Have you ever wondered how the human body can last a day in this toxin-laden world we live in? Or how it can selectively assimilate useful nutrients from the harmful substances you consciously put inside your body (i.e., food)? With your body having survived another 365 days of exposure to toxins, both inside and out, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to help it along?
Benedict Francis D. Valdecanas, MD | December 28, 2016
The answer lies in a natural process that your body undertakes each and every one of these 365 days—detoxification!
The process of detoxification is an extremely complex one. But let me, as rappers would say, break it down! For the purpose of our discussion here, let’s define detoxification as a specific metabolic pathway, active throughout the human body, that processes unwanted chemicals for elimination: a pathway that involves a series of enzymatic reactions that neutralize and solubilize these toxins. Although every single system in the human body contributes to this process, let’s focus on the main organ responsible—your liver.
Let’s look at your liver as a water-processing plant—yes, something similar to what we have in Balesin, which converts rainwater to something more useful for the island. The processing plant is made up of different parts, each of which clears out a specific pollutant in the rainwater. Your liver has different processes specifically designed for different kinds of toxins you put inside your body. These different processes are grouped into two: Phase 1 detoxification and Phase 2 detoxification.
Phase 1 is the pathway that converts a toxic chemical into a less harmful chemical. This is achieved through various chemical reactions. During this phase, free radicals are produced which, if excessive, can damage the liver cells. Antioxidants (such as vitamin C and E and natural carotenoids) reduce the damage caused by these free radicals. This is where the buzz of taking antioxidants comes from; if antioxidants are lacking and toxin exposure is high, toxic chemicals become far more dangerous and injurious not only to your liver but eventually to your whole body as well.
Phase 2 is commonly called the conjugation pathway, whereby your liver cells add another substance to a toxic chemical or drug to render it less harmful. This makes the toxin more fat-soluble, allowing it to be excreted through bile and feces, or more watersoluble, allowing it to be excreted from the body via watery fluids such as sweat or urine. The substance most commonly conjugated by your body to these toxins is glutathione. Yes, there is a more vital purpose for glutathione to be given intravenously than to just whiten your skin!
Again, different toxins, whether from the food you eat or from the environment you are constantly exposed to, require different processes to be rendered harmless; some toxins require just the Phase 1 pathway, some require just the Phase 2 pathway, but most of the toxins in our world today require both pathways.
In his book Detoxification and Healing, Dr. Sidney Baker states that 80% of the energy the body manufactures goes towards aiding the detoxification organs, specifically the liver. We’ve always believed the immune system is the most important system in the body, but we now know that the detoxification system is just as important. We are blessed with a built-in detoxifying mechanism. Every single day we should work to make sure that our diet and lifestyle support this wonderful detoxification system. Here are a few tips to get us on the right track.
Minimize Unnecessary Carbs. The liver is responsible, apart from its cleansing duties, for converting unused carbohydrates to its storage form, fat. This is where we get most of the fat from, more than the contribution of excessive fatty food intake. This is how one gets a fatty liver: when this conversion overwhelms transporting fat from the liver, fat builds up within it. Excessive carbohydrate intake, particularly simple sugars, diverts muchneeded resources from your liver’s main function—that is, detoxification.
Move More. This increases your body’s demand for fuel, hence the burning of more calories from all the carbohydrates you eat, leading to less fat conversion. Regular exercise stabilizes your body’s fuel utilization, thus keeping your metabolism constant. Not to mention, it burns excess fat stored by the liver after 365 days of excessive eating.
Drink More Water. The detoxification processes of the liver require a lot of elements, particularly hydrogen and oxygen from H2O! Your body’s daily fluid requirement is three liters, roughly ten glasses. Drinking a glass of water per hour is a good habit to develop.
Get Good-Quality Sleep. Much of the 80% of the energy needed by your liver is harnessed when not much activity is happening; that is, when you are asleep. In addition, many of the hormones and enzymes needed by this detoxification process are produced only when we are sleeping. Therefore, we mostly recover from our toxic lifestyle at bedtime.
Supplement. Since the liver uses up a lot of nutrients, vitamins, and elements, these must be supplied and replenished at a consistent rate. We don’t get everything our liver needs from our diet, no matter how well-balanced we think it is. Unfortunately, not all the nutrients our liver needs are best given orally; glutathione, for one, should be synthesized by the body itself. And guess where? The liver. Since orally given glutathione is also broken down by the liver, it is best given intravenously.
Speaking of providing nutrients to your body to facilitate its detoxification process, medical science has developed protocols for just that purpose. These protocols are designed to diagnose your specific deficiencies as well as toxin load, clear out accumulated toxins, and replenish your body with much-needed micronutrients. And this is why you can even Plan Your Detox Program with your doctor. Or should I say your Aegle doctors.
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Dr. Valdecañas is a specialist in regenerative medicine research for both hospital-based programs and clinical applications. He utilizes the latest findings and innovations that molecular biology has to offer in optimizing health and human performance through customized micronutrient supplementation, personalized exercise programs, and careful attention to diet and nutrition.