Detoxification is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from the human body, which is in large part carried out by the liver. However, it is also important to shine line on the importance of optimal gut function when discussing detoxification. Why? The gut excretes most of what the liver packages for elimination.⠀
Detoxification can be broken down into two phases:⠀
- Phase 1. Neutralization⠀
- Phase 2: Elimination via various organ systems (colon, kidney, lungs, lymph, skin)⠀
Now you may be wondering, how do I know if I need a detox or not? Here are some signs you may be in need of a detox:⠀
- Increased belly or visceral fat
- Abdominal bloating⠀
- Fatigue unrelieved by more sleep⠀
- Chemical sensitivity (lightweight when you drink alcohol or smelling fragrances makes you anxious)⠀
Phase one is brought to you by a family of enzymes known as P-450 that are located on the membrane of liver cells. These enzymes neutralize all unwanted chemical compounds. Toxins are not just limited to pesticides and pollutants in the air, but also include: ⠀
– Toxins from the gut⠀
– Normal body substances such as hormones and inflammatory markers like histamine, which can become toxic if they accumulate⠀
Once these enzymes neutralize these toxic substances, they move onto the next phase of the detoxification pathway. Exposure to too many toxins can slow down the liver’s functioning, leading to an increase of toxins within the body. These chemicals like to accumulate in the brain, breast and adrenal glands, organs with higher levels of fatty tissue. An increase in toxin burden can lead to damaging side effects like cognitive issues, fatigue and contribute to infertility.
Phase two takes the neutralized compounds from phase one and transforms them to water soluble substances. This step allows for easy elimination and removal from the body. Efficient phase two requires key nutrients such as glycine, choline and other amino acids. Many of these key nutrients are found in many herbs such as dandelion and burdock root, but can also be obtained from dark leafy greens.
Although our body is constantly in the process of detoxing, certain lifestyle choices can hinder the efficacy of this biological reaction, which is where a detox program can be of benefit. There are lots of programs available, so you want to make sure to do your research and pick a program that fits your lifestyle and needs!
Best in Health!