When most people hear the term “detox,” they think about fasting or juicing, two methods for resetting the digestive system. However, there are many options to cleanse and “reset” the system, and cellular detoxing could be the most effective — and it doesn’t take a drop of juice.
Toxic chemicals are present in every cell and organ in the body, even though you can’t see, taste, or smell them. Aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, pesticides, and PCBs are already common to you, but they’re just the tip of the dangerous substances iceberg; there are thousands more you’ve never heard of lurking in our food and water supplies, as well as in our houses, workplaces, classrooms, and automobiles!
Furthermore, harmful compounds such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hormone metabolites generated by normal cellular metabolism put additional strain on the body’s built-in detox systems, which are sometimes overwhelmed.
Perhaps more alarming: last year, different factories emit about 10 million tons (over 21 billion pounds) of dangerous chemicals into our atmosphere. Carcinogens account for over 2 million tons (over 4.5 billion pounds) each year.
Many of these lethal substances can be present in the blood of newborn infants, which is shocking. They stay in our cells and organs for the rest of our lives until we take precautions to detoxify our bodies on a daily basis by eating detox-promoting foods, drinks, and nutrients that promote good liver function, increase glutathione levels (a primary detoxification compound), and keep hormones and environmental contaminants from being processed back to the liver.
Evolution does a fantastic job of providing the liver with the tools it needs to detox metabolic waste and naturally occurring toxins. More than 8,000 synthetic toxins have been introduced into the world since the 18th century Industrial Revolution, toxins that put a superhuman strain on our liver and other organs by exceeding their capacity to neutralize and remove chemical waste from the body.
Fortunately, nutritional research has discovered a way to improve the body’s three major detoxification processes, allowing thousands of toxic chemicals to be neutralized, reducing the risk of significant health issues.
What Is Detoxification?
The liver, which performs over 500 essential life functions per day, has three detoxification processes (three sets of cellular proteins or enzymes) that convert lipid-soluble toxins to water-soluble toxins so that they can be transported out of the body.
Potentially harmful compounds (such as ethanol, pharmaceutical and recreational medications, hormones, and synthetic pollutants) are metabolized by the liver and converted into more water-soluble derivatives for removal. While phase I, II, and III enzymes and transport proteins are found in the intestine, kidney, lungs, and brain, it is the liver that serves as the master detoxification organ.
Here’s a brief summary on how these three detoxification and cleansing processes work:
- Phase I (Transformation): Specialized enzymes bind water-soluble chemical “handles” to fat-soluble toxins, making them water-soluble enough to be excreted. Toxins will also become much more sensitive in phase I, making them potentially more destructive — until they’re resolved by the phase II enzymes’ activities.
- Phase II (Conjugation): Different enzymes “escort” molecules to the chemical handles on the toxins, making phase I toxins more soluble and therefore less toxic. Phase II enzymes also help to prevent cancer from starting. They protect against oxidative damage caused by ROS, foster proper hormone synthesis, and keep hormones and toxins from being recycled back to the liver.
- Phase III (Transport): Specialized proteins transport the toxin out of the body through the digestive tract.
4 Simple Steps to Effective Detoxification
Eating foods, drinks, and nutrients that complement the body’s various detoxification processes is an essential part of a successful detox strategy.
- Have enough protein in your diet. Protein provides the amino acids (glycine, cysteine, and glutamine) that the liver needs to synthesize glutathione, the master detox compound. Some amino acids are also used in step II detoxification processes such as acetylation, glucuronidation, glycination, and methylation.
- Consume foods that aid in the detoxification process. Many phytonutrients (natural disease-fighting compounds present in foods, plants, spices, and vegetables) help the body’s natural detoxification processes work more efficiently. Polyphenols in bananas, green tea, and chocolate, for example, increase the genetic expression of -glutamylcysteine synthetase, which raises intracellular glutathione levels.
3. Supplement of milk thistle extract and glutathione. Recent research suggests that glutathione and milk thistle extract, two important natural compounds, work together to promote safe phase I and II detoxification and liver function. Milk thistle stimulates optimum step I and II detoxification enzymes in the liver, kidneys, and intestine by supporting stable glutathione levels in the body.
4. Take a high-quality multivitamin-mineral supplement with powerful antioxidants. This will ensure that you get enough B-complex vitamins and other methyl donors to help proper liver function, glutathione synthesis, and lower elevated blood levels of homocysteine, an artery-clogging by-product of protein metabolism.
Detoxing Benefits of Milk Thistle Extract
Milk thistle extract (Silybum marianum) aids detoxification in the first two stages. It binds to toxins and quenches ROS in phase I, preparing them for phase II. It raises glutathione levels in step two to help toxin elimination from the body.
Milk thistle contains a combination of polyphenolic compounds that are similar to silymarin, the parent compound. The most bioactive ingredient of silymarin is one of these compounds, silybin. Silymarin aids detoxification by reducing oxidative stress in the liver caused by toxin metabolism, especially lipid peroxidation. This serves to preserve glutathione amounts, and has been shown to effectively reverse acetaminophen (TylenolTM) toxicity.
