invisible energy animating the body. Most cultures have made such an assumption.

          However, today we know better. There’s no evidence that any such qi energy exists or that it does anything. It’s just one of the things we got wrong.

          To argue that because Chinese believed into it for 800 years it must be correct is like arguing we should all watch black and white analog TV because people in the 50s and 60s liked it so much.

          Every human generation builds on the knowledge of the past generations. It was Einstein who said that if I have seen further, it’s only because I stood on the shoulders of giants. In the process we learn that some of the things the previous generations believed it aren’t true. It’s quite silly to insist on believing something just because people have believed into it for hundreds of years.

    • Feeling Qi only takes about 3 weeks of practice several times a week for 15 minutes. And that might even be a stretch for some people. I think this is one of the most important things a person can do, because if for no other reason than to illustrate that the paradigm medicine is in…is purely one for profit. Because once you feel chi in your hands, you then shift paradigms and it doesn’t matter who says what or what the studies show. Arguing with people who simply wish to argue is futile. I personally have no time for people who wish to quarrel rather than learn.

      • I think you are overestimating the time it takes. I can ‘feel the qi’ in 30 seconds. But it doesn’t prove that qi exists. It just means one can create a sensation that feels like qi with purposeful attention.

        Because once you feel chi in your hands, you then shift paradigms and it doesn’t matter who says what or what the studies show.

        If this is what you really think, then I truly feel sorry for your patients. I would expect more objectivity and scientific standards from my physician.

  4. I have experienced it myself, I am Malaysian and I go back and forth to anhui province china to dedicate myself on learning how to understand and harness my qi energy better, because this is also part of Malay culture.I have seen a monks lit papers on fire/lamp bulbs using his qia nd many other things you would never believe if I write them all down here. I was not allowed to take photos or videos there.You have to travel all the way here to see and experience it yourself. Believe me it is very real, and it was the Chinese doctors that cured my migraine and lower back problems for good with only herbs! I have not been to the doctors for 10 years after I was treated and did a full medical exams 2 months ago, I can proudly say I am a very healthy person. Just sayin, good article though.

  5. With all do respect, you are another person on the internet who writes articles from recycled information but have no experience first hand. Therefore, your knowledge is extremely myopic and limited.

    As someone who does practice medicine, I can tell you with certainty, yes….most illness is related to toxicity. Laboratory studies are positive predominantly when pathologic changes have already taken place. It is analagous to having a leak in your roof, and the only way you understand that their is a problem is when the roof caves in. That is called retroactive medicine – wait for an obvious problem before you do something.

    The main toxicities in our environment damage cells in many ways including the DNA and cytochrome system inside the liver. If you want to argue about environmental medicine being a non player, then I suggest you read Dr. Walter Crinnion’s work or Dr. William Rea. Is environmental toxicity the only cause of disease? No. But it is the most prevalent and therefore it is most often referred to by people. Furthermore, before any treatment is done, a wise physician always takes out the trash. Similarly, the first thing you do before any remodeling in your house is to take out the trash, to make a clear pathway. You want to load up your car for a trip, you take out the trash. It’s a natural law of health, and eve one that even spills over into our own behavior in every day life. Don’t take out your trash for a month, and see what “disease” begins mounting.

    If you had treated patients, you would know first hand that when you remove the obstacle to cure, which typically always has to do with diet, of which contains many chemicals (i.e. toxicity), people improve. Toxicity is not limited to physical, it is emotional as well. Self defeating thoughts and a negative attitude is toxicity, as is resentment. However, because you can’t put it under a microscope and prove it, it doesn’t exist in modern medicine. The only reason it does, in part, is because they can write a prescription for it. Had they not been able to make money on it, it would be refuted as a viable cause of disease.

    Another cause of illness that is of high prevalence is gut dysbiosis. And when the virulent bacteria overcolonize the intestine, they release…..toxins. I could go on and on about different sources of toxic accumulation.

    Acne is in fact a liver issue. I would suggest you study Chinese medicine, and perhaps go shadow a TCM provider if you want to gain first hand knowledge. Recycling the viewpoints of people on the internet whom you have no idea of who they are, at least personally, is not having a solid frame of reference. When you practice medicine and you discuss your cases with other providers, there is no comparison in the quality of information obtained.

    • I’m more than happy to engage in a constructive discussion with you. Because, contrary to your characterization, I am open to new information and learning. But having a meaningful discussion would require you to provide more evidence and commit fewer logical fallacies.

