Have you ever felt overworked, overburdened, and underappreciated? If your liver could talk, that's what it would say. The word "liver" is derived from the Old English word meaning "for life"—a name it surely deserves. As your body's main processing plant and an incredible multitasker, involved in over five hundred vital functions, your liver has more to do with well-being than you might think.

This wedge-shaped organ, located under your ribs on your right side above the stomach, is your largest internal organ, weighing about 3 percent of your body's total weight. Almost all metabolic activities and body functions are dependent on the liver in some way, and that's why it's centrally located in our bodies, allowing it to easily communicate with our other body parts. It's also the only organ that can regenerate itself if damaged.

Although the liver is quite capable of doing its job, the diets we eat—not to mention the ever-increasing levels of chemicals in our environment—can push it to capacity. When this happens, the liver has to work overtime to detoxify the body, leaving it less able to carry out its many other roles—resulting in what is called an overburdened liver.

Diets that cleanse the liver are often called detox diets. Some critics call them fads and say that our bodies are built to handle toxins on their own. And while it's true that the body can detoxify itself normally, it is an overly simplistic answer, like saying we don't need antibiotics because our immune systems can fight off bacterial infections on their own. We know that's not true.

Part of the problem was that we had no idea just how many chemicals people really were carrying around in their bodies. Thanks to newer, more accessible tests, we can now detect very small concentrations in people's bodies, and the tests show us that our bodies cannot excrete these toxins on their own.

For example, Environmental Defence Canada tested eleven people for eighty-eight potentially harmful chemicals. They found an average of forty-four chemicals, including heavy metals, and chemicals that were banned over twenty-five years ago. In collaboration with Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., released "Body Burden: The Pollution in People," a report that looked at the levels of 210 chemicals in nine people.

Researchers found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers, with a total of 167 chemicals found in the group. This reinforces that our bodies are unable to deal with these chemicals without our help.

Detoxification is an ongoing process that occurs in the body. The medical community, including respected doctors such as Andrew Weil, M.D., Leo Galland, M.D., and Mark Hyman, M.D., is quickly accepting the value of eating certain foods that support this natural process.

By reviewing almost every detox diet on the shelves, I found another problem in that they are sometimes presented as restrictive, deprivation diets, meant to last only one to three weeks. These diets, paradoxically, can deplete your liver, which is your major detox organ. Some authors even promote detox diets as a way to lose weight rapidly. And detox diets usually don't allow coffee, or chicken and other animal protein; some even advise against eating any food at all.

Thus, it is important to find a supplement which is safe to be consumed, improve the health of your liver, but still reawaken your taste buds.