Many people confuse things like cleanses and fasts with proper liver detoxification. Using liquid solutions of juice, tea, broth, in isolation or in combination with a short-term or prolonged fast, will not in and of themselves provide an environment for the elimination of accumulated liver toxins. Liver detoxification is not the same as fads like the “Master Cleanse” or colon flushes. While these processes may have benefits, they do not achieve the effect of actually eliminating *toxic burden from the body. It’s important to realize that liver detoxification is actually a complex metabolic process.
Let’s dig into this a bit.
In short, a toxin is any substances that could have a harmful effect on your body through ingestion, inhalation, or contact. This includes several exogenous and endogenous substrates of xenobiotics, hormones, procarcinogens, and pharmaceuticals. Toxins are simply unavoidable in our world of highly processed foods, external stressors, and chemical pollution. They invade the body through three main sources: the environment, lifestyle, and the body’s own metabolic processes (internal toxins). Even people who eat “clean” and make good choices for their health will accumulate toxins throughout their lifetime (Do You Have a Leaky Gut?).
Sources of toxins:
What symptoms and/or signs indicate I may need to complete a detox program?
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues: indigestion, bloat, constipation, diarrhea, GERD, acid reflux
- Skin issues: eczema &/or acne
- Persistent immune issues
- Joint stiffness/aches
What constitutes a good detox program?
A good detox program not only gives the body all the specific compounds it needs to detoxify, but also supplies it with all the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids it needs outside of detoxification. A good detox program contains and addresses very specific detox-nutrients for the minimization of unpleasant detox side effects; fatigue, headaches, brain fog, and flu-like symptoms. The program should be gentle, yet effective. In addition, a detox program should supply a balanced protein profile (essential amino acids) and support nutrient rich, low-toxin, low-inflammatory eating patterns.
How do I detox properly?
The detoxification process requires certain “prerequisites” - specific vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids for successfully removing toxins. A major challenge is the Standard American Diet typically lacks these prerequisites. As a result, most are challenged to detoxify properly and an accumulation of toxins begins. It takes time and effort to be effective.
Two key steps to understand:
- To effectively detox, pro-inflammatory and problematic foods, liquids, and harmful personal hygiene products should be eliminated for a period of time: 14 days is recommended.
- At the conclusion of Step 1, all the prerequisites for detoxification should be consistently on-boarded/ingested to adequately support the detox process: 14 days is recommended.
Following Step 1 and Step 2 will prepare and create an adequate platform for detoxification. When toxic substances are no longer overwhelming the system, detoxification occurs through two specific phases.
- In phase one (functionalization), a specific enzyme, cytochrome P450, breaks down the toxins, and coverts them into compounds that are actually more toxic than they were initially; called intermediary metabolites. The enzymatic conversion process prepares these metabolites for phase two.
- In phase two (conjugation), intermediary metabolites are neutralized. These metabolites need to bind to a sulfur-based compound provided through nutriton and/or supplementation. This binding process is called conjugation. Once the binding process occurs, intermediary metabolites can be excreted via bile, stool, or urine through 1 of 6 pathways (below).
The chart below illustrates the above:
- Americans of all ages are carry over 200 toxic compounds in their bodies at any given time.
- Two systems/organs are the drivers for detox in our bodies: the liver, and the GI System - both need to be operating optimally to successfully detox.
- When incoming toxins exceed the liver’s ability to remove them the toxins start to accumulate. This is termed *toxic burden. Because toxic burden happens inevitably, it is important to periodically restore the body’s ability to cleanse itself and eliminate toxins.
- A major limiter in thorough detoxification is the Standard American Diet - it typically lacks the necessary prerequisites, so the body’s ability to detoxify properly is compromised. And, even those who eat "clean" will accumulate toxins.
- The detoxification process requires “prerequisites” (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and more) for successfully removing toxins.
Where do I find an effective detox program?
The Red Dot Fitness 30 Day Tune-Up Program is a proven, self-guided, and complete plan for detoxing, re-booting, and optimizing your body’s natural fat-burning, muscle-building, and hormone regulating pathways.