There's been a lot of studies recently on what the health benefits of artichokes actually are, including their ability to regulate blood sugar, support cholesterol metabolism, and promote liver health. Of course, this piece is most interested in how artichokes can improve liver health.
The liver is a vital organ responsible for a wide range of functions, including detoxification, and even metabolism. But, most people know it as the organ that is used in breaking down toxins.
When the liver is not functioning properly it can cause a lot of serious health issues. Including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), liver inflammation, and even stop your body from being able to remove toxins.
Artichokes and Liver Health: The Science Behind It
As we mentioned there have been various studies on artichoke leaf extract on liver function, and the results are actually pretty good here. It seems that the key compounds found in artichokes, such as phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and prebiotic fiber (inulin), are believed to be responsible for their liver-protective properties.
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects
Artichokes are rich in antioxidants, this is of course one of the key benefits. These help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. The whole thing is a bit complicated and we'd recommend reading our piece on free radicals and oxidative stress to get to grips with it if you're not familiar. But, both of these issues can contribute to liver damage. What are known as phenolic compounds and flavonoids found in artichokes act as potent antioxidants, neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the liver. These compounds also exhibit anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce inflammation and protect liver cells from damage.
Bile Production and Excretion
Next on the list of ways in which artichokes support liver health is by promoting bile production and excretion, in other words making you get the garbage out of your body. Bile is essential for the digestion and absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Artichokes increase the production and release of bile from the liver, aiding in the digestion and breakdown of fats. This not only supports liver health but also improves overall digestive health.
Detoxification and Removal of Toxins
Last up we have the fact that liver plays a vital role in detoxification, removing toxins, chemicals, etc. Artichokes have been found to support the liver's detoxification even further by improving the way the enzymes involved in detoxification actually work. They also help remove cholesterol and other nasties from the liver, so all in all it's off to a good start.
The Studies That Have Shown Artichokes are Good for the Liver
There's far more than just the studies we've included here, but we're going to look at some of the most cited and explain them in an easy to understand way.
Artichokes and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, researchers investigated the effects of artichoke leaf extract on patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The participants were divided into two groups, with one group receiving 600 mg of dried artichoke leaf extract daily for 8 weeks, and the other group receiving a placebo. The results showed significant improvements in liver health parameters, including ultrasound measurements and serum markers such as alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and total bilirubin, in the artichoke group compared to the placebo group. Additionally, the artichoke group experienced significant reductions in blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference compared to the placebo group. 
Artichokes and Weight Loss
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers investigated the effects of artichoke leaf extract on weight loss in individuals with a high body mass index (BMI) and high blood pressure. The participants were randomized to receive either 1 gram of dried artichoke leaves or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. The results showed that the artichoke group experienced significant reductions in weight and BMI compared to the placebo group. However, there was no significant effect on blood pressure. The researchers suggested that the weight loss benefits of artichoke leaf extract may be attributed to its prebiotic fiber content, particularly inulin and oligofructose. 
Artichokes and High-Fat Diet-Induced Liver Damage
Last up, we have a study conducted on rats. Generally we avoid animal studies, but this one is cited a lot and there does seem to be some human evidence to support it. The studies are just small. In this case the researches investigated the protective effects of artichoke supplements on liver damage induced by a high-fat diet. The rats were divided into different groups, with some groups receiving different doses of artichoke leaf extract and others receiving a cholesterol-lowering drug (atorvastatin). The results showed that both doses of artichoke leaf extract significantly reduced weight gain in the rats consuming a high-fat diet. Additionally, artichoke supplementation reduced lipase pancreatic activity and restored normal cholesterol levels. The researchers also observed a reversal of liver damage based on liver enzyme levels and liver histoarchitecture, indicating the protective effects of artichokes on the liver. 
So, Do Artichokes Improve Liver Health?
Well, all in all it seems that there's pretty good evidence to say that the compounds in artichoke to indeed improve liver function and health. This is one of those supplement claims that actually seems to be true.
1 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34591699/.
2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115887/
3 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36424606/