How can you support your body’s natural detoxification process? It’s simpler than you think!
I’m going to skip the part where we decrease your toxic load from decreasing alcohol consumption, avoiding medicine known to be hard on the liver and focusing on things like increasing use of non-toxic products, glass containers, and supporting your immune function with anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense food. I hope that’s obvious! But, another way we can reduce our toxic load is to support our body’s ability to detoxify naturally. Because, let’s face it, no one is perfect.
“The liver is the largest internal digestive organ of our body, which is indispensable in many essential physiologic processes and vulnerable to be impaired by a wide variety of factors, such as toxins, microorganisms, metabolic products, circulatory materials and neoformations.” [source]
What does Detox mean?
Before we jump in I want to clarify the word “detox”, which people use constantly around the internet. Detox is short for detoxification. Most “Toxins” are fat-soluble, including heavy metals, metabolic by-products, and excess hormones. Your body’s natural detoxification process happens in the liver, but most marketed “detoxes” don’t support the liver’s natural detoxification process:
- Phase 1: Liver transforms them into water-soluble forms.
- Nutrients that support this process include B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium.
- Phase 2: Conjugation – the water-soluble molecule combines with something to neutralize it, and by-products secrete into small intestine and eliminated or sent to kidneys and eliminated
- Nutrients that support this process include Amino Acids, Glutamine, Methionine, Taurine, Cysteine, Vitamin B and C, Selenium.
I especially try to actively incorporate these nutrients because I had my gallbladder removed over a decade ago, before I realized what lifestyle factors could have been causing stones. This puts even more pressure on my liver. I also have MTHFR, plus I am overweight – which means I have a higher amount of body fat which can store toxins – it’s not a judgement on any body, but is important to understand as a scientific fact.
Lots of detoxes have no grounding in science… let’s review what’s NOT a detox:
- Fiber-rich nutrient-void supplement that simply makes you poop a lot.
- Coffee enema, which can actually be dangerous. Read Sarah’s post “Coffee Enemas: What the Science Says versus What You’ve Heard” for more.
- Juice cleanses, detox teas, and other weird stuff you can find online may have immediate beneficial effects simply because you’re eating more veggies and pulling out inflammatory foods (such as refined sugar and alcohol). However, long-term they’re not a good solution because they lack the full nutrient profile (fiber, amino acids) that starve your gut bacteria and lead to nutrient-deficiency.
I am providing a scientific source for every single recommendation I give, to ensure we are separating fact vs. fiction and myth. We’re about supporting health there, not pseudoscience scare tactic marketing.