Is It Safe To Do An Epsom Salt And Olive Oil Liver Detox?

It's the morning after a night out, and you've overindulged. You're not feeling great and think maybe it's a good idea to cleanse the liver. Afterall, the liver is a large organ responsible for filtering waste, removing toxins, and breaking down and sending nutrients throughout the body (per Healthline). While the liver naturally detoxifies the body, it can become overwhelmed with enough alcohol or other toxins. 

Liver detoxes are marketed as ways to help the liver do its job more effectively through the use various ingredients meant to flush out and eliminate toxins within the organ (via WebMD). This process is supposed to have various benefits, including improved health, boosted metabolism, weight loss, and even longevity. These cleanses are often where people turn when they've consumed too much alcohol or unhealthy food and the idea of a detox seems logical. But do they actually work? Let's explore one in particular: the Epsom salt and olive oil trend.

What Epsom salt and olive oil do

Epsom salt is a mineral salt made of magnesium and sulfate that looks similar to table salt, according to Cleveland Clinic. It's commonly used in baths for stress and muscle pain relief, although these benefits are not scientifically proven. Magnesium and sulfate consumed together have been proven to work as a laxative. Unfortunately, consuming these can also lead to diarrhea, low blood pressure, and dizziness (per Mayo Clinic).

Olive oil, on the other hand, is an incredibly healthy natural substance extracted from olives. While it is made up of fat, it is primarily monounsaturated fat which has many benefits (via Healthline). The healthy fat content of olive oil makes it helpful for reducing inflammation and certain disease risks, protecting cells from oxidative stress, and fighting bacteria. Compared to Epsom salt, olive oil is known to be extremely healthy and worth adding to your diet for overall health. The only downside is that olive oil is high in calories which may not be beneficial for some diet goals (per WebMD).

So if they're combined, can they effectively cleanse the liver?

The cleansing power of olive oil and Epsom salt

Unfortunately, there's no scientific proof that any liver cleanses work, according to WebMD, and despite the benefits of olive oil, there's no evidence that it detoxes the liver or eliminates toxins. However, it's not to say olive oil can't support liver health. In fact, it's been known to reduce inflammation in the liver and protect liver cells from natural damage they incur (via Healthline). A 2019 study published in Nutrition also found that olive oil can reduce the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in those who have it when consumed regularly.

Unfortunately, the same health benefits aren't found in Epsom salt. Aside from providing a pleasant soak in the bathtub, Epsom salt doesn't have many safe, proven benefits and the side effects may even be dangerous, reports Cleveland Clinic. While it can eliminate standard waste due to its laxative effects, it won't necessarily promote liver detoxification.

Instead of trying a liver cleanse, consider eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and avoiding contact with harmful medications and toxins (per Healthline).