Everyone has heard about detox. But what are we actually talking about and is this over played?
So what are toxins and where do they come from? A general toxin list would include by-products of normal metabolism processes, environmental pollutants like pesticides, herbicides, food additives, drugs and alcohol. Nobody escapes all of these. Of course, you can avoid some toxins and you should if you want to increase your chances of living a longer healthier life. Your genetic ability to breakdown these toxins probably has quite a strong influence on your overall health resilience.
Your liver has a couple of different pathways to deal with these toxic threats to your health. They are divided into two parts, Phase 1 and Phase 2.
Phase one is characterized by activity of MFO's or Mixed Function Oxidases also known as cytochrome P450 enzymes. The human liver has many genes that can switch on to code for specific MFO's to handle a wide range of chemical toxins. This pathway converts harmful chemicals into a less harmful chemical. Antioxidants are crucial to this process because as MFO's do their job, free radicals are produced and if you don't have enough antioxidants around (vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione and friends), your liver will suffer some damage.
Some pesticides can induce an over activity of Phase 1 pathways increasing free radical output to the point that antioxidants can't keep up and you are at risk for irreversible liver damage.
The following is a partial list of agents that can induce some level of cytochrome P-450 over activity.
- Engine exhaust
- Organophosphates (pesticides)
- Paint fumes
- Sulfonamides (various drugs)
If you want to help Phase 1 detox, here are some helpers:
- certain indoles from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy)
Two common agents that can hinder Phase 1 activity are grapefruit and curcumin. 8 ounces of grapefruit juice can decrease cytochrome P450 activity by 30% and therefore slow the rate of elimination of drugs from the body. This can be desirable if you want a drug to have a longer effect.
Curcumin is the yellow color component of turmeric. It inhibits Phase 1 detox and stimulates Phase 2. This property seems to reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer and helps the body reduce damage from chemicals that you can find in barbecued meats and tobacco smoke.
In Phase 2, another atom or molecule is added to the toxin or drug to change its structure, electrical activity, shape and therefore its activity. A key goal of Phase II is to make the toxin or drug water soluble so it can be easily excreted in the bile or urine.
Liver cells require sulfur containing amino acids for Phase 2 such as taurine and cysteine. Also required for Phase 2 are glycine, glutamine, choline and inositol. Glutathione is also required and should not be overlooked.
Foods that provide help for Phase 2 are cruciferous vegetables (see list above), eggs, garlic, onions, leeks and shallots.
To make a healthier liver and therefore a healthier you, eat more cruciferous vegetables (some types of thyroid problems are the exception), avoid drugs and environmental toxins as much as possible (organic, free range, non-GMO foods), keep your alcohol, caffeine and sugar to a minimum, keep your glutathione levels up and take some liver support supplements.
To keep you glutathione up, we recommend LifeWave Glutathione Patches and EuroMedica Clinical Glutathione . For liver support, we recommend BetterGenix LiverGenix . Now you know more about liver function, you will understand better why LiverGenix contains those particular ingredients.