Milk thistle has a solid safety record, having been used to treat liver and gall bladder disease for over 2,000 years. Studies confirm that Milk thistle has been shown to preserve liver function, prevent liver injury, and stabilize elevated liver enzyme levels.
The Detoxification Benefits of Glutathione
As we get older, our glutathione levels will drop to half of what they should be. According to one research, people who have the least glutathione in their blood are far more likely to have a heart attack than people who have the most glutathione. The highest amounts of glutathione in the body are found in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, and eye (cornea and lens).
Unfortunately, approximately half of the citizens of the United States has a glutathione deficiency, which impairs the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. These people have a genetic variation of the GSTM1 gene, which is required for the body’s glutathione development and recycling process. As a result of this genetic problem, almost half of the population is at increased risk of oral, bladder, breast, colorectal, and cervical cancers.
Glutathione appears to improve the body’s detoxification processes and guard against damage from ROS (oxygen radicals) in the following ways, according to research:
- Glutathione is a general detoxifier that stimulates the immune system.
- Glutathione levels in blood cells and plasma are increased by 30-35 percent when taken orally. This discovery puts an end to a long-running controversy on whether orally administered glutathione would effectively boost glutathione levels in the body.
- Supplementing glutathione raises glutathione levels, which boosts the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, a biomarker for improved immune protection. As a result, glutathione is an important intervention technique for maintaining stable immune function.
- Glutathione aids DNA repair and facilitates nucleic acid synthesis.
- Glutathione helps to keep red blood cells healthy.
- Glutathione is a nutrient that helps the brain work properly.
- Solar radiation damages the skin, lens, cornea, and retina, but glutathione prevents them.
- The following clinical problems are treated with glutathione: Crohn’s disease, diabetes, HIV virus, liver cirrhosis, lung disease, neurodegenerative disease, pancreatitis, and Wilson’s disease are only a few of the conditions that can affect people.
- The highest amounts are found in the liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, and the lens and cornea.
Why Detox Is Essential
The glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene family encodes phase I and phase II metabolizing enzymes, which play a key role in the inactivation of toxic and carcinogenic substances. Certain GST detox genes are thought to be missing in 35–60% of people, according to studies. Cancers of the bladder, brain, cervix, colon/rectum, GI tract, head and neck, kidney, lung, ovary, pancreas, uterus, testicle, and thyroid gland have also been related to GST polymorphisms.
Everyone requires to detox for good health, so if you’re one of the half of the population with deficient or absent GST genes, your cancer risk might skyrocket if you don’t take action to prepare for the drastic lack of capacity to detoxify carcinogens across the atmosphere.
4 Additional Nutrients for Successful Detox
Four ancillary nutrients play an important role in the body’s detoxification processes, and they act along with other foods and nutrients to facilitate optimum detoxification and liver function:
- Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a water- and fat-soluble agent that can neutralize oxygen radicals in many of the body’s organs and tissues. This distinguishes it as a particularly effective detoxifier of toxic substances in the brain, which have been attributed to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. A detox-related gene called Nrf2 is also activated by ALA. The activation of Nrf2 allows for the processing of a wide range of our body’s most effective antioxidants.
- Calcium d-glucarate (a calcium salt found in such foods as alfalfa, apples, cruciferous vegetables, grapefruit and lettuce) suppresses the gut bacterial enzyme beta-glucuronidase (which interferes with phase II detoxification) and restores the glucuronidation detoxification pathway. This compound helps the body rid itself of harmful substances like xenoestrogens, synthetic toxins, and other carcinogens by glucuronidation.
- N-Acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid derived from cysteine that enhances glutathione synthesis and facilitates vasodilation. It also has antioxidant effects, which can help to avoid or minimize kidney damage. NAC has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to treat liver harm done by acetaminophen overdose. While NAC does not occur naturally in foods, cysteine, its parent compound, is abundant in most protein-rich foods.
- Selenium is mineral found in Brazil nuts, shellfish, tuna and whole grains.Selenium improves the body’s glutathione recycling abilities. Just one or two Brazil nuts a day can have enough selenium to equal or surpass the RDA.
Start Detoxing Right Now
Eating foods and nutrients that benefit the body’s detoxification processes should be a part of every overall anti-aging policy in order to adequately reduce the health threats posed by the large amount of harmful chemicals that everyday life throws at us on a daily basis. Whatever method you use to detox and equip your body, if you only do one thing, I suggest taking a regular detoxification supplement that contains clinically validated amounts of milk thistle and glutathione.
Every year, our bodies are bombarded with thousands of poisonous chemicals, as well as daily exposure to metabolic byproducts. It’s important that we take action to improve our bodies’ internal detoxification processes so that we can fight back against these health-harming attacks.