Detox and detoxification are very common words in our society today. In the drug addiction world (treatment and use/abuse) it usually means getting off drugs or not using drugs. To others it means removing toxins or poisons from the body most often with a colon cleanse. There is nothing wrong with a colon cleanse. It will detoxify the colon. The body has a very complex detoxification system and very efficient detoxification system when it is working properly. Now let’s look at detoxification in the body.
The body was created with many levels of detoxification or cleansing of the body’s systems. The ability for the body to detoxify is a major determinant of a person’s health. Toxins are created in the body by our food intake especially those containing additives. The air we breathe contains toxins. Heavy metals are a major problem to some. Things like solvents, pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals add to the possibilities. Drugs of all kinds can add to the problem. The list could go on but I think you get the idea. Toxins are everywhere and affect our body functions, especially, if we are not aware of what we need to do to help this system of detoxification function better.
Once the body’s own detoxification system is overloaded, toxic metabolites may accumulate and we become progressively more sensitive to other chemicals some of which are not normally toxic. This accumulation of toxins can wreak havoc on our normal metabolic processes.
Detoxification of harmful substances is a continuous process in the body systems. The liver, intestines, and the kidneys are the primary organs of detoxification. How well this system functions is a determinant on how healthy a person is and how many harmful, or even substances that normally are not toxic but have become toxic, are present in the body. The body eliminates these toxins either by directly neutralizing the toxins or by excreting them in the urine and or feces. To a lesser degree some toxins are removed through the skin and by the lungs. The toxins that the body does not eliminate build up in the body tissues and are usually stored in the fatty cells in the body. Once they are stored in the fatty cells they may release back into the body at any time. When this happens it may create a problem for the body and cause the body (or a body system) not to function properly.
The liver is a complex organ that plays a very important, even a key role, in most metabolic processes and especially in the detoxification process. The liver is in a state of constant bombardment with toxic chemicals, those produced internally and those from an external source such as the environment. The liver when properly functioning filters blood to remove large toxins, synthesizes and secretes bile full of cholesterol and other fat-soluble toxins and enzymatically disassembles unwanted chemicals. The enzymatic process usually occurs in two steps or phases. Phase I chemically modifies the chemicals to make them an easier target for one or more than one of the several Phase II enzyme systems. The liver filters approximately 2 quarts of blood every minute. When working properly the liver clears about 99% of the bacteria and toxins from the blood before it re-enters general circulation. The liver manufactures about 1 quart of bile per day.
The bile that is manufactured in liver serves as a carrier for many toxic substances. The bile is sent to the intestines, and is absorbed by the fiber we eat and is excreted. If we don’t eat sufficient fiber the bile is not absorbed in the intestines and is re-absorbed by the intestine and the bacteria may modify the toxins and they become even more damaging. The liver also emulsifies fats and fat-soluble vitamins in the intestine and improves their absorption. Phase I detoxification involves a group of enzymes that metabolize different chemicals with varying degrees of efficiency. Many chemicals are neutralized in Phase I. Some chemicals are converted to intermediate forms and processed by Phase II enzymes. The Phase I process creates free radicals that must be processed and if not they will cause many problems. There are certain amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals needed in this process. These include L-cysteine, L-glutamine, L-glutathione, copper, magnesium, zinc, selenium, choline, betaine, molybdenum, folic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, and vitamin C. As you can see, for the enzymes to work properly they need nutrients.
As you can see the body has great system for detoxification. However, we put so many things in our bodies that the detoxification system never seems to work as it should. We don’t eat right. The air we breathe is not always clean. The things we clean with are not always healthy to our bodies. The medicines we take have side effects which are detrimental to the body’s detoxification system. It almost seems that living has become detrimental to the body’s detoxification system. How do we know if the liver is not functioning properly? Check the list below and if any apply to you, you may need to do some of the things that are talked about in the next paragraph.
• More than 20 pounds overweight
• History of heavy alcohol or drug use (including antibiotics, diuretics, anti-inflammatory drugs, thyroid, or hormones)
• Steroid use
• Oral contraceptives or estrogen use
• High exposure to chemicals, cleaning supplies, pesticides, etc
• History of hepatitis
There are some no nonsense things that you can do to improve your situation. You can eat a diet that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. You can adopt a healthier lifestyle avoiding many of the toxins listed above as well as alcohol and drugs. You can take a high potency multi- vitamin and mineral supplement such as Nutridone. You can use herbal supplements such as Milk Thistle that will support the liver function. You can fast. You can use herbal cleanses (Such as Ultra Herbal Cleanse) that help support the body’s detoxification system. For someone starting a diet to lose weight a whole body detoxification or cleanse may be a good way to start. These are some of the best things you can don to promote a healthy body detoxification system.