Why you should care about detoxification mechanics
It’s been said that many of the issues we have in our lives result from the unknowns that we don’t know about. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I strongly agree that this includes detoxification mechanics. There are a lot of opinions and products developed in the dark and sold to you, also in the dark. As a result, many of these approaches may not be effective and may even be harmful. Below, I’ve detailed the basics so you can make more informed choices.
Quick points on detoxification:
- Detoxifying the body is really a process that occurs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Generally speaking, your liver is the primary detoxification organ and when we speak about detoxifying the liver we’re really talking about supporting the liver so that it can deal with the toxins that are floating around in your body by a process called metabolic detoxification.
- Many toxins are stored in our body fat. When we lose weight those toxins enter the blood stream and that is when it is particularly important to support detoxification pathways.
- In people who are chronically ill, there are often problems with detoxification pathways.
- In Part 1 I alluded to the use of herbs to support detoxification. These can include herbs like dandelion, milk thistle and stinging nettle. They support detoxification but it is very important that the correct herbs, dosages and time used are chosen based on your individual case.
Metabolic Detoxification basics:
Now that we’ve covered some basics we’ll tackle the mysterious detoxification mechanics. Your liver takes in things called xenobiotics which is a technical term for drugs, toxins and heavy metals. Put simply, your liver enzymes use two phases of reactions to modify these xenobiotics to become water soluble so they can be excreted by the body in Phase 3.
Slow Phase 1:
- Having a slow Phase 1 can be tricky because the actual drug or toxic item is floating around doing it’s thing waiting in a really long line to get into the factory, the liver. When that happens lots of things get disrupted in the liver factory and the parking lot (the blood), things back up and damage other things and riots ensue (illness).
Slow Phase 2:
- A slow Phase 2 can be even more hectic with almost fully assembled cars waiting to get tires on so they can leave the factory. When something we want to eliminate is in the middle of Phase 1 and Phase 2 (in the middle of the assembly line) they are more likely to be exceptionally toxic to the body. We call these intermediates. When the intermediates build up in our systems they cause more damage. We can pictures this as a bunch of car parts would pile up on the assembly line if one step stopped working. So if someone for genetic, illness or toxic exposure reasons (which we can test for) has a fast Phase 1 for example and a slow Phase 2, those intermediates build up in the factory and interrupt the flow of activity.
So you may be getting the picture that since detoxification happens all the time and problems can persist for a number of reasons, a once a year detox from a box kit isn’t as powerful as it seems. The key to supporting your detoxification mechanics is getting help from someone who knows how it works, can order the appropriate tests (including genetic) and can make a customized plan for your unique health case.