Written By Jason Miller DACM, LAc,
Natura’s Medical Educator
Detoxification is a daily, lifelong process.
Detoxification is a daily, life long process. It is not merely a temporary solution used to periodically cleanse our bodies of the toxic exposures or poor diet and lifestyle choices associated with our daily lives. The results of short-term cleanses are temporary, in that they can pull away some of the toxic burdens, yet they do not eliminate the source of toxicity, whether coming from within our bodies due to inefficient cellular metabolism, or from the environment surrounding us.
The body is equipped with complex networks designed to alter, neutralize, and eliminate toxic chemicals before they have a chance to wreak havoc. The 3-phase system of detoxification in the human body includes the CYP450 enzymes, the conjugation pathways, and the elimination routes. Modern detoxification techniques, such as coffee enemas, colonic irrigation, gallbladder flushing, ionic foot baths, saunas and hyperthermia, skin brushing, raw food and juice diets, high fiber supplements, Epsom salt baths, clay and charcoal supplements, and water fasts, are all helpful for improving elimination. By inducing sweat, cleaning out the intestines, moving bile into the duodenum, adsorbing toxins in the bowels, or helping pull toxins out of the skin, the body is able to more effectively eliminate toxins.
Detoxification requires more than periodic elimination.
Elimination is an important aspect of the body’s process of managing toxins, but if cellular detoxification is not working efficiently, elimination alone will not prevent the ongoing build-up of toxins in the body. During Phase 1 detoxification, potentially toxic molecules are altered, making them more water soluble in preparation for phase 2 conjugation. The interim molecular structures are called “intermediary metabolites.” The intermediary molecules are often reactive structures that can be more dangerous to the body than the original chemical toxin. The body relies on phase 2 to neutralize these intermediaries by creating water-soluble, stable molecules that are ready for excretion via bile or serum. Problems arise when phase 1 enzymatic activity outpaces phase 2, resulting in circulating metabolites that have not been conjugated. This is an issue in both endogenous and exogenous hormone metabolism, as many hormone intermediary metabolites are associated with negative health outcomes.
Although the liver is the primary site for detoxification, cellular detoxification is taking place throughout our bodies. Several additional organs are directly involved in detoxification, including the kidneys, which filter toxins out of the blood to be excreted through the urine; the skin, which releases toxins through the sweat; the lungs, which release toxins via respiration, and the intestines. Efficient movement of fluids, blood, and lymph is also essential to proper detoxification.
Botanical compounds and key nutritional agents enhance detoxification pathways and improve cellular metabolism
Our patients are living in a veritable sea of chemicals every day. Even with the best efforts to avoid toxic exposure, we are all facing an unprecedented burden of potential toxins, which is why it is so important to protect our cells and organs with botanical and nutritional medicine therapies. Botanical compounds enhance detoxification pathways, direct the manufacture of key enzymes such as NRF2 which increases glutathione production and improve blood and lymph flow. Key nutritional agents enhance cellular metabolism and provide the substrates necessary to build the essential components of our detoxification networks. Combining herbal and nutritional therapies aimed at facilitating detoxification, along with making supportive dietary and lifestyle choices, we can provide long term protection from the toxic burden we all face, and the host of diseases that stem from our inability to effectively detoxify them.
Join, Dr. Miller, DACM, for the upcoming webinar Demystifying Detoxification. He will review the physiology of detoxification and will explore specific botanical medicines and nutritional agents for enhancing detoxification and improving cellular metabolism. Key botanicals to be discussed will include: sulforaphane, reishi, scutellaria b., phellodendron a. green tea, and resveratrol, plus lymphagogues and herbs to remove blood stagnation. He’ll also cover important nutritional agents for detoxification including: R-ALA, CoQ10 and DIM.