      The premise of this post is, and I have stated is several times in my earlier comments, that there’s no valid evidence to support the idea that toxic overload and liver congestion causes acne. Yet, you make the assertion that most illness is related to toxicity. On what basis you make the claim? What evidence do you have to support these easily testable claims?

      If you want to argue about environmental medicine being a non player

      But I have never argued anything even resembling that. I do recognize that environmental ‘toxins’, for the lack of better, word affect health. Air pollution is a known factor in many diseases, as is occupational chemical exposure.

      Yet, this is no way supports the ideas behind the liver flush, namely:

      – The liver is congested due to toxin overload
      – The liver flush procedure would be able to remove these toxins

      If you had treated patients, you would know first hand that when you remove the obstacle to cure, which typically always has to do with diet, of which contains many chemicals (i.e. toxicity), people improve.

      This again has nothing to do with the content of the post. Furthermore, it’s a massive mischaracterization. I may not treat patients, but people often email me asking for advice. During those discussions I always have them focus on diet to eliminate foods that may aggravate acne.

      Toxicity is not limited to physical, it is emotional as well. Self defeating thoughts and a negative attitude is toxicity, as is resentment. However, because you can’t put it under a microscope and prove it, it doesn’t exist in modern medicine.

      I haven’t written about emotions and psychology a lot on the blog, but I cover it extensively in my book. Based on my conversations with hundreds of acne sufferers, I believe dysfunctional emotions, stress and anxiety is a fairly common cause of acne. It may not be the most common, but it’s certainly the main factor for some people.

      I wonder at where you received your education because you can indeed put ‘emotions’ under a microscope and study them. One way to do it is to look at neurotransmitters and how they affect cells. There’s some data to show neurotransmitters triggered during stress and anxiety affect the skin in ways that could cause acne.

      Again, this in no way supports the idea of liver congestion or liver flush.

      Another cause of illness that is of high prevalence is gut dysbiosis. And when the virulent bacteria overcolonize the intestine, they release…..toxins.

      I have covered the role of gut issues in acne extensively. In fact, my own acne is linked to gut problems. My skin flares when I get constipated.

      Yet again, this is turning into a theme, this in no way supports the idea of liver congestion and liver flushing.

      Yes, gut dysbiosis, SIBO and other gut-related problems can lead to a situation where inflammatory substances leak from the gut into bloodstream. There’s quite good evidence to support this and I don’t think the idea is controversial among medical scientists.

      But this doesn’t mean the body would be congested or overburdened by toxins. Or that liver flushing would be helpful. While these substances are in systemic circulation they can cause systemic inflammation, but this is a normal response to foreign substances in the body and doesn’t in anyway indicate that the liver would be overburdened.

  6. Remember the power of the placebo effect! This indicates that a person can improve their conditions based solely on belief even subconscious belief.

  7. One part of your article that clearly demonstrated that you are as ignorant as, or more so, than the people you are critiquing for their belief of the liver/acne connection, belief of annecdotal evidence, or whatever your point is, is this:

    I’m fairly certain that if you were to take 14,000 healthy people without acne and compare their liver test values, you wouldn’t find any differences between the groups.

    So, you just proven you have no evidence for your skepticism and that the whole point of this article is that your unsupported opinion is more valid, accurate, and important than others opinion for which they often even have more evidence.

    • I’ve read your comment 10 times now, and, honestly speaking, I’m still not clear what you are tying to say.

      Yes, I made a statement not supported by evidence in this article. Here’s the point I was trying to make. A study looking at almost 14,000 people with acne showed that 95% had normal liver enzyme levels, and about 5% showed mildly elevated levels. It is my guess that you would probably find similar results in a similar group of people who doesn’t have acne.

      Even if I’m wrong about that, the fact that 95% of acne patients had normal liver enzyme levels doesn’t exactly support the claim that acne patients would have liver problems.

      If these other people have more evidence than I do, they are doing a very good job of hiding it. Please share it and I’ll be happy to take a look at it.

  8. Hi, thanks for sharing all that you’ve found in your own quest for clear skin. I appreciate the info on the role of oxidative damage and components of sebum in problem skin.

    I’m trying to understand liver function a little better. Is the only measure of liver health via ALT and AST? My understanding is that those values only rise when there has been significant damage to hepatocytes. Isn’t it possible to have some functional liver issues without liver cell death? For example, I’ve found some evidence that 7 alcoholic drinks per week is sufficient to induce fatty infiltration of liver cells which impedes their functioning. And, only after more advanced progression are liver enzymes elevated. Are they then a good measure of hepatic function health?

