- 1. Carbohydrate metabolism. The liver helps to maintain blood glucose levels. When levels are high the liver converts the excess glucose into glycogen for storage. When levels of glucose drops glycogen is converted back into glucose. Glucose in excess is converted into triglycerides and stored within adipose tissue. Stored fat can be converted back into a form which can be used to provide energy
- 2. Stores the fat soluble vitamins; A, K, E, and D and water soluble B12, along with iron and copper.
- 3. Synthesis of plasma proteins.
- 4. Produces heat.
- 5. Helps form bile which is later used to facilitate the breakdown of fats, and in the removal of excess cholesterol.
- 6. Removes potentially toxic elements from the body; nitrogen from protein during its breakdown and conversion, Uric acid from nucleic acids, which are then excreted by the body. It also inactivates hormones and helps the body excrete excess through the faeces. Detoxification is an important process for keeping the body healthy.
Detoxification deals with toxins from two sources. Exogenous, Xenobiotics and endogenous toxins which are the products of metabolism.Toxic overload can result in a number of symptoms, including; headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, indigestion, tremors, constipation, anaemia, pallor, dizziness, poor concentration, and an impaired ability to think and concentrate. It has also been implicated in a number of major conditions, for example; cancer, hormonal dysfunction, immune disorders, allergies, and autoimmune conditions.
The combination of toxins is more damaging than just the individual toxin. In Chronic fatigue syndrome there is a relationship with toxic load, similarly with chronic degenerative diseases, for example; Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lupus erythematosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. There's also a relationship between toxic load and related hormonal conditions. As toxins build up in the liver and adipose tissue they will also affect hormonal activity.
There are a number of factors that have an influence upon detoxification
- Diet and lifestyle
- The environment
- Genetic polymorphisms
- Age and gender
- Disease state
Signs and symptoms of poor detoxification within different systems;
- Bowel: halitosis, bitter taste, bloating, fatty stools, constipation, diarrhoea, intolerance to fatty foods, swollen liver, gallbladder problems.
- Immune: stress, infertility, PMS, overweight, depression.
- Nervous system: headaches, poor memory and concentration,
Liver detoxification occurs in 2 phases.
Phase 1 Detoxification, requires antioxidant support. Within this phase many toxins are neutralised. However some need to be converted and dealt with at phase 2. During the conversion they will initially become more toxic. During phase 1, Cytochrome P450 enzymes do one of three things: neutralise, make water-soluble, or convert to a more active form. However the metabolic activity creates free radicals. The most effective antioxidant is Glutathione GSH. If there are a high level of toxins then GSH could be used up and no longer available for phase 2. Nutrients required for phase 1 include; Vitamin B rich foods, copper and magnesium, which are required for energy. Zinc and vitamins C are needed as antioxidants, which can be found in citrus foods, except grapefruit (grapefruit slows down phase 1 but speeds up phase 2). The brassica family; cabbage, Broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, contains Indole -3 - Carbinol, which stimulate phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification. It also stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the gut.
Foods that inhibit P450 activity are Naringenin in grapefruit juice and Curcumin/Turmeric (which inhibits phase 1 but stimulates phase 2).
Phase 2 Detoxification has a number of different pathways which help to neutralise the byproducts of phase 1 and also detoxify the remaining toxins. This is done by making the toxins water soluble. This process is known as conjugation. Conjugation is a protective compound which attaches to toxins to neutralise them.
There are different conjugation pathways;
1. Glutathione conjugation: Converts fat soluble toxins to water soluble so that they can be more easily excreted. Glutathione rich foods are; asparagus, avocado and walnuts, brassica family, vitamin C (as an antioxidant), and vitamin B6 (Cofactor). Inhibitors are; selenium deficiency, B2 deficiency, glutathione deficiency, zinc deficiency.
2. Amino acid conjugation; Glycine is the most commonly used which can be depleted in a low protein diet.
3. Methylation conjugation; Methionine is converted to s-adeno-sylmethionine (SAM). Nutrients required, choline, vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6.
4. Sulfation conjugation; Increases water solubility, and it is the main way of eliminating steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, and neurotransmitters. Requires methionine and cysteine. Also requires molybdenum, and B6. Red peppers, garlic, onions, Broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are a good source of sulphur.
5. Acetylation conjugation; Acetyl CoA eliminates sulphur drugs. it requires B1 Thiamin, pantothenic acid B5, vitamins C and B2.
6. Glucuronidation conjugation. Many commonly prescribed drugs are detoxified through this system. Sulphur rich foods help the pathway. Also Citrus fruits except grapefruit.
Fasting does not always mean restricting all food intake but can be important in reducing Xenobiotic overload, thereby helping in supporting liver detoxification. It is beneficial to support fasting: with multivitamins, lipotropic compounds which help to promote the flow of fat and bile to and from the liver, Antioxidant support in the form of vitamin C, and fibre which helps to eliminate toxic substances through the faeces. Fresh fruit offers a great deal of antioxidant support and vegetables the necessary fibre required. It is important to stay hydrated. Generally Fruit juices at the beginning of the fast act as cleansers and Vegetable juices to build up again. Fasting can be a beneficial part of a weekly routine and need not last for lengthy periods for it to be beneficial. While fasting it is also important to rest. Some detoxification occurs in the intestinal mucosal wall. The gastrointestinal lining is the first point of contact for the majority of xenobiotics. Gut microflora play a significant role in helping to neutralise potentially harmful pathogens.
To support the detoxification system remove all foods and beverages likely to contain toxins, and food allergens. Eliminate or reduce environmental toxins. Make sure that the foods are very nutritious. Good nutrition and in particular the cofactors needed for the enzymes involved in the detoxification process is very important. Stay hydrated and the use of Saunas can also be beneficial to help in the elimination of toxins.
Click on image for further information
Nutritionally controlled detoxification
- Mild to moderate caloric restrictions to promote fat loss.
- No Fast foods, junk foods, or deep Fred foods.
- High quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables, and fresh vegetable juice. Plenty of water.
- Oligoantigenic diet.
- Protein from legumes, whole grains, brown rice, filet and quinoa.
- Supplements to support. Antioxidants, Amino-acids to support phase 2, Cholagogues (bile stimulants).
- Sauna 3-5 times a week. Lipophilic xenobiotics are excreted trough the skin, but also require fibre and chlorophyl.
- Post detox; slow introduction of foods.
Treating Toxic Burden
- Heavy metal chelation using Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA).
The gastrointestinal lining is the first point of contact for most xenobiotics. Microflora plays a significant role in combating. A compromised gastrointestinal lining will allow greater xenobiotic assimilation.
Supporting a healthy Gut-Liver Axis
Intestinal Support: Glutamine is the principal metabolic fuel used by the cells of the small intestine. The large intestines use SCFAs (short chained fatty acids) n-butyrate provides energy for colonocytes.
Microbial Support: stress reduces beneficial microbes, and also the frequent use of antibiotics. Support with probiotics and prebiotics.
Diet: High in meat stimulates invading bacterial enzymes. High sugar slows down bowel transit. Some people are sensitive to large amounts of food containing sulphur compounds which can damage the intestinal mucosa. Gluten, in gluten sensitive people, and allergic foods create hyper permeability
[ i ] Parallax section below. Click on the section below to upload image. Don't worry if it looks weird in the Weebly editor. It'll look normal on your published site.
To edit or delete your image, press the "toggle" button below. Then, hover over your image until a popup appears with the "edit" and "delete" options. Since these are parallax sections, you may need to scroll a bit up or down to be able to click on the "edit image" popup.