The Basics of Liver Detoxification
Our bodies become exposed to various toxins on a daily basis – ranging from the foods that we eat to the air that we breathe. Many of these toxins have the potential to wreak havoc on our bodies and can disrupt our hormones, cause immune dysfunction, and have an increased risk of cancer! Most of these toxins that enter our body are fat-soluble meaning that they stick in our fat cells. In order to get out of our body, the liver must convert them into water-soluble toxins so they can be eliminated via the kidneys and large intestine.
Liver detoxification occurs through two phases:
Toxins are broken down during this phase and sent to phase 2. At the end of this phase the toxins are highly reactive and need to go through phase 2 rather quickly so as to not do damage to the body.
Nutrients that support phase 1
B vitamins, branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine).
Foods that support phase 1
Garlic, turmeric, rosemary, sage, brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale), oranges.
Phase 2 takes the broken-down toxins and adds molecules to them transforming them into water-soluble toxins. This happens through 6 pathways, each requiring specific nutrients for the enzymes to function optimally. One of the most important phase 2 pathways is the sulphation pathway which neutralizes cortisol (our stress hormone), many pharmaceuticals, steroid hormones (including estrogen), food additives, environmental toxins, etc. To promote the activity of this pathway, sulphur-containing amino acids are needed (cysteine and methionine – essential), as well as brassica vegetables, garlic and onions.
Nutrients that support phase 2
B vitamins, essential fatty acids, magnesium, and essential amino acids.
Foods that support phase 2
Green tea, turmeric, brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale) and oranges.
For additional detox support, it’s key to remember that your liver is detoxing all the time. That’s not to say you should constantly be detoxing – but eating as clean as you can (including foods that support Phase I and II), drinking lots of water, and avoiding environmental toxins (as much as possible) will help the liver work at it’s optimal function.
If you want more information to see if a liver detox is right for you, book an appointment with me!
Note: This isn’t a complete and detailed explanation of how the liver detoxes toxins from your body – it is simply a general overview.