Liver Detoxification

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.

The liver



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

Acne, Eczema


Swelling in the legs

Hormone imbalance (the liver converts T4 into T3 and detoxifies hormones such as estrogen)

Hot flashes

Depression, mood swings, irritability

Brain fog


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


Detoxification Pathways

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 in order for the detoxification processes work properly? 

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.

Increase bile flow by hydrating properly and a castor oil pack.

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The information provided on this website is not meant to substitute professional medical advice. Consult your health care provider in regard to supplementation, especially if you are on any kind of medication.