We live in a time when the toxin load in our environment and food chain is high. Thankfully our bodies are have incredible elimination channels that work 24 hours a day to help us excrete waste and toxins.
Whenever we eat, drink or breathe we create the need for our elimination channels – the liver, skin, lungs, kidneys, and bowel – to detoxify food chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and airborne pollutants.
Add in medication, caffeine, alcohol, the need to metabolise hormones, or the use of skincare and cosmetics and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our capacity to detoxify efficiently becomes compromised. For women, removing excess eostrogens is particularly important, as so many women’s hormonal problems are due to impaired eostrogen detoxifcation.
When our detox channels become overloaded we start to see health problems. Poor detoxification looks like nausea, headaches, fatigue, acne, fibroids, endometriosis, adenomysosis, joint pain, constipation, bloating, concentration issues and premature ageing.
To detox well, all elimination channels need to work optimally. Moving your bowels daily stops toxins in the bowel being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Adequate hydration helps to keep the kidneys filtering toxins via the urine properly. Avoiding smoking, high pollution areas, and minimising mucus producing respiratory infections helps our lungs stay clear, while exercising and sweating helps the skin eliminate toxins that build up too.
The liver is the body’s main detoxification organ. Love your liver! The liver consists of three detoxification pathways to eliminate unwanted chemicals and each is reliant on vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The first phase is made up of cytochrome P450 liver enzymes that convert toxins into more water-soluble molecules that can be further metabolised and then excreted from the body via urine or faeces.
For many people phase one is fast because it is their caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, high protein diets and high-stress lifestyle that play a role in speeding up phase one. As a result, substances to be detoxed move through very quickly to what is called the intermediate phase.
At intermediate phase of liver detoxification the molecules to be detoxified are changed into a reactive state. If left this way there is potential for free radical formation and tissue damage to occur. Eating a high antioxidant diet can reduce the amount of free radical damage that occurs but supporting/slowing down phase one is often the solution when this is happening.
Once toxins move into the last phase of liver detoxification they then go through four pathways before being excreted. Molecules are converted to a water soluble, harmless form. The first pathway is glutathionation which is reliant on good glutathione production to work.
The majority of us struggle to make adequate levels of glutathione, the body’s most abundant antioxidant, so therein lies the problem for many people who never complete liver detoxification. Instead, molecules continue to exist in a reactive, free-radical forming state. Not good.
We are fortunate to have nutrients and herbs to assist us in supporting and balancing each of the three phases of liver detoxification. Using food as medicine also helps to regulate detoxification. Focus on eating brassica family vegetables daily. This includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale.
Eat more leafy green vegetables, especially bitter ones like endive and radicchio. Also aim to eat more onions and garlic as these along with the brassicas are high in sulphur containing amino acids, which work on supporting the efficiency of the phase two liver detox pathways.
Aim to eat organic where possible. Use natural skincare, cosmetics and cleaning products to minimise your chemical load. Do exercise where you work up a sweat or go to a steam room or infrared sauna routinely to detox via the skin. You can also focus on is hydration. Drink ample amounts of water to assist the kidneys in flushing out toxins.
Want to know what else you can do to rid improve detoxification?