Fresh lemon juice can help protect your liver from alcohol induced damage. A Chinese study was conducted on mice and the results were published in the journal Biomed Research International. The study used 30 male mice and results showed lemon juice “exerted hepatoprotective effects on alcohol-induced liver injury”.

Liver impairment in the mice given ethanol was measured via elevations in the liver enzymes ALT and AST. (Click here for information about interpreting liver function blood tests). Lemon juice was actually able to return ALT and AST in the blood of the mice to normal. The researchers commented also that it “remarkably improved the liver histopathological changes”. Other harmful effects of ethanol consumption were also reversed by the lemon juice; these included increased lipid peroxidation and increased liver triglyceride levels. These are quite amazing findings.

What is it in lemons that has these remarkable benefits? The researchers believe several compounds are responsible: vitamin C, essential oils, pectin and flavonoids. Vitamin C can certainly prevent oxidative damage and lipid peroxidation. The pectin and essential oils in lemon help to improve the health of the gut lining, thereby reducing waste products that arrive at the liver via a leaky gut. Alcohol does increase intestinal permeability and allows bacteria from the gut to travel to the liver, potentially damaging liver cells.

Lemons really are a wonder fruit. Although this study was conducted on mice; alcohol, drugs and other toxins harm the liver of mice and humans via the same mechanisms. Even if you don’t drink much alcohol, the toxins we are regularly exposed to in our environment can cause harm to our liver cells.

I have seen the beneficial effects of lemon juice on the liver health of my patients over many years, which is why I included a lemon drink each morning in the eating plan of The Liver Cleansing Diet. I also recommend lemon juice be added to freshly made raw vegetable juices. If you are concerned about your liver health, I strongly urge you to make fresh lemon juice a regular part of your diet.