Have you ever wondered how the human body can last even a day in this toxin-laden world we now live in? Or how it can selectively assimilate useful nutrients from the harmful substances in the part of the environment that we consciously put inside our bodies, food? We are now approaching the end of another year; our bodies have again survived another 365 days of exposure to toxins, both inside and out! How? The answer lies in a natural process that your body undertakes each and every one of those 365 days of the past year: Detoxification!
Benedict Francis D. Valdecanas, MD | December 28, 2016
The process of detoxification is an extremely complex one. But let me, as rappers would say, break it down! For the purposes of discussion here, we’ll 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 that converts rain water to something more useful for the island. The processing plant is made of different parts for clearing out specific pollutants 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, and during this process 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. Here’s where the buzz about 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 to your whole body eventually.
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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 and excreted through bile and feces, or more water-soluble so it can then be excreted from the body via watery fluids such as sweat or urine. The most commonly conjugated substance by your body to these toxins is glutathione. Yes, there is a more vital purpose for why glutathione is given intravenously than just to 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 the built-in detoxifying mechanism that is our liver. 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 that right track.
Minimize Unnecessary Carbs. The liver is responsible, among its cleansing duties, for converting unused carbohydrates to its storage form: fat. This is where we get fat from aside from the contribution of excessive fatty food intake. This is where fatty liver comes from; when this conversion overwhelms transporting fat from the liver, fat builds up within the liver. Excessive carbohydrate intake, particularly simple sugars, diverts much needed resources from your liver’s main function… 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 conversion into fat. 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, or roughly ten glasses. Drinking a glass of water per hour is good habit to develop.
Get Good-Quality Sleep. Much of that 80% of your energy needed by your liver is harnessed when not much other activity is happening; that is, when you are asleep. Not to mention many of the hormones and enzymes needed by this detoxification process are produced only when we are sleeping. Therefore, we recover from our toxic lifestyle mostly at bedtime.
Supplement. Since the liver uses up a lot of nutrients, vitamins, and elements, these have to be supplied and replenished at a consistent rate. And 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. Which is why glutathione 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 that is why, as we begin 2017, you should Plan Your Detox Program with your Aegle doctors.
Best wishes for good health and happiness throughout the New Year!
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