    Also, I have learned more about liver cleansing that is not related to the Hulda Clarke stone flushing. For example, some docs suggest herbs such as Chelidonium, Bupleurum and Silybum to improve hepatocyte functioning. Do you have any ideas about this based on your research? Sorry if I missed that somewhere. I just want to understand as best I can.

    Thanks again!

    • I’m not really qualified to answer this. Perhaps there are more sensitive measures of liver damage, but I wouldn’t know what those are. It seems that measuring fatty deposits and liver enzymes is good for ‘real world results’. As in, if these things change, then you can expect to suffer real world consequences some time later. But whether there are more subtle indicators of liver damage that don’t necessarily manifest as real world consequences, I don’t know.

      I don’t think that the herbs you mentioned improve hepatocyte functioning. I’ve seen studies that show they can protect the liver from damage, but this doesn’t mean they would improve or boost liver functioning in absence of such damage.

  9. My decades-old cystic acne disappeared after starting coffee enemas and liver flushes. Nothing else that I tried ever worked. I cannot agree with your premise, and, frankly, I find your attitude to be arrogant and a bit condescending.

  10. Hi,

    Just want to add my take on what happened. I’m not a medical professional, and my case is anecdotal, so I have no proof my results were a direct correlation to the liver flush. Here’s my story though:

    I’ve been suffering from many problems since childhood. The way I felt is of course subjective, I would say I had terrible brain fog, a weak stomach (any kind of change in diet would make me nauseous), and a bad case of acne, but the only things I was formally diagnosed with were autism and diabetes (type 2). I had been loaded up with all kinds of prescriptions for acne, and my autism and nothing really worked, so I relegated myself to a life of bad health and pimples.

    However, I heard the liver flush method and was of course skeptical, but I figured all I’d be out was a few litres of Olive oil and possibly would feel sick. So I tried a light version of it. No epsom salts, but lemon water fast for the day and 1/8th of a cup of olive oil. I felt sick when I drank the oil, and the next day did not have a pleasant time in the loo. The next day I felt even worse. However, two days later I began to recover and felt slightly better by day 3. After day 5 I realized I was getting more at work done. So I tried my “mini flush” again. Same result.

    Fast forward to now (1 year later), I have done this maybe 20 times, but I still eat deep fried foods and love my Mountain Dew and energy drinks, and I refuse to exercise because I hate the gym. However, I have lost 22 lbs and my acne is gone. Not only that, I have more energy than before and the brain fog is completely gone.

    I know it’s anecdotal, and I’m still skeptical myself at what happened, but I can not deny the positive effects I’ve experienced. I have no acne, I love it. No more pimple popping, but most importantly the brain fog is gone. I get things at work done, and that’s a good thing! I’ve encouraged my friends and family to try, and those who have followed me have also seen similar results.

    Whether or not it was the olive oil “cleaning the liver” (sounds strange honestly to me), or the increased uptake of good fats in my diet that cleared my head I don’t know, but I couldn’t be happier with the results.

    So I say try it. Stones or not, what’s the worst that can happen? You feel sick for a day or two and lose some loose change on olive oil and lemon juice.

    That’s my story, and that’s what happened to me. Something worked.

    Cheers, and thank you for your analysis on the subject


  11. Seppo, I apologize but you sound very uninformed on this matter, you even contradicted your entire point for posting this article:

    “The so-called stoned had none of the characteristics of real gallstones, and the doctor was able to create these stones by mixing the ingredients in the liver flush with base (exactly what happens when the liver flush mixture mixes with alkaline bile in the small intestine).

    In other words, the stones are almost certain the result of the flush itself and have nothing to do with actual gallstones. Without any evidence to indicate otherwise, my guess is that this process explains the vast majority of all the expelled ‘stones’.

    Of course it’s possible that the liver flush also expels real gallstones, but so does eating a fatty meal.”

    The fact you keep trying to sound objective when it is painfully obvious you’re an opponent of liver flushes is what is really irritating me.

    • Two things.

      No, the I didn’t contradict myself. It’s possible that the vast majority of expelled gallstones are the result or the liver flush itself AND that some people who do the flush have real gallstones that come out as a result of the flush.

      I’m an opponent of pseudoscience and nonsense. Bad information and dubious ideas about health lead people down a very dark path where they become desperate and hopeless. And they cause people to waste time and money that they could use to enjoy life instead of trying dubious treatments.

      I really have nothing against the liver flush specifically. Just show me real evidence that it works and I’ll be happy to update the post.

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