3 Simple Steps to Detoxification
It is important to detoxify the body a few times a year depending on your condition to reset the body and feel your best. But we also want to ensure your general detox pathways are working effectively as a general rule!
There are 3 main components of a good detoxification program.
1. Reducing toxin exposure
2. Improve metabolism
3. Optimising toxin excretion
Step 1: Reduce Exposure
These days our world is full of various toxins we need to deal with. Things like food additives, chemicals in our water, airborne pollutants, chemicals in our hygiene and personal care products, pesticides, herbicides, drugs, alcohol, and caffeine.
Reducing exposures makes sense and should be first step approach to taking the load off. This takes some of the burden off enzymes involved in detoxification processes, allowing stored toxins to be excreted more effectively.
Tips for reducing toxin exposure:
- Eat organic food whenever possible
- Avoid processed foods, additives and preservatives
- Avoid plastic food packaging and plastic drink bottles
- Avoid aluminium and Teflon cooking equipment
- Limit intake of BBQ, grilled, or charbroiled food
- Install a water filter or buy filtered drinking water
- Avoid alcohol (yes we know it’s a cultural thing!) and cigarettes
- Choose natural skincare products
- Avoid using pesticide and herbicides at home
- Minimise intake of pharmaceuticals medications where safely possible
Step 2: Improve Metabolism
Most toxins are fat-soluble so it is harder to excrete and they need to be metabolised first to render them water-soluble. Metabolism is a complex process that involves multiple reactions, these need to be functioning well for your system to detoxify at it’s best. Most of the detoxification processes occur in the liver and intestinal cells.
Toxins (fat-soluble) → Phase l (P450 enzymes) → Intermediate (reactive metabolite)
→ Phase ll (conjugation) → Phase lll (excretion) ↓
Eliminated via: Bowel → Faeces
Phase l detoxification is mediated by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system and the toxins are transformed into reactive, intermediate metabolites that are ready for conjugation during Phase ll detoxification. Many of these intermediate metabolites are more toxic and more reactive than the original substances, so if not moved quickly through Phase ll can produce oxidative damage. Antioxidant herbs and foods such as milk thistle, Schisandra, rosemary, and broccoli can help prevent this damage. It is also important to keep the two phases in balance by reducing overactive Phase l reaction and stimulating Phase ll detoxification reactions. Milk thistle and Schisandra are great for balancing the two phases.
Certain nutrients and herbs are known to enhance these pathways!
Phase ll detoxification involves the conjugation of the intermediate metabolites produced in Phase l and makes them ready for excretion. These conjugation pathways include glutathionation, glucuronidation, sulfation, methylation, acetylation and peptide/amino acid conjugation. Because these pathways need specific substrates in order to function, adequate supply of substrates is important in supporting Phase ll detoxification. Milk thistle, Schisandra, chlorella, zinc, rosemary and broccoli sprouts can enhance these pathways, either directly or indirectly.
Step 3: Optimise Excretion
Phase lll detoxification, often overlooked but the most important phase is the transportation and elimination phase. During Phase lll conjugated toxins are drawn out of the liver or intestinal cells by transporter proteins into the lymph or blood and then get excreted through the kidneys into the urine, or via bile flow into the bowel via faeces.
Alkalisation is critical for optimising toxin elimination as transporter proteins are pH sensitive, and alkalising the extracellular matrix increases the movement of many toxins out of cells and into the urine for elimination. Potassium citrate and other alkalising mineral citrates are effective in alkalising the urine and enhancing detoxification.
Alkalisation is critical for optimising toxin elimination.
Other approaches to support Phase lll detoxification and optimise excretion of toxins include:
- Cleavers: traditionally used to improve lymphatic transport and excretion of toxins
- Broccoli sprouts, Barley grass, chlorella, spirulina and coriander which are high in chlorophyll enhance toxin excretion
- Globe artichoke: improves the elimination of toxins through the bowel as it improves bile flow
- Clinoptilolite, apple pectin and chlorella can bind to toxins in the bowel and prevent their reuptake as toxins excreted through the bowel can be reabsorbed through enterohepatic recirculation.
Cline, J.C., (2015), Nutritional Aspects of Detoxification in Clinical Practice, Alternative Therapies, 21(3), 54-63.
AUTOIMMUNITY – Stop the body’s attack on itself!
Autoimmunity or autoimmune conditions, relate to diseases (of which there are more than 80), where the immune system is attacking the body’s own healthy tissues and cells. This insult on the body by the immune system could be localized, to a specific organ or it could be systemic, effecting various parts of the body. This can change the way an organ or body systems functions and can cause damage and inflammation, resulting in many different symptoms.