Please join me in a global campaign to correct the misunderstanding that the liver “filters” toxins.

Filters remove undesirable things from air, water, oil, or other desirable materials. They do so by holding on to them. As a result, they get dirty and eventually need to be replaced.

Many people believe that this is what the liver does.

When you mention eating liver, they say, “I'm not going to eat something that filters toxins,” as if all those toxins are actually in the liver.

But this is not what the liver does. Not at all.

I do not believe people need a background in physiology to understand what the liver does correctly. Therefore, I propose that we all join forces to correct anyone who ever says or implies that “the liver is a filter.” To do so, I recommend these three corrections, each appropriate to a different level of scientific understanding:

  • Level 1. “The liver does not filter toxins from the blood. The liver helps pump them into your poo and your pee so that they leave your body.”
  • Level 2. “The liver does not filter toxins. Instead, the liver modifies them to make them less toxic, and to make them easier to excrete. This leads to their elimination in the feces and urine, not their retention in the liver.”
  • Level 3. “The liver does not filter toxins. Hepatic detoxification takes place in three phases. Phase 1 oxidizes the molecule. This serves to prepare it for phase 2. Phase 2 conjugates the molecule to one of several chemical groups. This serves two purposes: one is to make the toxin less metabolically active; the other is to make it more water-soluble. Phase 3 exports the conjugate into the bile, which brings it into the intestines. From there, it either leaves in the feces, or is reabsorbed into the bloodstream and exits the body through the urine.

Everyone can understand at least one of these!

Please join me by stopping every person on the earth, man or woman, adult or child, rich or poor, black, white or brown, weak or strong, scientist or artist, capitalist or communist… let us leave no stone unturned, and correct them ALL:

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  1. “Toxins” is a term with a lot of baggage and is used indiscriminately by those selling garbage. Can you be more specific in defining what is actually going into the liver?

  2. If the liver is not a filter, is it always safe to be eaten raw? If not always, when? What are the factors or safety checklist one must consider? Is raw liver healthier than cooked liver?

  3. It seems as if the masses are always given misinformation… I do not know why that is. It seems as if a slight amount of skepticism towards putative beliefs is healthy even if you run the risk of being alienated from certain clans. But yea calling it a “filter” definitely sounds deterring I just have no idea how u guys r gonna unfuck the average persons mind on this one. Lets get joe rogan to talk about this if he hasn’t already.

  4. Cris,
    i had the wrong idea about you. I did not inow y8u and Jimmy Moore are both devoted to your religi8n. I can respect that. I read your 2010 article. My bad.
    Razzer (Non public my bad messsgel

  5. Excellent article thanks

    Does this also apply to liver from industrial farmed chicken? I love liver but last time I ate chicken liver was in my childhood – from own chicken!

    I now live in Denmark (Scandinavia) where 99.9% of chicken is factory farmed in atrocious conditions. Apart from the ethical part of eating these livers, is it safe?

  6. Ok..I already have been schooled and humbled– having been one with a keen interest but obviously minimal education in the anatomy and physiology of nutrition.

    I thank you immensely for elegantly providing a succinct elemental and graphic explanation of both in regard to liver function within the larger mechanism of breakdown and eventual elimination.

    Joining class asap

    1. It’s high in retinol the animal form of vitamin A, folate, iron, and zinc. Vitamin A is beneficial for reducing inflammation causing diseases, including Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Vitamin A is also beneficial for eye health. Liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat.

      1. I understand a healthy liver has more copper than iron, so don’t leave out that tidbit. In addition, the copper might be ceruloplasmin (Cp) bound bio-available copper, which is a big winner, winner, chicken dinner!
        Cp also manages iron status, so that explains its effects some of its effects reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
        CP bound copper also fuels the cupro-enzymatic systems, and those systems regulate a TON of the body’s key biochemistry, from extremity body temperature to conversion to DHA in the brain.
        Also, liver plays crucial role in enzyme production and, therefore, hormone production. Enzymes also create all neurotransmitters, but I don’t know if they are created in the liver or not – but they might be.

  7. all the time i used to read smaller articles that as
    well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this
    article which I am reading now.

  8. My first nutritional supplement back in the early 1960s was milk thistle. I still take it every day. I can’t imagine having a sick liver, or worse, damaging my liver through carelessness.

    Your story of turning to veganism and what followed made me cry.
    My eyes still are watering when I think of it. I’m horrified at what you put yourself through and very glad that you weren’t beyond recovery.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  9. Why would liver and liver supplements give me a 3 day headache. What can I do for that because I need liver

    1. May not be the liver st all- do u eat it raw or cook it? If u cook it what oil ornother ingredients are u using? My point is that if u are frying or sauté it in any seed or vegetable oil that could be your problem- the oil…
      try liver raw that’s how I eat it… it tastes better this way too

      1. Eating raw liver can make you very sick. Look up parasitic diseases from consuming raw liver. Not all farms have excellent parasitic programs… and all farm animals are susceptible to parasites (worms). Cooking meat kills parasites… that is why the USDA has recommended cooking temperatures for meats.

        1. You honestly trust the USDA ? I know many people who work for them in laboratory settings. The USDA can be trusted about as far as you could throw them. Meat temps? Please. As long as you don’t eat trash low grade CAFO meat you will be fine. The ph of our stomach acid is 1.5 ph or less. Only scavengers like vultures that can eat carrion have that acidic of stomachs. Raw meat is very healthy for you and digests perfectly when the enzymes in it aid autolysis and our bodies digestive mechanisms. When you eat raw meat you barely have any waste to poop out because it dissolves and assimilates thoroughly. More thorougly than any other food. You are falling for fear propaganda. If you are so worried about it all you have to do is get meat that’s been frozen in a commericial freezer that’s cold enough to rupture any parasites cell walls. That is what sashimi grade fish is. Deep flash frozen for raw consumption. Even if it wasn’t the hydrochloric acid in an uncompromised stomach kills anything instantaneously

    2. Hi Jeqn– liver contains many nutrients but some people might not need those. Read what Chris has put out on managing zinc & copper… also maybe check full iron panel.

  10. You are right.
    But why the concern?
    This seems like people who think tomatoes are a vegetable when they are really a berry.
    So what?
    What about old people who cannot afford their medication? Pregnant women who do not have access to prenatal care?
    Peace in the middle east?

    1. Different people have different passions. And they don’t always remain their number one passions. If those are your passions the hey go for it. Solve those problems. We won’t stop you.

    2. For one thing tons of marketing sells unnecessary stuff for liver “cleanses” and liver “detox” diets. People also sometimes avoid eating liver in case it is full of toxins. So why would you object to wanting accurate information in the world? What on earth does that have to do with world peace? Do you object to anyone who cares about accuracy and education?

  11. Thank you. I have explained this I don’t know how many times.

    Of course, the liver does other stuff, too, like making cholesterol and bile and stuff, and creating glucose if needed. But it’s that “filter” canard that really annoys me, especially given how freakin’ nutritious the stuff is.

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