The word ‘detox’ is thrown around all too often, as most people do not know what the term actually means. Did you know that our bodies are continually ‘detoxing’ whether we are conscious of it or not? In fact, we would not still be alive today if it wasn’t for our bodies being able to ‘detox’ all on their own. However, just how well it is detoxifying is another story…
So what is detoxification?
Detoxification is any process that results in change, where our liver is our commander in charge of each of these processes. For those of you who are new to learning about this magnificent body of ours, our liver’s role is to collect the substances that are harmful to us and transform them into less harmful substances.
So let’s look at smokers for a minute, their poor livers are working hard continually to turn all of those nasty chemicals into a less harmful version. That must require a lot of energy right? Yep, it sure does, and the same goes for alcohol, non-organic meat and fresh produce, toxic beauty products, cleaning products, and more.
Our liver undergoes two primary phases of detoxification, these are;
Phase 1 Detoxification:
During this phase, the body uses nutrients and enzymes (CYP450) to transform the ‘bad guys’ think toxins, prescription drugs, pesticides, used hormones, food additives, alcohol and neutralize them into a less harmful/more water-soluble compound driven by B vitamins and antioxidants. Think of phase 1 detoxification as a pre-wash cycle in the washing machine.
Phase 2 Detoxification:
Phase 2 is driven by amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and sulfur which attach to the toxins to make them water-soluble to enable them to leave the body. We like to remember phase 2 liver detoxification as the main wash cycle of the washing machine that removes all of the dirt and stains from our clothing.
So now you have a bit of background as to how the liver works, you can visualize when toxins enter the body, the extent that our poor livers have to undergo to help get them out.
What are some signs and symptoms our liver isn’t happy?
Liver dysfunction can be induced by limited exercise, ageing, poor diet diversity and processed food consumption, regular intake of caffeine and alcohol, drug or substance abuse. When phase 1 is struggling it can be expressed via depression, weight gain, fatigue, overheating (hot flushes), IBS, a coated tongue, sugar cravings and dark circles underneath the eyes, just to name a few.
Phase 1 Liver Detoxification Support
If your phase 1 liver detoxification pathway isn’t working as well as it should, take a look at the ways you can support this process;
- Herbs: milk thistle, sassafras, caraway, and dill
- Citrus: tangerines and oranges (grapefruit shuts down Phase 1)!
- Vitamin C rich foods: strawberries and bell peppers for example
- Cruciferous veggies (also called Brassica): Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and turnips
- Vitamins C and most of the Bs
- Lipotropics: compounds that break down fat in metabolism (cysteine, methionine, choline, and inositol)
- Minerals: magnesium and iron
Phase 2 Liver Detoxification Support
- Sulfur provided by cruciferous veggies, garlic, onions, meat, and egg yolks
- Amino acids: glycine, cysteine (or n-acetylcysteine), taurine, and methionine found in organic meat
- Molybdenum, a trace mineral, think leafy vegetables and organic liver
- Vitamin B12, available from organic meat
- Flavonoids found in fruits, vegetables, and herbs
- Ellagic Acids found in red grape skin, garlic, rosemary and cabbage
It is pretty much impossible to live a completely toxic free life these days, as the air we breathe and the food we eat contains toxins that are invisible to the naked eye. So with keeping all this in mind, now you can understand why we are so very passionate about choosing local, organic and sustainable produce.
Making conscious decisions about our health such as these helps to reduce the load on our liver, our endocrine system, and nervous system which each to our health and wellbeing.
When we cleanse, we provide our bodies with the opportunity to take a break from toxins entering our system, here we feed it pure organic goodness and provide cellular hydration from a place of pure love. Our cleanse programs provide the body with an abundance of goodness, but most importantly phytochemicals which help warn of disease and provide support where the body needs it most.