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Is Lemon Water Good For Your Liver? (Kaufmann Diet Friendly)

Written by Erin Porter

Why this big hype around drinking lemon water?  We hear of so many famous people including athletes that wake up every morning to lemon water on an empty stomach.  There are many reasons these people may be on to something including benefits to the liver and the skin.

Lemonade pitcher with lemon

Drinking lemon water can be good for the liver as it contains high amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, and citric acid to help fight free radical damage.   According to the NIH, there were even positive effects of lemon juice on alcohol induced liver injury in mice. 

There are other things to consider before jumping on the lemon water bandwagon.  For example, is lemon water bad for your teeth?  Can it really help detox your body?  I will cover all of these questions and more in this article.

lemonade in glass and bottle on wooden table outdoors

Effects of Lemon Water on the Liver

In the mice study I mentioned above, lemon juice did show rejuvenation in the liver of mice who had alcohol induced liver injury.  The NIH says “These findings suggest that lemon juice has protective effects on alcohol-induced liver injury in mice. The protective effects might be related to the antioxidant capacity of lemon juice because lemon juice showed in vitro antioxidant capacity”.  The study also found that the tissue damage and changes caused by the alcohol were “remarkably” improved with the treatment of the lemon juice.

Free radical damage is a major contributor in aging.  Free radicals are involved in aging skin, arthritis, and you guessed it, even liver problems.  In fact, an excess of free radicals have been implicated in many liver diseases.  Free radicals are harmful to cells and damage DNA.  Lemons contain phytonutrients which help prevent against oxidation which is essentially decay.

Effects of Lemon Water on Digestion

According to Dr. Axe “Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly”.  The acid in our stomachs as we know, helps break down food.  As we age we produce less stomach acid making it harder to digest our food.  The acid in lemons can help supplement this acid, which in turn can further help to break down the food we eat.

I personally had an extreme case of acid reflux, specifically Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) which caused extreme pain in my esophagus.  It’s tempting to draw the conclusion that acid reflux must be the result of too much acid but it’s just the opposite.  I now take a supplement which adds back the needed acid for digestion and its called Betaine Hydrochloric Acid (HCI).  This reflux ailment I had was the result of decades of antibiotic use.  Antibiotics destroy our good bacteria in our gut which results in digestive issues.

Here you can find my full story of chronic illness and recovery  For those that are interested, below is my television interview on Know The Cause discussing reflux and leaky gut.

Discussing Years Of Severe Acid Reflux On Know The Cause with Doug Kaufmann

Is Lemon Water Bad For Your Teeth?

The high amount of acid in lemons could potentially cause enamel erosion.  According to an another NIH study, lemon juice was more damaging to tooth enamel than other fruits.

Tips to reduce erosion of the enamel from Lemons

  • Rinse your mouth with plain water 

Many dentists believe rinsing your mouth out with water is an even better option than brushing right after drinking lemon water.  The reason being is that your teeth need time to recover after being weakened by acid.  Immediately brushing them can make them more susceptible to damage.  Delta dental suggests waiting 30 minutes before brushing and instead opt for rinsing with water only.

  • Use a straw

I use a straw almost daily as I drink very dark green and berry juices each day.  Nobody wants stains or enamel erosion, a straw will help there to be less contact between the beverage and your teeth.

  • Drink lemon juice in moderation

We all know the saying “everything in moderation”.  I have a large 2 gallon lemon juice brewing in the refrigerator right now, but I only drink it in the morning a few times a week (with a straw of course.)

Do Lemons Help In Detoxification?

Although lemons act as a diuretic and could help flush out toxins there seems to be a general consensus that the long term “lemon water only” diet can be harmful to the body.  This is a diet in which people only drink lemon water for weeks at a time which does not sound particularly healthy.  Detoxing the body is an intricate process and should be done slowly and with care.  When I myself went through different detox methods, I consulted with physicians as well my friend Catherine over at Mold Free Living.  Her father, a brilliant physician, put together a wonderful detox plan which I have laid out in my book.

I always want to make sure I am as gentle as I can be on my body, especially my liver.  We can easily overwhelm the liver when we detox at a rapid rate.  If you have the MTHFR gene mutation this can complicate the detox process even more.

detox word cloud
DETOX word cloud

Mold Detox

In my case I was detoxing from mold toxins.  We get bombarded with hundreds of toxins per day in our daily lives.  Getting rid of them is an important part to staying healthy.  I learned from my doctor (Dr. Donald Dennis) that mycotoxins (the toxins that mold produce) can interrupt detox pathways.  I heard a well-respected environmental illness doctor refer to mold as the “mother of all toxins.”  This is because “mold disrupts the body on so many different levels.

Mycotoxins are also fat soluble, which means that they have an easier time entering our cells before our bodies can have a chance to remove them.  By the time symptoms become chronic or autoimmunity arises, studies show that the body’s natural bile acid production has usually already decreased by 75%. This is significant because bile is our body’s natural sequestrate of toxins, especially those that are fat soluble. Without adequate bile production and flow, those toxins will remain in the body.”

For a wonderful array of detoxing products, a company called Microbalance has created supplements to aid mold recovery as well as products for your home and clothes.  Limiting the amount of mold spores in the environment is key.  The Microbalance company came into existence because of one physicians passion to help his patients overcome the devastating effects of toxic mold.


  • Lemons contain vitamin b6, antioxidants, and are a fantastic source of Vitamin C which is essential for healthy skin.  Lemons can help prevent kidney stones, reduce cancer risk and aid in digestion.

How To Make Lemon Water

  • Wash and slice two lemons
  • Add sliced lemons to a 2 Gallon water container
  • Place container in refrigerator and enjoy
  • Add a slice of ginger for an extra boost to the immune system

If you are following the Kaufmann diet Lemons are a fruit that is permitted on this diet.  Lemon water is a great Kaufmann diet drink if following Doug Kaufmann’s diet.

Update:  The second edition of my book Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey from Chronic Illness & Brokenness to Wholeness & Healing has been released.  Foreword written by Doug Kaufmann – Host of televisions Know The Cause.


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Erin Porter
Erin Porter
I have been fortunate to be featured on national Television including PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, CTN, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. I was sick for decades, endured many surgeries, took over 100 courses of antibiotics, and then I changed everything and everything changed.

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About Erin

I have been fortunate to be featured on national Television including PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, CTN, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. I was sick for decades, endured many surgeries, took over 100 courses of antibiotics, and then I changed everything and everything changed. My book Eat Pray Get Well is about overcoming a tumultuous childhood, decades of chronic illness, and finding God in the process. Includes exclusive interviews with renowned Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Supermodel Carol Alt, Doug Kaufmann, and many more. Plus 55 gluten free recipes woven throughout. 

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