The term Detoxification is used a lot nowadays. Most people think that they can drink a “detox shake” for one or two weeks and “detox” their body.
It’s not that simple!
Let me clarify something first, detoxification takes place
on a cellular level,
in all cells in the body,
all the time.
There are several organs that are involved in the body’s detoxification processes.
Lymphatic system and
The liver is the organ I want to talk about since it does the majority of the work.
The liver takes toxins such as heavy metals, ammonia, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, converts them into water-soluble substances and excretes them via the bile into the upper GI tract.
If you are eating a healthy diet with lots of fiber, those toxins in the bile can be trapped and removed from the body via the bowel movement.
Here is the problem. If you have leaky gut, some of the toxins will move through the gut wall into the hepatic vein back into the liver. You can imagine that the liver gets overwhelmed at some point and is not able to detoxify the blood properly.
Symptoms of Detoxification Problems
Swelling in the legs
Hormone imbalance (the liver converts T4 into T3 and detoxifies hormones such as estrogen)
Depression, mood swings, irritability
Chemical and food sensitivities
Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue
Red palms and soles of feet
Weight gain, often times loss of muscle tissue
Intolerance to fatty foods, alcohol
As you can see in this picture, the liver is connected via the portal vein with the intestines and delivers bile through the common bile duct to the upper GI tract.
The liver has two phases of detoxification
In Phase I, toxins which are fat soluble are converted into water-soluble substances through the process of Biotransformation. This process needs 50 different enzymes in order to function properly.
Once the toxins are converted into water-soluble, they are excreted through the urine, feces or sweat.
The water soluble substances are less active but they can be more toxic than the original toxins.
If they are not properly excreted, they accumulate in fatty tissues of the body and are basically stored there.
Phase I liver detoxification processes:
In Phase II, the liver uses amino acids, sulfur, vitamins, and minerals to bind to the metabolites from phase I, in order to eliminate them. This Phase II pathway is called the Conjugation (binding) pathway.
Low nutrient levels cause a problem because toxins can’t be bound.
That means that the re-circulating toxins are now more toxic than the original ones.
I will not go into details about the processes involved in Phase II conjugation pathways, but you need to know that all of those processes need to work together.
Phase II liver detoxification processes
Methylation cofactors: Magnesium, B vitamins, Methionine and others
Sulfuration cofactors: Vitamin B12, B6, P5P, folate, and others
Glutathione conjugation cofactors: Essential fatty acids, P5P and others
Glucuronidation cofactors: B-vitamins and others
Acetylation cofactors: Iron, Vitamin B2 and others
Amino Acid Conjugation
Phase III of the detoxification is the Elimination of waste products
Elimination occurs with the help of the bile, which is released into the upper GI tract and through the colon as bowel movements.
How can you support your body with the detoxification processes?
Eat real food, if possible organic vegetables, grass fed beef, pastured chicken and their eggs.
Use non toxic household cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda.
Use organic products in your vegetable garden to kill weeds or bugs.
Use a water filter.
If you don’t know if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, get them checked with an
Organic Acid Test (you can order it through me) and
or contact me if you would like to book a free 20 minute Health Consultation.