Over time, the buildup of toxins from the environment and lifestyle choices can compromise the way our bodies work, and even affect our health. While many people are familiar with the idea of detoxification, there is a great deal of confusion about how to do it safely. For example, trendy water or juice fasting may cause muscle wasting and an increased feeling of fatigue. In order to detoxify properly, the body needs macronutrients such as quality protein and carbohydrates, plus specific micronutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals) that provide targeted nutritional support.
What is detoxification
Detox. It’s a buzzword in the beauty and health industry, and often conjures up images of mud wraps, nasty-tasting herbal brews or ‘colon-cleansing’. However, medically, detoxification is a very complex biochemical process, by which our body transforms and eliminates waste products. Essentially, it’s how we ‘take out the trash’.
Our main organs of detoxification include the kidneys, bowel, skin and lungs, but the air-traffic controller, the big workhorse of the detoxification process, is the liver. In the liver, detoxification has two main pathways.
Phase 1 Enzyme transformation.
A specific family of enzymes found in the liver (and also in other cells in the body) process and transform hormones, toxins, drugs and cellular waste. These compounds are then either eliminated from the body directly via the kidneys or they move to an intermediate phase in between phase 1 and phase 2. Everything that is processed by the liver passes through phase 1.
Phase 2 Conjugation.
There are 6 main clearing pathways, where the intermediate compounds are ‘repackaged’ and sent out of the liver through the bile, and into the gut where it can be eliminated from the body. In the intermediate period between phases 1 and 2, many of the compounds actually become super-toxins. Poor activity of phase 2 detoxification can lead to these super-toxins making us feel very ill.